I have two words for you. Or maybe it's one word. Whatever. They are. Or it is:


Whether one word or two, you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you?

Yes, you know, because you have noticed it too. Fusion cuisine. Nightie blouses. Broccoflower.

That's right. Things that are not quite this, not quite that. In other words, I am speaking here of cutesification. (Which, for the record, is not a word at all.)

We thought cutesification ended in the early '90s with the demise of that ubiquitous '80s sign - the Shoppe. You remember. Ye Olde Candle Shoppe? Ye Olde Pie Shoppe? Ye Olde Tire and Alignment Shoppe?

When the Shoppe started fading from the made-over Main Streets of small towns and malls, it seemed that cutesification was on the wane. We could breathe again.

But cutesification is like the swamp monster. It rises from the deep, an unkillable beast. After its Ye Olde Shoppe demise, it reemerged from its bog with Things. Scissors and Things. Cookies and Things. Lawn Blade Sharpening and Things. It advanced with Etc. Fabrics, Etc. Kitchenware, Etc. Hazardous Waste, Etc. Finally, it landed on our shores, scary and yucky, with Stuff. Sewing and Stuff. Sports Gear and Stuff. Venomous Snakes, Gators, Rodents, and Stuff.

And we knew cutesification was back with a vengeance.

Which returns us to the mini-burger. Yes, mini-burgers have always been with us. But they were meant to be devoured by the sackful late at night after a bender. (See: White Castle.) Today's mini-burger is different. It is an appetizer.

Oh, woe is the burger.

It has been, yes, cutesified.

Burgers are intended to be as big as their name sounds. Burger. Which, if you are keeping score, is a word. One word. One strong word. Unlike mini-burger.