At a crucial moment in The Big Lebowski, a guy pees on Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski's rug. This is a great tragedy, an aggression that will not stand. Why? Because that rug really tied the room together.
Long have I been fond of the concept of The Dude's Rug. It's useful for me as a critic, a great metaphor for that one ingredient or element that holds a series of otherwise disparate parts together. Many great video games have a Dude's Rug. A good pizza should have a Dude's Rug. And a delicious burrito needs a Dude's Rug, as well.
Most people have had a bad burrito at some point in their life, but it can often be difficult to nail down just what makes a bad burrito bad. (Assuming it isn't just sub-par ingredients or spoiled meat or sour cream.) Generally, I find that the best burritos have a Dude's Rug — they are held together by some unknown force. As a result, they are consistent: Each bite tastes similar to the last one.
Bad burritos are as much about construction as they are about ingredients, if not moreso. A poorly made burrito is sloppy and as a result, it's inconsistent. One bite will be mostly guac and sour cream, and three bites later you'll be in a desert of pork carnitas and rice.
The frustration that accompanies a poorly made burrito is summarized, hilariously, in a recent essay at Medium by comedian/writer Lucky Shirt. Framed as an open letter to the guy who just made the writer's burrito, it lists the resultant food's many flaws in colorful, frequently NSFW language.
Burritos are eaten from one end to the other. So that means when you assemble a burrito with motherfucking ZONES of ingredients going that direction, you create a disgusting experience for the burrito’s end user. When you make a burrito, you should put the ingredients in layers lengthwise. That way, every bite has AT LEAST A FUCKING CHANCE of getting at least two types of ingredients, and there is little chance of becoming almost hopelessly trapped in a goddamned cilantro cavern.
Have you ever eaten one of the things you make all fucking day? You should try one. They are pretty good WHEN YOU ARE NOT WILLING YOURSELF THROUGH THE FUCKING EMPIRE OF SOUR CREAM ONLY TO END UP IN LETTUCE COUNTRY.
When you eat a burrito, you don’t stand it up and bite down on it lengthwise like a fucking Rancor. Humans can’t usually dislocate their jaws, and I’m not a fucking pelican. But you must think that’s how it’s done, since that would be THE ONLY FUCKING WAY to take a bite of your crapstrosity and have it taste like a burrito.
Pausing a moment to remove from my mind the image of a human eating a burrito lengthwise like a Rancor, I'll say that Lucky Shirt's later observation, that "Humans also don’t eat burritos like fucking corn on the cob," is both true and sadly necessary to make.
(As it happens, Lucky Shirt has a card game called Superfight! that he describes as a battle to the death between Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples. I haven't played it, but hey, we're a gaming site, so.)
With Lucky Shirt's words ringing in my mind, I present to you The Jeff Leboswki Theory of Burrito Consistency: The best burritos, like the best of most things, have a Dude's Rug. Their rooms are tied together.
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