Right now, this very minute, if one ask me what my "can't do without food" is I'd say a hamburger. It's so basic, so easy and can be modified to fit a multitude of occasions. But everyone has a special way they like it.
I'll proceed, if I may...
How to define the perfect hamburger? It's simple and easy to cook/assemble and just like making love...even at it worst, it's pretty darned good.
The first step is the foundation, the bun. The bread makes or breaks the burger. I prefer a kaiser roll, lightly buttered and toasted on a hot griddle. The next step is a thin coating of real mayo. The mayo isn't so much for taste (although it brings something to the party) but for a moisture barrier insuring the bottom of the bun doesn't get soggy.
The third and forth layers are two leaves of iceberg lettuce and a thinly sliced red onion.
And now for the superstar...the meat. Subjectively called ground chuck or objectively called 80% lean ground beef it should be fresh ground, never frozen, aggressively seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper only and cooked to a perfect medium (hint of pink in the middle). The patty should be hand-formed, lightly packed and thick enough to allow a good exterior char while not overcooking the center. The cooked patty should fit the size of the bun (no point deduction for being slightly larger than the bun, big mistake if it's smaller than the bun). Everything else being proportional, I find a third pound burger more than satisfies.
The sixth layer is the cheese...a thin slice of cheddar cheese which should be put on top of the patty while still cooking. This allows the cheese to melt into the meat. Melted cheese is especially important.
Topping the melted cheese is the thinly sliced tomato. Tomato, having a high moisture content, has a tendency to cause the top bun to slide out of position; however, the melted cheese gives added "traction". The bun cap should have a heavy coating of yellow mustard which will also give added traction for the tomato. A light "squish" from the top of the bun will help bond the 8 layers to one manageable entity for consumption.
This, in my opinion, is the perfect burger.