Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough
Special to the Village News
When we think of American food, the classic hamburger comes to mind. Certain chains have made this meat patty and bun extremely popular, especially with all the different versions that now exist. The patty can be fried, grilled, or flame boiled, and some of the traditional toppings include lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, cheese, pickles, mayonnaise, or different special sauces.
The first hamburger was sold by Louis Lassen in 1895. This information is according to the government of Connecticut who said that hamburgers originated from the Louis Lunch restaurant. This sandwich was actually nameless until a traveler from Hamburg, Germany, named it after where he lived. It wasn't until about 1921 when White Castle in Kansas became the first chain to carry the product.
About 19 years later, McDonalds soon followed suit. This chain was known for adding variety to the sandwich. Because McDonalds offered fast service, the hamburger soon became a hit. Today, Burger King follows McDonalds as the second largest hamburger chain.
A traditional single patty hamburger has about 230 calories, 9.5 grams of fat, 25 carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein.
Americans consume approximately 50 billion burgers per year. About 75% of all American restaurants are burger joints and 71% of beef consumed in American is in the form of a hamburger.
There are over 50,000 burger joints across the United States. Of all sandwiches sold, burgers account for 60%. McDonalds purchases over 1 billion pounds of hamburger meat per year.
Besides the major chains the list of burger joints that sell the most burgers are as follows: In-N-Out, Culver's, Fuddruckers, Steak n Shake, Smashburger, Five Guys, Whataburger, Rally's, Carl's Jr., and Wendy's.
A burger can be very basic or very unique these days. The portion distortion of a single patty has also become part of the more the merrier for the belly. Not to mention the French fries or onion rings that come on the side.
A burger can pretty much satisfy anyone's taste-buds and there are now vegetarian and non-red meat options. Those following dietary restrictions might ditch the bun and opt for a lettuce wrap. There are gigantic, not able to fit in your mouth burgers, and then there are mini sliders.
Depending on your preference, a burger can be detrimental to the waistline or a good addition of iron and nutrients. Going back to the basic hamburger Louis Lassen made might be a lost art, but there's always room for simplicity in one's life. At summer barbeques and parties, burgers are always an option on the menu. A hamburger is a taste of American tradition well sought after.
Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough, EdD, recently earned her doctorate in physical education and health science, is a professional natural bodybuilder and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine master trainer.