November 30, 2004

Burger Birthday There’s nothing more American than a burger. While many can’t agree on it’s origins most food historians agree that the hamburger made its official debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Concessionaire Fletcher Davis of Athens, TX, served the hamburger with a mixture of ground mustard and mayonnaise on slices of thick bread and topped the burger with cucumber pickles and a slice of Bermuda onion. And we Americans love our burgers. According to the research organization NPD who tracks trends for marketers and the generally curious, 73% of all burgers consumed in the U.S. are prepared and purchased; French fries are the most popular side item and burgers are more popular than pizza plus seven of every 10 commercially ordered burgers are cheeseburgers most often with American cheese followed by cheddar and Swiss. According to a Hardee’s survey, 48% of Americans say ketchup is their favorite hamburger condiment, followed by mayonnaise and then mustard. What's more, 83% of those surveyed say lettuce is their favorite topping, followed closely by tomato, and then pickle, onion, bacon, chili and salsa. Recently Hardee’s in a complete act of decadence, and perhaps to fill a market void announced the Monster Thickburger— two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. This 1,420 calorie meal sells for $5.49, or with fries and a soda for just over $7. In an interview on CNBC, Hardee's chief executive Andrew Puzder was...
American Food Fights Every year, thousands of amateur cooks enter their masterpieces in hundreds of cooking competitions across America. In food journalist Amy Sutherland's 2004-IACP nominated Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America, this sub-culture is avidly explored to the point where the author gets the competition bug herself. In the world of competitive cooking there are hundreds of contests. There are cook-offs for everything from chili, barbecue, and cornbread to mustard, oysters, and mandarin oranges. According to Sutherland, “the triple crown” is the National Chicken Cooking Contest, The National Beef Cook Off and the grandma of them all, The Pillsbury Bake-off. Cookoffs typically have commercial sponsors that require contestants to use one or more of their products. In other words they are marketing outreach effort. However, more than anything these contests reveal who we are, how we cook and how far we’ll take our hobbies. If you read enough of the recipe submissions some similarities start to appear—recipes are simple using everyday ingredients, are convenient and have a definite orientation toward the home cook. Last year Sutherland was asked in a Salon interview what makes these contests so particularly American. She replied, "We think of competition as a good thing and also a very democratic way to test yourself, to prove yourself by your own wit." She later added, "It also encourages our faith in the ordinary man or in this case, the ordinary cook. They affirm our general faith that an everyday person can be just as creative as an expert." The National...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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