Dietribes: I Can Haz Cheeseburger

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• Various dictionaries trace the first mention of the hamburger to 1889 as a "hamburg steak." Or was it 1884 in the Boston Journal? Maybe, according to an entry in ''American Gastronomy'' written by Louis Szathmary in 1974, the hamburger's opening performance came in 1836 on a Delmonico's menu. Regardless, it seems that this wholly American sandwich definitely originated somewhere in the states, though where that may have been, from Athens, TX to New Haven, CT, no one can exactly be sure.

• As for the cheeseburger, the history is just as contested. Plenty of places claim to be the home of the cheeseburger, including Pasadena and Denver. Apparently, it was not originally intuitive to simply add cheese, as the cheeseburger didn't gain popularity until the 1920s and 30s.

• But something almost no one wants to take credit for would be Cheeseburger in a Can (although it seems they are no longer in existence). Has anyone ever eaten one?

• If that didn't make you lose your appetite then this might - lab-grown meat is first step to artificial hamburger.

• There are plenty of burger variations, with more permutations than would be sensible to record, but one famous version is the Luther Burger, a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut (reportedly based on the favorite snack of R&B singer Luther Vandross. It also brings to mind this great article from the Guardian about what is making us fat).

• More famous versions include the $777 burger and a patented steamed variety.

• And if that's not enough for you and your love of burgers (as much as Hamburgler perhaps?), there is also a Burger Bed, a Hamburger Harley, and even a hamburger phone.

• No discussion of cheeseburgers nowadays is complete without a mention of the original Cheeseburger Cat (and the explosion of the LOL cat meme that followed).

• Where is your favorite place to buy a burger? Or for my fellow vegetarians, what is your favorite meat-substitute burger? (I really like salmon burgers, as well as the masala veggie burgers from Trader Joe's). Also, what's the weirdest - but tasty - thing you've ever put on a burger?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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June 13, 2012 - 7:47am
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