Well then, put down that double-double, wipe the grease from your hands, and point your mouse to the link above. It'll take you to Amazon, where you can order this tasty read, the third book in a series exploring iconic American food items (the first two were Fried Chicken and Apple Pie). In it, food writer John T. Edge travels the U.S., examining regional patty preferences and cooking customs.
Near his home in the South, for instance, Mr. Edge hits upon "slug burgers." Born of WWI rationing and the Depression, their patties feature soy-based extenders. In Oklahoma, he peels into the history of onion burgers, whose cooks smash onion rounds into the ground beef as it sizzlesagain, another hardscrabble way of making the meat go further. Other regionalisms are easily understood, like the green-chile burgers of New Mexico or the bean burgers of San Antonio, Texas, that feature a slathering of refried beans and Fritos (which were, I learned, invented there).
It's concise yet descriptive writing like that (the book is full of well-turned prose) that makes me want to hop the next plane to Minnesota and try a Jucy Lucy. But, thanks to the recipes included, I can grill up a knock-off at homeand will be doing so quite soon, I can assure you.
As I mentioned, Mr. Edge's writing is well-crafted, and it's fun. His book manages to give a deceptively thorough overview of the state of American hamburgery in a short, quick package that you can easily devour in the course of an evening.
HAMBURGERS & FRIES: AN AMERICAN STORY
Author: John T. Edge
Publisher: Putnam, 2005
Pages: 208 (hardcover)
Click here to buy it from Amazon
Photograph of John T. Edge by Kyle Hood
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