National Cheeseburger Day
National Cheeseburger Day is a nonofficial U.S holiday which is celebrated annually on September 18th. On this day, people have an excuse to enjoy one of America’s favorite sandwiches: the cheeseburger – a delicacy that features a ground beef patty with melted cheese that is served between two buns and often topped with lettuce, onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup and other such condiments. It’s a holiday that shouldn’t be confused with Hamburger Day – which falls on May 28th – even though the only real difference between these two holidays is the addition of cheese.
History of Cheeseburgers
Tracing the origin of the cheeseburger is no easy task and in order to do it, you have to start with the cheeseburgers predecessor – the hamburger. While it’s generally agreed that hamburgers traveled to the United States via German immigrants during the 18th and 19 centuries, no one really knows the origin of this beef sandwich. Some people speculate that the hamburger can be traced to Ancient Egypt. During this time, the Egyptians made a dish made out of ground meat that was mixed with a variety of different spices and formed into patties.
However, some people believe that hamburgers really started with Genghis Khan and his Mongol army. They would take meat and place it under their horses’ saddles. The friction between the horse and the saddle would then tenderize the meat. Unfortunately, while this may have served as the basis of the meat for the first burger, it really wasn’t the first hamburger. After all, they didn’t place these patties between two slices of bread; Instead, they ate them raw.
The raw, ground meat delicacy of the Mongol army would travel to Russia and become known as Steak Tartare, a delicacy of raw beef. This dish then traveled to Germany between Russian ports of trade to the German port of Hamburg. It was there that the modern hamburger began to take shape as Hamburg Steak.
Hamburg Steak was a popular dish among Germans in the lower classes. While it was sometimes served raw, many Germans began to cook the meat. Sometimes it was salted or smoked and sometimes it was mixed with breadcrumbs. Eventually, someone decided to put this cooked beef between bread and brought it to the United States. It is in the U.S that it became an instant classic. After its introduction at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, it also became one of the most popular sandwiches of its time.
While hamburgers are a German invention, cheeseburgers are really an American innovation. Sometime during the late 1920s and early 1930s, someone came up with the brilliant idea to add cheese to the already popular hamburger.
Unfortunately, it really isn’t clear who decided to make this innovation because several competing chains in the U.S all claim to have invented the cheeseburger. Some people claim that is was Lionel Sternberger – a 16-year old fry cook who worked at his father’s restaurant in Pasadena, California called The Rite Spot – that decided to drop the first piece of American cheese on a hamburger. However, there are many people who dispute this claim and say that the cheeseburger was either invented in 1935 by Louis E. Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Boulder, Colorado. After all, he did own the trademark for it. However, he never enforced his trademark and it became a generic name that could be used by anyone.
Today, the cheeseburger is one of the most popular sandwiches in the United States. While it’s traditionally topped with American cheese and served with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, mustard and ketchup; there are now a variety of different ways to serve them nowadays. A popular addition to the cheeseburger in the United States is bacon – thereby creating the extra delicious bacon cheeseburger. The bacon cheeseburger was invented by Dale Mulder in his A&W Restaurant in 1963.
Extra Cheesy Cheeseburger Facts
- The largest cheeseburger weighed 2,014 pounds
- The largest cheeseburger was created by the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota
- The largest cheeseburger was topped with over 40 pounds of cheese and 16 pounds of bacon
- 71% of the beef served in the U.S is made into hamburgers and cheeseburgers
- The number one cheese served on cheeseburgers is cheddar cheese
- The number two cheese served on cheeseburgers is American cheese
- Blue cheese and Swiss are the third and fourth ranked cheeses served on cheeseburgers today
- PETA once offered Hamburg, NY $15,000 to change its name to Veggieburg.
Celebrating National Cheeseburger Day
The best way to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day is by enjoying one of these delicious sandwiches. You can serve traditional cheeseburgers; bacon Swiss cheeseburgers; or BBQ cheeseburgers. If you don’t want to prepare your own burgers, you can always check out one of the many burger joints that exist in the United States. And some of the burger restaurants give out free cheeseburgers on National Cheeseburger Day – something that any cheeseburger aficionado may want to check out.
Once you have found the burger of your dreams, you can share it with the rest of the world by taking a picture of it and posting it to social media using the hashtag #NationalCheeseburgerDay. After all, if no one saw you eat that epic cheeseburger, did it really happen? I think not!
It doesn’t matter if you want to compose a poem dedicated to the deliciousness of the cheeseburger; whether you want to have a cheeseburger-themed party or simply enjoy a hot cheesy cheeseburger with friends and family on this day. The only thing you need do to celebrate National Cheeseburger is to enjoy one of these iconic American sandwiches.