May 28 ~  Future in Hamburgers Grinding It Out: Making of McDonald's

"There's a lot more future in hamburgers than in baseball." ~ Ray Kroc

Tomarts Price Guide to McDonalds Happy Meal Collectibles Roy Kroc knew all about hamburgers. In the 1950s he transformed McDonald's into the world's largest food conglomerate. Today's look at hamburgers is just in time for today, National Hamburger Day.

The hamburger was first introduced by Texans who attended the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Who invented this culinary staple? Depends on who you talk to. The Athens, Texas folks say native son Fletcher Davis.

Another story is that in 1885 Charles and Frank Menches ran out of pork sausage patties, substitute ground beef, and named their sandwich after the country fair they were at in Hamburg.

Still another version has lunch wagon owner Louis Lassing in Connecticut creating the popular meal in 1900. And others insist the hamburger was created at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1912.

Upon further investigation, the hamburger was probably around by the end of the Middle Ages, with the 1802 Oxford English Dictionary defining "Hamburg steak" as salt beef.

Calling ground beef "hamburger" coincides with the invention of the mechanical meat grinder in the 1860s. Which brings to mind what philosopher Lucius Seneca once said: "The best ideas are common property."

According to the National Cattleman's Beef Association, America loves its burgers. On average we eat 50 billion burgers a year.

Hamburger was so popular that in 1970, during a meat shortage, General Mills introduced Hamburger Helper, a pasta/seasoning mix to stretch a pound of hamburger into a tasty family meal. But who has time for Hamburger Helper when grilling burgers are so much more tasty? As the Italian Proverb said, "Even an old boot tastes good if it is cooked over charcoal."

So, gently shape that ground beef into patties, make sure your coals are medium, ash-covered, and use a spatula to flip, but never flatten or press. But most of all: enjoy!

Celebrate PassionYou are what you eat.