“Cheeseburger, the love of many. Cheeseburger, juicy patties and melty cheese. Cheeseburger…”
Pretty sure that most people had a taste of cheeseburgers at one point of their life. While the hamburger may be the pioneer to burgers, but cheeseburger adds in an extra kick to the sandwich! Which is why we celebrate the National Cheeseburger Day on the 18th of September annually!
The opening of vast grasslands of the Great Plains to cattle ranching by the late 19th century had made most Americans consume beef almost on a daily basis possible. Burgers are the most common food in America, and with the invention of the hamburger, it was one of the cheapest sources of beef in the United States.
A Coincidence or an Invention?
Till date, there is no confirmation as to who invented the hamburger. It is the same with the cheeseburger. It first appeared in the late 1920s and became popular till the mid-1930s. Lionel Sternberger was working at his father’s sandwich shop, “The Rite Spot” in Pasadena, California at the age of 16. It was claimed that he invented the first-ever cheeseburger back in 1926.
One story said that he experimented with different tastes and decided to place a piece of American cheese on a hot, freshly prepared, hamburger patty. There was also another story whereby a homeless man decided to dine at The Rite Shop and asked for a slice of American cheese on his burger. Sternberger may have found it odd but complied to his request.
Whichever version of the stories does not really matter as the cheese on top of a hamburger received the approval of his father and it became a part of the menu, calling it “cheese hamburger”. Based on a technicality, some actually denied that Sternberger invented the “cheeseburger”.
In 1928, Los Angeles restaurant O’Dell’s had a cheeseburger on their menu. At 25 cents, O’Dell’s sold it with chilli. Popular restaurant chain Steak ‘n Shake documented in their archives that its owner, Gus Belt, had tried to trademark the name “cheeseburger” but was not granted.
Even so, Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky claimed that in 1934, they invented the cheeseburger. Unlike Belt, Loius Ballast of the Denver Humpty Dumpty Drive-In, Colorado managed to trademark the name in 1935. Though awarded, he never enforced the trademark.
Cheeseburger Fun Facts
- The LARGEST cheeseburger ever made weighed a whopping 2,014 pounds (914 kg), which included 60 pounds (27 kg) of bacon, 50 pounds (23 kg) of lettuce, 40 pounds (18 kg) of pickles, 50 pounds (23 kg) of sliced onions, and 40 pounds (18 kg) of cheese. The record was set in 2012 by Minnesota’s Black Bear Casino, breaking the previous record of 881 pounds (400 kg).
- Kosher laws (Hebrew: כַּשְׁרוּת; kashrut) observed by Judaism prohibits the mixtures of milk and meat according to a verse in the Book of Exodus in which Jews are forbidden from “boiling a (kid) goat in its mother’s milk” (Exod. 34:26). The prohibition also appeared in the book of Deuteronomy. Hence, traditionally the cheeseburger breaches these Kosher laws.
- This dietary law sparked controversy when McDonald’s began opening franchises in Jerusalem. As you can guess, the common item on the menu is a cheeseburger. Since then, McDonald’s has opened both kosher and non-kosher restaurants in Israel to cater to the kosher diners.
- A kosher restaurant in New York City created a controversial cheeseburger which uses soy cheese in an attempt to create a “kosher cheeseburger.
Simple or Complex: Your Decision
Cheeseburgers can be made relatively simply. All you need is two halves of a bun, salad, a hot hamburger patty and some variant of melting cheese. Melting cheese choices includes cheddar, Swiss, Blue cheese, Pepper Jack and Mozzarella.
You can turn the simple cheeseburger into a tower of complexity buy adding bacon, avocado, onions, chilli and mushrooms. There are versions of different cheeseburgers with feta cheese, egg, chilli peppers, salsa, ranges of meat, for instance, ham, bologna, anchovies, gyros meat along with different sauces. Tower up your cheeseburgers with more than one patty and more than one slice of cheese, and these are called double, triple and quadruple cheeseburgers.
Do you like the authentic simple cheeseburger or a complex one with exquisite toppings?
Making the Perfect Cheeseburger
- First, you would need to fry and smash the hamburger patty. You can use a frozen patty from the supermarket or alternatively, make your own patty with ground beef and some seasoning. Cooked the patty well-done.
- Add a type of melting cheese of your choice. Place it on top of the hot patty.
- Butter and charr the bun a little. Transferred the patty with melted cheese onto one half of the bun. Add on toppings preferred such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions to give your own authentic taste.
- Add on condiments or sauces like mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup or chilli.
- Top off with the other half the bun, and there you have it, a perfectly splendid cheeseburger!
Viola! You now have your cheeseburger. Like most dishes, this is the main character, but sides are needed. It is just like how eggs need bacon. The choices are traditional french fries, salads, coleslaw, onion rings and potato salad.
Additionally, add on a sweet tooth with an ice-cold milkshake. These sides may seem insignificant nor do they stand out, but these are the sides that complement the cheeseburger that makes it even more delicious than it already is.
This coming National Cheeseburger Day, you know what to do, right?
Dine out at a diner’s for a traditional cheeseburger, or at a restaurant that you can savour the complexity. You may see restaurants giving out free cheeseburgers on an occasion as such. OR, prepare your own cheeseburgers at home!
A simple, down-to-earth cheeseburger does not mean it is not special, albeit you can enjoy the originality in it. Celebrate the National Cheeseburger Day with a cheeseburger meal! You can even make Cheeseburger Day on any other day too!
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