Except the world has been fooled. The Whopperito is not a burrito, and Burger King has no business in the burrito business. Making a burrito is a lot more difficult than wrapping some crap in a flour tortilla and adding the suffix “ito” to it. Or, okay, maybe it’s not. But still, the Whopperito is not a burrito. Let’s just agree on that premise and move forward.
The first tell-tale signs that the Whopperrito is not a burrito are found right in the product description:
“The WHOPPERRITO™ is made with flame-grilled 100% beef and seasoned with a special blend of Tex-Mex spices. It is then stuffed with a creamy queso sauce, diced onions, juicy tomatoes, pickles and crisp lettuce all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
The presence of “Flame-grilled 100% beef” is actually a confession, verbalized from deep within Burger King’s marketing department. The Whopperito is filled with ground beef, but you can’t flame-grill ground beef…unless it’s shaped as a hamburger first.
And you don’t put a hamburger inside a burrito, okay?
Not even in the most dire of stuck-on-an-island circumstances, where you wash ashore to a sand bar barren of life but containing one, perfectly preserved Burger King that’s lacking buns, next to one, perfectly preserved Chipotle that’s got everything but filling. Anything could go down on that island. Outside the jurisdiction of man-made laws, you may have to murder and put heads on sticks to keep order. With a limited gene pool, you could be forced to carry on the tree of life with a sibling. And if a Carnival cruise ship spotted you a decade later, the captain stepping ashore witnessing the atrocities you’d committed, he’d give you a knowing nod, slap a piña colada in your hand, and as you made the rounds on late night television for the next few decades, nurse a bottle of brown liquor every night and take what he’d witnessed to the grave. Because he understands, it’s island law. Pretty much anything goes with island law.
But you know what you’d never do on that island? Walk a wrapper-full of hamburger meat and toppings fifteen feet over to that Chipotle, and bundle them in the sanctity of an oversized flour tortilla.
Get it together, man.
I know some people might think this sort of behavior is acceptable–what’s that SUPER entitled generation that comes after the generation that comes after millennials called, again?–and in fact, humanity is only becoming bolder in amassing strange piles of food-stuff, wrapping it in a fortnight’s worth of carbs, and labeling it a “burrito.” Taco Bell’s Cheetos Burrito certainly comes to mind, as does KFC’s New-Zealand-born Crispy Burrito, which is a deep fried tortilla loaded with fried chicken. (In this case, KFC made a double-burrito faux pas. They aren’t bastardizing a burrito so much as they are a chimichanga–but that’s a whole other rant.)
I mean, I get it. Burritos are in. And all these fast food restaurants that sold us for 50 years on pre-processed Americana are freaking out as Americana melting-pots its way from hamburgers and fried chicken to tacos, sushi, and pho. Sooner or later, if Burger King doesn’t put a burrito* on the menu, it just doesn’t sell food to America anymore.
But the Whopperito is not a burrito. You know why? Because it’s a wrap.
Even the world’s top food scientists would be pressed to distinguish the two–is the threshold between wrap and burrito dictated by a tipping point of pico de gallo? Does a burrito only truly become a burrito when drunken college kids order it in broken Spanish? No one can say for sure.
But much like true love, pure diamonds, and the power of your own child’s smile, you know the difference when you see it. A wrap is a green-tinged fluorescent overhead light. A burrito is a rainbow flowing through your window. A wrap is one of those really thin napkins you get at a cheap restaurant. A burrito is a room of Persian silks flowing over your bare body. A wrap is a bag of sand. A burrito is an omniscient pyramid watching over the desert.
And Burger King, I don’t know which possibility is scarier. That you knowingly called your sad hamburger wrap a burrito–or that you didn’t have the good sense to tell the difference.
*The author would like to clarify that he is aware Burger King already sells tacos, and that those tacos may or may not count as tacos, but they are shamefully delicious.