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#513: My Love Affair with Hamburgers

Monday, October 03, 2011

If you ever watched the Popeye cartoons of years past, you will remember Wimpy who always told people he was trying to get money from, "For a hamburger today, I will gladly pay you Tuesday." Old Wimpy sure loved his hamburgers. So do I.

It is hard to remember exactly when I had my first hamburger emoticon but that cooked meat inside a flat bottomed, rounded top bun, with tomato, lettuce, pickles and sometimes cheese, led to many laughs with Mom for decades. Here is the story she thought was funny:

When I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old and my younger sister 4 or 5, we often traveled by car across country from wherever the Navy had stationed Dad, he and Mom in the front seat, my sister and I in the back, going to or from visiting relatives. When we stopped for a meal, my sister and I typically said in unison we'd like "A hamburger, French fries and a Coke" emoticon emoticon emoticon although it was as likely RC Cola or some such.

Over the years Mom loved to tell us of one particular trip when Dad, with a stern look on his face emoticon and a firm tone to his voice, told us kids that when we stopped for dinner that particular night he wanted us to order a hot meal with vegetables emoticon. Later, we sat at a table in a Howard Johnson's and were reminded of ordering a hot meal.

The waitress came, smiled and asked, "What would you kids like for dinner?" Together my sister and I said, "A hamburger, French fries and a Coke." But our order was overturned by Dad who asked for something like meatloaf (still hamburger, right?), mashed potatoes and gravy and a vegetable.

Later in high school emoticon, Zippy's was one place to go but the town's best burgers were at Dog 'N Suds where I worked for three years. The Texas Burger was a forerunner of the Big Mac with three pieces of bun, two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, pickles and cheese. The Pizza Burger was a quarter pound of beef filled with mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce. Delicious. emoticon

During college we hung out at the Rocket Burger that must have had unremarkable burgers because I don't recall how good or bad they were.

Then, as I got older, McDonald's, Burger King and Burger Chef appeared. But who could forget the North's contribution -- White Castle -- duplicated in the South by Krystal? Tiny square burgers it took only two bites to eat. Yum, yum.

Once, an uncle had a party for our family and other relatives and I went with him to get White Castles -- 300 of them, plus fries, of course. I had never seen so many bags of burgers. He and I must have eaten a dozen of them on the way home. emoticon

Don't get me wrong, I love a good hot dog too, but that's a story for another time. Suffice it to say, if you have never eaten a hot dog from a street vendor in Chicago or New York City, you have missed an exquisite gastronomic delight.

But for me, a hamburger, grilled on an open grill, with toasted bun, cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle, what some call California style, will continue to be a sandwich of choice.

Now, which do I go out for, a Big Mac, Whopper or a dozen little square Krystals? Decisions, decisions. emoticon
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  • CONNIE117
    Have loved them so much too. I was about 12 when McDonalds hit our neighborhood - I could eat 2 Big Macs, fries, and a shake. I can't believe I could do that. I only weighed 97 lbs

    I think it added on in later years...I love In and Out and Carl's Jr has a turkey/quacomole burger that is sinful but its about 430 calories - no room for fries or shake...thanks for the memories
    3416 days ago
  • CHARMIN944
    I'm from New York and remember my love for "Chock Full of Nuts" restaurant where we always got the big juicy burgers.

    And you're right. If you haven't had a Nathan hot dog from Coney Island, you haven't lived!

    Don't get me started on pizza and Chinese food! Or the potato knishes from the street vendors. Lou, look at what you started!

    3432 days ago
    Hi Lou, My dad and me are hamburger lovers also. He loves cooking them on his grill at his home. I had a hamburger for my lunch yesterday and it was good.

    Wendy emoticon
    3434 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/6/2011 6:22:27 AM
    Lou, I too am a hamburger lover! Now even though I am full of pasta, I got a hankering for a burger!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon but peach tea instead of coke!!!!
    Happy Hamburger Day Lou! Enjoy!
    3434 days ago
    I share your hamburger love, my friend, and so far, turkey burgers can't compare. Love this blog!
    3435 days ago
    Good old in and out (California thing) and red robin( who I am happy to say has a natural burger for about 500 calories and is served with cantwloape) cause I love me some burgers!!!!
    3435 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Mmmm, I love a nice juicy burger. Always hits the spot. Sometimes I buy those frozen White Castle burgers at the grocery store, but they're not the same as the real ones. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)
    3435 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/4/2011 8:06:54 PM
  • MOGAL1946
    Yes! Love those burgers. Had a Wendy's Junior Burger for lunch. Use to live on Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Don't think I've had one of those for a couple of years. It is just unbelievable the number of calories that was consumed in the past! Great Blog!

    3435 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    The Big Mac and Whopper have always been favorites of mine. I chalk up a lot of pounds to them. Now days I will on occasion treat myself to a Whopper Junior for lunch; and can make dinner choices that keep me in my nutrition numbers for the day.
    3436 days ago
    I've never had the pleasure of white castle. Maybe one day. I always remember being so excited when mom and dad bbq'd hamburgers and you had to cut them in half just to be able to get your mouth around it... ha!

    Great memory adventure Lou! Thanks!
    3436 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    Here I am, starving & waiting as hubby makes us brunch... and now my mouth is all watering... I prefer bison burgers on whole grain bun with tomatoes, pickles, onion & mustard. Mmmmmm....
    3436 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8985772
    Mmmmm, White Castle hamburgers!

    Living in PA, I would gladly drive the 2 hours to the Newark International Airport in New Jersey because I knew there was a White Castle nearby. I would buy a case of them and whatever didn't get consumed was frozen for another day.

    When I moved to FL, I was thrilled to hear about Krystal's being the South's answer to those tasty mini burgers. Every once in a while, the hubby and I buy a Crave Case (24 Krystals w/ cheese) and it will be our dinner and breakfast!

    Thanks for the good memories! emoticon
    3436 days ago
    I can easily pass on a franchised hamburger - my dh worked for a company which serviced the processing facilities and he knows all the in's and out's of how the Big 3 make their patties. But don't tempt me with a good restaurant burger - when I'm dieting, that's all I can think about when ordering. emoticon
    3436 days ago
    A good old fashioned hamburg is my favorite. I prefer those in a restaurant or at home to those in Mcdonalds or a fast food joint.
    3436 days ago
    Oh my goodness, it is like heaven.... hamburger, fries and (vanilla milk shake). When I was a kid my brother worked at the local hamburger joint. The burgers cost 5 burgers for $1 .
    Then when I hit 16, I worked at another hamburger place. I can almost smell those burgers and fried onions cooking on the grill. Great memories, aren't they?

    This summer we had a family party and grilled hamburgers. They were delicious and everybody was happy just eating them and enjoying each other's company. I think some of what was good about those hamburgers was the love that we felt with the whole family together, don't you? Even Dad telling you to order something healthier, it is a memory that is all about a loving time.
    3436 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    You made me hungry! Lol.. and remembering the time before "McDonalds" when I was little and we (Dad, Mom and I) would go once a month to a place called Wettons in Jersey City. They had the best hamburgers ever! They had ketchup and mustard and these little fried onions, and pickles on it. Mmmm Mmmm! Thanks for the memories, and the hunger pangs! Lol..
    3436 days ago
    I love hamburgers as well, but including the 'in & out" burger
    3436 days ago
    Ohhhhhhh yeah. I'm with you. NOTHING beats a good burger :)
    3436 days ago
    Oh, Lou! I'm sure glad I'd already eaten my chef salad before I read your blog! emoticon You could very well give the hamburger it's good name back! Seriously, as SparkPeople advocates, moderation in our healthy lifestyle allows for such treats now and then! Thanks for a great read! I wish you'd blog more often! emoticon
    3436 days ago
    Yum! Good thing I ate dinner already before reading your blog, Lou. : ) I like hamburgers the way you do. And I've eaten at most of those places you mentioned.
    3436 days ago
    Some folks definitely have a taste for burgers. In California we love "In n Out" & we just got a 5 guys burger joint recently. The consensus seems to be we Cali folk love our " In & Out" Have you ever tried one?
    3436 days ago
    I'm with you! I love hamburgers! They beat a hotdog any day of the week!
    3436 days ago
    You've made me hungry, Lou. Probably best to skip the fast-food joints and grill a burger at home...at least then you don't have the temptation of fries! emoticon emoticon
    3436 days ago
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