A cheeseburger without cheese


Steph was a borderline cheese connoisseur and a former employee of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and she knew her dairy products like Scotty knows engineering on the Enterprise. And she enjoyed a hot, juicy hamburger on many, many occasions. So she loved cheese, and she liked hamburgers, but for Steph, cheese and a hamburger didn't go well together. She never ate cheeseburgers. The only times I ever saw her bite into a cheeseburger was when we were doing fast-food and they'd screwed up the order, given her a cheeseburger when she'd ordered a hamburger.
She liked Wendy's, but ordering there was especially complimicated; Steph's favorite was a Junior Bacon Hamburger, which isn't on the menu — it's only on the menu as a cheeseburger. If you order a Junior Bacon Hamburger, you'll get a confused look, and you'll probably be given a cheeseburger. From experience we learned that to have a Junior Bacon Hamburger at Wendy's, you need to order a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, and then add, "without cheese."
At Burger King, she'd order a Junior Whopper, with no onions, no tomato. If we were doing fast-food at Culver's, she might have a Butter Burger, and she'd always order a mango smoothie. At Dickie's, it's a pulled pork sandwich, with creamed spinach on the side. We rarely went to McDonald's, but if they were advertising a reduced price she might order a Filet-O-Fish or a Junior Mac.
And I know what she'd order at the bagel place – an Asaggio or sesame bagel, untoasted please, with garden veggie spread or onions and chives. At the corner coffee and tea shop, she'd have a Taiwan red tea. At Taco Bell, a soft taco and nacho fries. At CafĂ© Bel Italia, she'd have eggplant parmesan. At the Thai place (at any Thai place), it was always pad thai, but only after scrutinizing the menu for five or ten minutes, pretending to herself that she might order something different. At the Hong Kong Cafe, she'd order moo shoo pork, perhaps with a side order of shrimp toast or crab rangoon. At Ogden's Diner, it was usually blueberry pancakes, but she was also open to the daily specials.
I don't have any idea what to do with the above information. It jumps to the front of my brain at the oddest times, and any time I drive past a Wendy's or Burger King, or anyplace we ever ate. So I've typed it here, wishing I was buying her dinner but instead I'm eating alone, every meal.