John T. Edge's new book, "Hamburgers and Fries" is an earnest and breezy look at America's signature food. Who would know how diverse a nation we are when it comes to the concoction of the simple burger. Edge tells us all about it.
After a brief history of the hamburger, the author sets off in search of some of the tastiest and unusual burgers that can be found. From places as diverse as Mississippi and Connecticut, Edge discovers the local fare and is good enough to include the recipes in his book. (I'm from Connecticut and have never heard of a steamed cheeseburger.....I'll have to try one!)
Edge describes areas of the United States as having burger "microclimates". In San Antonio, for instance, it is not unheard of to have a burger that melds refried beans, Cheez Wiz and Fritos corn chips...the chips being found just under the bun. I suppose one hasn't lived until he or she has tried the Hawaiian "loco moco", though when in Hilo I think I might opt for the "local burger". But peanut butter on a hamburger?? In Cleveland and Missouri it happens. Taste is more individual than I thought.
I was disappointed that, despite its title, "Hamburgers and Fries" leaves the fries part mostly untouched. A scant fifteen pages is given over to the usual hamburger accompaniment. The book's lack of direction leaves a little to be desired as well. Still, Edge is one happy camper when it comes to burgers and I could see him hosting one of those half-hour food shows on tv someday.