Monday, May 30, 2016

One of America's Favorites - The Cheeseburger

A cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Traditionally, the slice of cheese is placed on top
of the meat patty, but the burger can include many variations in structure, ingredients, and composition. The term itself is a portmanteau of "cheese" and "hamburger." The cheese is normally added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before the patty is entirely cooked which allows the cheese to melt. Cheeseburgers are often served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, and sometimes bacon.

In fast food restaurants, the cheese used is normally processed cheese, but there are variations, such as cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, blue cheese and pepper jack. When cheese is added to a burger the nutritional value of the burger can be altered substantially. For example, a slice of cheddar cheese can add 113 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat to a burger. Other types and amounts of cheese would have varied effects, depending on their nutritional content.

Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the late-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have introduced the cheeseburger in 1926 at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena, California sandwich shop, "The Rite Spot," and "experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger."

An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant O'Dell's which listed a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents.

Other restaurants say they invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, said it invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado. According to Steak 'n Shake archives, the restaurant's founder, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930s.

The ingredients used to create cheeseburgers follow similar patterns found in the regional variations
A cheddar-stuffed cheeseburger
of hamburgers. Popular regional toppings include bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms or onions, cheese sauce and/or chili. Less common ingredients include egg, feta cheese, salsa, jalapeños and other kinds of chili peppers, anchovies, slices of ham, mustard, gyros meat, or bologna, horseradish, sauerkraut, pastrami or teriyaki-seasoned beef, tartar sauce, french fries, onion rings, potato chips, a pat of butter, pineapple and tofu.

A cheeseburger may have more than one hamburger patty and more than one slice of cheese. A stack of two patties is called a double cheeseburger; a triple cheeseburger has three, and a quadruple has four. Some cheeseburgers are prepared with the cheese enclosed within the ground beef, rather than on top. This is sometimes known as a Jucy Lucy.

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