But on a serious note, it’s National Hamburger Month

imageIf you’re a vegetarian or any other type of non-meat-eater, I’d like to start this column by saying I realize National Hamburger Month isn’t for everyone. Then again, May also happens to be National Salad Month — and no one here is passing any judgements on you for that. So I hope we can all approach May with tolerance and understanding in regard to each other’s lifestyle choice in eating preferences.

Although let’s be honest; mine is better because it has bacon on it.

Most people don’t know that hamburgers have actually been around since the time of Genghis Khan, whose riders would shove pieces of meat under their saddles to create minced meat patties through the combination of heat and friction while riding. In fact, historians speculate Khan’s empire may not have spread so quickly had he preferred his burgers rare instead of well done. But that’s just a theory. It’s also worth noting that one rider began adding carrots and onions to the meat under his saddle during longer distances to create the first rump roast.

Ok fine, I made that last part up. 

But clearly, the hamburger has come a long way since then, depending on which fast food restaurant you eat at. Which is why National Hamburger Month isn’t about the kind of burger that comes in a box and looks like it was actually sat on by Genghis Khan. It’s about those gourmet burgers that are so big, so delicious and so full of extras that eating them is a life-changing experience. And not just in terms of developing a heart condition. Although if you don’t feel a little light headed after eating one, you’re probably not doing it right.

The hamburger is like the culinary equivalent of what it means to be American: bold, exciting, full of variety, all resting on two big buns. I consider myself a connoisseur, approaching a well-crafted burger the same way I would a piece of art.

Except without all the embarrassing salivating.

That’s because, like great art, a great burger is the result of thoughtful consideration over every detail to ensure that the sum total is a cohesive masterpiece. Wrong kind of onion? Or cheese that’s too mild? Maybe the barbecue sauce overpowers the bacon?


Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still eat that kind of failure. I’m just saying…

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I plan on making the most of National Hamburger Month by visiting my favorite spots for the best burgers in town. Chances are you won’t recognize me at any of them because, in many cases, the burgers are bigger than my face. At least initially. And by that I just mean my face will definitely be getting burger… I mean bigger… as the month goes on. For those of you choosing to wait for National Burger Day on May 28 because of your dedication to fitness, I applaud your self-control.

Or at least I will once I’m done eating this bacon cheeseburger.





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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

56 thoughts on “But on a serious note, it’s National Hamburger Month”

  1. I hope you post about thd yummiest. My mom and I were reminiscing about when she made hamburgers. My sister and I asked her why they didn’t taste like McDonalds. Oh how young and stupid we were.

  2. I”m a patty melt kind of girl because I’m, an onion freak, or just a basic bltmk on it. But I did put an egg on a burger once. It didn’t seem like it should work, but it was delicious

      1. I haven’t attempted hollandaise yet. That sounds intriguing. Is that the sauce they put on Eggs Benedict?

        1. Yes, it’s fantastic: Here’s an easy recipe:
          Take 3 room temp egg yolks and put into Cuisinart and mix. While mixing, very slowly pour in 1 stick’s worth of melted, clarified butter. Then add Tabasco sauce, fresh lemon juice, white pepper and salt to taste. Delicious!

            1. If you’re going to hold it for service in a restaurant during a meal period, then you definitely need to cook it in a double boiler and whip it by hand. But for making it quick for a few sandwiches or eggs, this works great 😉

  3. “The hamburger is like the culinary equivalent of what it means to be American: bold, exciting, full of variety, all resting on two big buns.”

    That explains so much about modern American politics….

  4. “5 Guys” is my fast food burger of choice. Alas, I’ve sworn off beef burgers until I loose a few pounds. I hate veggie burgers, but turkey burgers are almost tolerable with enough barbecue sauce. What I can’t figure out is why they are called HAMburgers?

    1. I love 5 Guys burgers! But there are a couple of places here in Florence that make absolutely amazing burgers. They know me by name…

      And why “HAMburger?” I discovered the first minced meat patties that came to the US (after Genghis Khan) were brought by immigrants from Hamburg, Germany. From there, it evolved into the hamburger we know today. It’s scary that I know that…

  5. My girlfriend and I used to go for burgers, after drinking all night, at a place on Broadway called Cozy’s. Greek diner – best effin burger evah. Don’t know if they’re still in business. Meanwhile, I rarely eat beef (it’s a very long story – or short, but I tend to be wordy), but last summer in Cape May my son ordered a burger at the hotel that looked so good I fell off the proverbial wagon. It was AWEsome. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. I love good burgers but I can’t do hot, so jalapenos, onions, and other peppers and such are off limits. I gotta tell you Ned, this whole “health” kick our food distributors are on is draining the taste right out of the burgers. It is hard to find anything but lean and extra lean ground hamburger – and the leaner the less taste. Pretty soon I’ll be so damn healthy my food will be completely tasteless – extra lean patty with tofu on the side and rice cakes for desert. I often have to look in a few stores before i can find regular or medium ground beef. Waaaaaay back when I drove a bread truck during summer school break – I delivered to virtually every hamburger joint, pub, fry stand and restaurant in Halifax and surrounding area (I did vacation runs for the regular drivers so i would be a week or two on one run before switching to another). The very best hamburger I ever had was in a greasy spoon on Hwy#7 east of Halifax. The owner/cook ground his own beef and he used well marbled cuts. He added very little spices – just a bit of salt and pepper. He sliced old cheddar and melted it into the hamburger. He put that on a big fresh daily homemade bun and served it with fries he cut himself from special PEI potatoes every morning. I always stopped there for lunch when in the area and all I added was a bit of his homemade ketchup to the burger and fries. The hamburger juices would run down both cheeks with every bite. Dear Lord – Heaven couldn’t have been any better.

  7. What a wonderful celebration of human cultural achievement! I’d like to join in, but unfortunately I happened to glance at the picture accompanying your post and gained 20 pounds. Now that is a burger. 🙂

  8. Thank you for another thoughtful, reasoned commentary on an important cultural phenomenon.

    When I consider the amount of time our elected officials no doubt spent being wooed by lobbyists, having interns research the topic, crafting a bill and getting a vote on the floor which led to the adoption of National Hamburger Month, it makes me feel very depressed. I tend to self-medicate depression with food, which brings us full circle to the topic of your post.

    Where can I get the pictured bacon cheeseburger, stat?

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