The Idle American: Man does not live by buns alone


The bunless hamburger looks mighty tasty, but what will they think up next? Photograph: Seven Sons Farms

 These observations may come across as half-baked, but what else is new?  

I don’t know how butchers and candlestick makers are faring, but bakers these days have their hands full of more than dough. Fast-food places want them to “work their buns on.” Dough isn’t being kneaded fast enough to meet their needs.

This observation may come across as half-baked, but what else is new?

Texans’ heads jerked and eyes crossed recently with the announcement that three fast-food chains–count ‘em, THREE–blamed “insufficient buns.” One–In-N-Out Burgers–shut down for a couple of days to get things right….


   Limp excuses from company leaders were vague, “poster words” for “fake news.” They blamed the bun shortage on “unbalanced yeast.” (One journalist called it “dead yeast.”)

Of course, buns that fail to rise are flat-out unacceptable.

Alternatives recommended included wheat buns and tortillas….

Don Newbury

It’s downright “unTexan,” and some burger lovers will “flip out” when their menus are limited.

Whataburger offered wheat buns, while Raising Cane’s removed Texas toast from its bill of fare. Somehow, “Arkansas toast” fails to enliven taste buds in the Lone Star State.

Are burger chains using buns made in the same vats and ovens?….


   In the wake of this “doughy” mess, the International House of Pancakes blew bugles announcing a name change. The IHOP acronym, grilled into our brains for 60 years, henceforth will be IHOb. Yes, this national chain is barging into the burger battles.

Is timing anything? IHOP’s announcement brings to mind Kenny Rogers’ musical hit of 40 years ago: You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille.

That’s what old-line IHOP stockholders may be humming as pancake sales grow cold. Sadly, their primary product is no longer “selling like hotcakes.” Meanwhile, Whataburger vows it will never change its name to Whatapancake….


   Could IHOb be trying to “mess with our yen” for burgers? Maybe they saw the yeast problem before it rose, and soon may announce “burger cakes.” Oh, the name may be different, but it could mean there’ll be a national ad campaign pushing burger “fix-ins” between pancakes.

Maybe there is something to be said about “fake news.”

Could this have been simply a case of “yeast fatigue?” Or, in the colorful words of my Uncle Mort, ”graveyard dead.”…


   One thing for sure: Mort, always searching for a “birthday announcement” that he thinks will turn into big bucks, may have a zinger for his 106th birthday on July 4.

He may announce a bun recipe developed by Aunt Maude, featuring her “fast-rising yeast.” (There’ll be a charge for “starts,” of course.)

For folks whose cups of tea remain tepid by kitchen talk, he might announce his new “month-old bread store,” featuring bread frozen 30 days earlier, guaranteed to be as “good as it used to be.”…


   Space limitations preclude additional thoughts. I’ll not mention Jack Horner, chowing down over in the corner.

We could “go to school,” however, on the quote legendary University of Texas Coach Darrell Royal provided in 1962. It was posted on TCU’s bulletin board with warp speed. Royal compared the team to a cockroach–“not so much for what he gets into and carries away, but what he falls into and messes up.” (This followed the Frogs’ 6-0 win over the ‘Horns a year earlier when UT was number one in the nation.)

Feel free to read between the lines…..


   All this “bunk about buns” could be a ploy to “push” wheat buns, thus moving us upward a tad on healthy eating charts.

It also should lead us to the Holy Bible. Jesus–in Matthew 4:4’s “red letters”– warns us not to “live by bread alone.” At one point, God provided daily manna from heaven when fields and pantries were bare.

Let’s pray to warrant God-sent manna, even as bakers–and the rest of us–fall short. Oh, to have the late Paul Harvey back on the radio, giving us “the rest of the story.”…


   Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments/inquiries to: [email protected] Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.

Don Newbury is the author of the inspirational, humorous, and autobiographical When The Porch Light’s On. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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