A Serious Issue

Hello friends. I know I can be a little sarcastic and I tend to joke around a lot on this site. I can even be a bit of an asshole and make comedy about real tragedies like cancer and the holocaust and September 11th. But today I'd like to actually be sincere for a moment and talk to you about something that means a lot to me.

There are a lot of problems in the world right now. We're fighting two wars in the Middle East, there is disease and genocide in Africa, political turmoil and ominous nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea, and a global terrorism danger that has not gone away, despite growing quieter in the daily news. Even right here in our own country we have culture wars, racism, fierce debates about health care and national security and gay rights.

These are important issues. Incredibly important issues, and it's good and absolutely necessary that the Obama Administration and so many aid and advocacy organizations are focusing on them. But in the midst of all the noise and clamor generated by flashy and sexy problems like war and poverty, is it possible we are overlooking other issues that, while less exciting and less of a ratings-booster than the latest suicide bombing in Europe, are no less important?

I am talking, of course, about the problem of our nation's burritos having all the beans and rice on one end and all the veggies and salsa on the other end.

Why is no one talking about this? Where is the public outrage? President Obama's peace talks between Israel and Palestine command constant news coverage, but I've yet to see a single story about the hurt and devastation caused by burrito malpractice. This has to change. There can be no action without awareness. That's what I'm here to bring you today. Awareness.

In case you are one of the lucky Americans who has never had to deal with you or a loved one receiving a botched burrito, the issue is this:

A burrito consists of many ingredients and can take many forms, but usually there is some combination of beans, rice, and meat, topped with veggies, salsa, and possibly even guacamole and sour cream, if you can afford the extra charge. The ingredients should be laid out in even layers inside the tortilla, so that when you eat it, each bite contains equal amounts of all the ingredients, which are chewed and swallowed simultaneously, creating a "taste explosion".

Sadly, this is often no longer the reality.

A poll of low-income, late-twenties white males named Isaac Marion shows that as many as 45% of burritos served in America are served "separated"--that is, their ingredients are spread and their tortillas folded in such a way that all of the beans, rice, and meat end up on one end of the burrito, while all the delicious sauces and toppings end up on the other end.

Imagine biting into a burrito. Imagine tasting nothing but beans, rice, and meat. Unflavored, unsauced, unbearable. Now imagine turning the burrito around, and biting into the other end. Imagine a geyser of unalloyed condiments bursting into your mouth--salsa, cheese, maybe even sour cream and guacamole, rushing down your throat with absolutely no solid food to slow it down.

For millions of Americans every day, this horrific experience is known as "lunch".

But what is even more tragic than the nausea and revulsion caused by these separated burritos is the fact that they could so easily be prevented. The producers of today's burritos could fix this problem overnight if they wanted to, by simply educating their employees about how to properly spread ingredients and fold a tortilla. But year after year, the problem persists, and Americans suffer in silence, wiping guacamole off their lips and trying not to vomit.

You're paying these companies top dollar for their burritos--why don't they make them right?

Because they simply. Don't. Care.

The executives behind the desks of the Big Burrito companies have absolutely no reason to change anything---because no one is forcing them to.

That's where you come in.

Get involved. Write your congressman. Tackle the problem on a grassroots level, in your favorite burrito restaurant. Next time you're served an uneven burrito, don't just sit there while you and your children try to gag down half a cup of sour cream. Take it to the restaurant's manager. Remind him of the starving children in Haiti, and how this much sour cream and guac all at once would probably cause their malnourished stomachs to explode. Demand the even burrito you deserve.

There are a lot of problems in the world today. Let's start with the ones we care about.



  1. I've found the way to avoid this is taught in my economics class. It is known as commodity substitution bias.
    You see, if you merely find a mom and pop resturaunt like a taco bus and substitute it with you regular burrito establishment, you will get a burrito the size of both of your fists for around 2.00, which is most likely 1/4 cheaper when factoring in inflation.
    Unfortunately, the CPI (consumer price index) has many biases, and does not take commodity substitution into account, but the fact is, your burrito is much tastier, and somewhat cheaper, so your problem is solved, and that is all that matters.

  2. Unfortunately, the Uneven Burrito Establishment forces taco trucks into various urban ghettos, and if you live in a small, predominantly white town like I do, there are no trucks or buses to be found. Also, although taco truck food is consistently more delicious than anything chain restaurants have to offer, there is no data to support the assertion that their burritos are more even.

  3. I'm Canadian. There are no burrito stands in my city. What we do have are Subways.

    I like to order the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki on monterey cheddar with regular cheese, size changing with my mood. On it I get lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. For sauces I get mayo, sweet onion sauce, honey mustard and southwestern chipotle sauce.

    This, when laid out properly by one of the more intelligent Sandwich Artists, is the most delicious sub you'll ever eat. Unfortunately the people who staff your burrito places must also do double time at our Subways, since most of the time the condiments are completely out of ratio to each other.

    To arms I say, and thank you Mr. Marion for bringing this atrocious problem to light. To arms!

  4. Been a while since I've been here, and was slightly taken aback by the tone, eloquent, concerned, slightly repentent, but I knew it was coming, it had too. You never fail.


  5. Also a Canadian here. I have never seen a burrito-related truck or bus, or even shack, in any city I have lived in or visited. I think that this is a problem in itself.
    I'm glad I have never bought a burrito. I have only made them by hand, and I am graced with the knowledge of not only how to properly fill and fold a burrito, but how to not over-stuff it. Somehow, although having practiced for years, my closest relatives still have not realized the precise filling amounts that lead to pure, unadulterated deliciousness and satisfaction.
    I pity them.

  6. The high concentration of Canadians to this specific post is making me leery of the connection between our friends to the North and the bastardized segregation of burrito ingredients.

  7. There IS a taco truck in bellingham, you simply have to know where to find it, parked generally in the vicinity of the streets by the old wilson motors, bgo and usually not south of the old tj's restaurant, that is apparently now a church. If you can find it, best damn gut bomb you could ask for and i can personally attest that their skills regarding folding and layering of the goodness are excellent. good luck. or you could always go be a cool kid and hang out eating potato burritos at casa, make sure and order a pbr to wash them down with tho, hipster cool points are hard to come by these days...

  8. I totally hear ya... that's why I gots a Mexican boyfriend who makes them right =)