Apparently you can take the food writer off the food beat, but you can’t take the food off the beat. The sweet potato boom was a natural, since I’d read about the frites trend 20 other places (as Satchel Paige may or may not have said: “If it ain’t fried, don’t eat it”). But the Ghetto Burger story exposed the limitations in thinking anyone can be Johnny Rotten (and even he segregated his gustatory reportage from his news/politics stuff). As we used to say on copy desks, this tired-and-sentimental thing had holes so big you could drive trucks through them, trucks in this case loaded with industrial “burger” (I believe the proper term is “ground beef”). What does any business go for in that neighborhood these days? Does hers turn a profit? What about franchising? What kind of idiot advises anyone in a depressed market to dream so ridiculously big? Why do all reporters get man-on-the-street commentary rather than track down someone who knows what the hell he’s talking about? And I know too well how hard it is to ask the most obvious question, but the answer would really have resonated at a time when 98 percent of Americans are facing down the reality that the good life is over in this country; it also could have illuminated the quandary Social Security presents for the self-employed. The photo doesn’t show the entire menu board, but $9.50 for a burger made from supermarket beef sounds like a pretty good markup. Did the sweet, smart, super-hard-working entrepreneur accumulate nothing to retire on?