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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

National Cheeseburger Day

We looked at the Prefect Hamburger the other day (see
tml) well today is National Cheeseburger day so without repeating how to make a great hamburger we'll take a look at a great cheeseburger.
The cheeseburger has different claims to stardom. The first and most common is that in 1926 a 16 year old fry cook at the Rite Spot restaurant (owned by his father) in Pasadena California named  Lionel Sternberger when he placed a slice of American cheese on the hamburger he was frying. Other claims came in 1934 by  Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1935 Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado received a trademark for the name "Cheeseburger" while the founder of Steak N' Shake, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930s also attempted to trademark the name.
The cheese most commonly used for the standard cheeseburger is known as American cheese, is a processed cheese which means although it may appear as a type of cheese it contains no cheese and must be sold as "cheese product or processed cheese" often labelled as American slices or singles.  A 1916 creation of J.L. Kraft, he took cheddar and pasteurized it along with other  ingredients forming it into a cheese product that could resist spoilage having a longer shelf life than common cheese of the day. The Velveeta Cheese company had a similar process in making a smooth creamy cheese by-product and was purchased by J.L. in 1927. In 1953 Kraft Foods introduce another "American cheese" product they called Cheez Whiz.
The cheese known as factory cheese or rat cheese really did gain high popularity with the American public as a cheese until 1942 when the US government imposed strict consumption of cheese as a wartime measure banning nearly all types cheese except American. The restriction was so severe it nearly destroyed the import cheese market and was removed just 3 months after it was imposed.
The ingredients listed for American cheese are milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate; contains less than 2% of: salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), and cheese culture (not a type of cheese). Some however also add an edible oil to the process removing the milk, trading the taste for the cost of producing it. Kraft foods remain at the top as the producer of the best American cheese.
Many cheeseburgers reflect the region's cultural influence as to where they are sold using a cheese popular or common to the area. Examples may be a Greek with Feta cheese, Argentina with chimichurri sauce and manchego cheese, Korea  topped with cheese corn and kimchee, and teriyaki sauce, Swedish lingoberries and Swiss cheese, Vancouver with sharp or old cheddar and maple onion marmalade, and so many more.
Here is a list of the best Burger joints in America:
 Check out the list and leave a comment: name the burger joints you’d have included.
In-N-Out Burger, multiple locations
Minetta Tavern, New York City
Holeman & Finch, Atlanta
Ray’s Hell Burger, Arlington, Va.
Cragie on Main, Boston
Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, Conn.
Zuni Cafe, San Francisco
Dyer’s Burgers, Memphis, Tenn.
Custom House, Chicago
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
The Spotted Pig, New York City
Gott’s Roadside (aka Taylor’s Refresher), multiple Calif. locations
Farmburger, Decatur, Ga.
Father’s Office, Los Angeles
Little Owl, New York City
Palena Café, Washington, D.C.
Ted’s, Meriden, Conn.
Miller’s Bar, Dearborn, Mich.
Green Street Grill, Boston
Healdsburg Bar & Grill, Healdsburg, Calif.
Shake Shack, New York City
Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Buffalo Gap, Texas
White Manna, Hackensack, N.J.
Duchamp, Chicago
Peter Luger, New York City
To create the best cheeseburger follow the rules.  Rule #1: There are no rules. Rule #2: see rule #1. However the guideline is top your cheeseburger with cheese that will compliment the patty, toppings and type of bun.
Choose cheese with certain factors, 1st how it melts. Such as American, Gruyère, Comté, Brie, Taleggio (my favorite), Fontina, Boursault, Brillat Savarin, Brinza, C aprice des Dieux , Chaource, Humboldt fog, Maroilles, Saint André,.
Tangy cheeses are: Tomme d'Abondance, Appenzell, Asiago (fresh), Beaufort, Caciotta, Cheshire, Edam, Emmental, Gjetost, Jarlsberg and many more.
Going wild, Roquefort or Maytag blue, Ubriaco Prosecco, Serpa,  Gruyère, Rolf Beeler,  Blu del Moncenisio, Abbaye de Belloc to name  a few.
So make your burger, top it your favorite cheese and topping and enjoy!
Photo of In & Out Burger

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