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Wonder what the heck we’re talking about? Well, May is National Hamburger Month. A staple at cookouts and greasy spoon cafes all across the nation, and the Diner lingo title to this blog is the way they used to be ordered.
“Burn one” refers to dropping the burger on the grill. “Taking it through the garden” means topping it with lettuce and tomato, and to finish it off, you pin a rose (onion), the most fragrant of flowers, on it!
Man, that diner slang just adds some fun to the order! Of course, in recent years the Fast Food King has been elevated to a ‘gourmet’ status. The origin is unclear, but burgers have been around for a long time. A recipe for a hamburger appears in a cookbook written in the 1700s, and in the 1800s, emigrants ate them on their way to America.
In 1896, the Chicago Daily Tribune mentioned a place called The Sandwich Car that offered a Hamburger steak sandwich ‘cooked while you waited on the gasoline range for a nickel.’
ANN: Hey, back in 1967, I bought hamburgers at McDonald’s in Austin, Texas for nineteen cents! Only a fourteen cents price increase from 1896!!
J. Wellington “Whimpy,” Popeye the Sailor Man’s friend, helped their popularity when he appeared in the cartoon as a hefty Lover of Hamburgers in 1930. His soft spoken and cowardly personality was in direct contrast to his willingness to do whatever it took to get one, or a billion, for free.
They come in all sizes, consisting of one or more cooked patties of ground meat; usually beef, pan-fried, grilled, smoked or flame broiled, served on a sliced bun with lettuce, tomato, red, white or grilled onions, pickles, bacon, cheese. Sliced avocadoes, peppers, mushrooms, along with condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or relish.
SUSAN: The best burger I ever ate? October 3, 1969. On the way to Corpus Christi, my husband and I stopped at a little café. We’d only been married a few hours, and after being too busy and too nervous to eat all day, we were starving. Boy, did it taste good.
If burgers are your favorite fast food, then you’re in good company. Bruce Springsteen loves a good diner burger. Venus Williams prefers one from Mickey D’s, while Katy Perry fancies one from In-N-Out-Burger.
SUSAN: My favorite is a well-done pattie on a toasted bun, mustard on one side, and mayonnaise on the other, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Sometimes thin-sliced avocadoes. Sometimes melted cheese.
ANN: Just so you know, to order that well-done burger in diner lingo, the waitress would shout, “One Hockey Puck.” My favorite thing about a burger is the sauce I put on it. I mix 3 parts mayo with 1-part mustard, add lots of ground black pepper, and slather it on both buns. I love to add grilled mushrooms and onions, along with lettuce and some good ol’ East Texas maters!
What’s your fave? We’d love to know the place you like best—or, if you have a special recipe. Let us know in the comments!
Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com