04 June 2013

Hamburgers, 54 Years Ago

I was thumbing through my beloved copy of the venerable James Beard Cook Book and stopped to read this juicy paragraph on burgers.

The traditional hamburger is a 4-ounce cake broiled or pan-broiled to the required state of doneness and served on a heated, toasted, buttered bun. There is nothing as unappetizing as a cold hamburger bun with a hot hamburger.

Got that? Toast your damned buns.

Later on, he suggests serving with chili sauce, "if you wish, but heat your chili sauce before serving, because cold sauce is not inviting with hot food".

I love the imperiousness of those commands, not to mention the idea that in 1959 a cookbook author had to explain a hamburger sandwich. Really? Were they that novel, in 1959?

Incidentally, his iteration of a cheeseburger has the cheese sandwiched - pre-cooking - between two "very thin, 2-ounce cakes".

So, dear readers, do you toast your buns?

10 comments:

Heide Estes said...

How many burgers today are four ounces?

the queen said...

I totally toast, balanced on the toaster top.

kittiesx3 said...

Oh yes, buns are to be toasted always. Never, ever microwaved. That's just not proper.

mayberry said...

I had the same thought as Heide. Four ounces!

Anonymous said...

Four oz is a quarter pounder common weight for a modern hamburger.

Jeanne said...

I like the buns toasted in the oven with a pat of butter melted in the middle, and then (cold) Hellman's on the bun, the way my grandmother served hamburgers--never with cheese! There's so much extraneous cheese on sandwiches these days!

jo(e) said...

Ha! I just discovered toasted buns over Memorial Day Weekend. My brother-in-law was grilling veggie burgers, and he insisted on toasting the buns — and it made all the difference in the world. I liked the added crunch and warmth.

leanne said...

I don't toast my buns. Probably because my mom didn't toast the buns when I was growing up. I can totally blame her, right? :) But really, I've never thought about it. Next time I make burgers I just might have to try it.

Jody said...

When I think of it in time, I use a pastry brush to splash some butter or olive oil on the inside surfaces of the buns and then throw them on the grill. Also, there should be onions sliced in thin rings with a pat of butter in a pocket of tin-foil on one corner.

But we mostly eat turkey burgers (I can't give blood because I lived in the UK during the mad-cow years, and it makes me nervous about ground beef) and it feels like a bit of a waste to go to so much effort for burgers that aren't actually very good.

Thanks to Jeanne, I now have a profound craving for a butter burger. Man I wish I liked the taste of grass-fed ground beef more. (Grass-fed beef stew meat and stakes are amazing. But my palate can't seem to adjust to the taste of the ground beef.)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My grandmother fried her burgers and then steamed the buns in the fat and juices. She didn't mess around with any lean ground beef either. They were delicious!