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Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story
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Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story [Large Print] [Hardcover]

John T. Edge
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 6, 2005
Includes fifteen mouthwatering recipes

With Fried Chicken and Apple Pie, John T. Edge launched a series that celebrates American culture through the lore of our favorite foods. Now, Edge continues his quest to discover the very essence of America through the dishes we love and cherish. Across the nation, from backyard barbecues to Big Macs, Edge follows the evolution of the burger from frugal repast to deluxe treat, but always with a celebration of American brawn and freedom.

Available only in Nonfiction 4.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the recent upwelling of carb-consciousness and fast-food condemnation, seasoned food writer Edge proclaims that America is on the verge of "a burger renaissance." In his latest tribute to American food favorites, Edge (Fried Chicken; Apple Pie) traces the history of the burger from its Mongolian origins to its current status as a symbol of American culture. Edge's book takes him across the nation, from Connecticut to Hawaii, visiting famous burger joints and diners in search of testaments to the dish's iconic status. Along the way, he discovers numerous variations, including the "Jucy Lucy," a Minneapolis burger stuffed with cheese and topped with grilled onions, and the Cuban "fritas" from Miami, which features a paprika-spiced patty topped with crispy potato slivers. Edge's savory descriptions of these "three-napkin juicy" burgers make even strange creations like the San Antonio bean burger-which is layered with refried beans, corn chips and Cheez Whiz-sound tasty. For readers eager to try some of these concoctions, Edge has included recipes as well as his "Black Book of Burgers," a directory of the burger joints he visited. An entertaining account of America's best burgers and of the people who serve them, Edge's book reveals the many tantalizing facets of this comfort food.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"It's history you can eat."
-- The New York Times (New York Times )

Product details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078627929X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786279296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hold the fries! September 8, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars July 30, 2016
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not as interesting as hoped but still a good read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glitches in Kindle edition! February 9, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable, quick read.
There are glitches in the Kindle edition! The first letters in the first sentences of most sections are missing!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories and Shaky History May 19, 2016
Format:Kindle Edition
"Hamburgers and Fries" is a good book if you want to read about various interpretations of the hamburger in the form of a series of road trips around the US. Edge does this very well and provides great inspiration for those who cook or just like to eat.

However, this book is not a good choice as a source for historical fact about the history of the hamburger. For example, Edge references the fake 1830's Delmonico's menu that supposedly advertised hamburger steak (Delmonico's was never located on Pearl Street, the font used didn't exist until the 1830's, and a high-end restaurant that always specialized in French cuisine would never have offered four cent pork and beans). He fails to notice that Hamburg steak was always pounded rather than chopped until the late 1880's. Mechanical meat grinders did not become common until the 1890's. Suggesting that Hanna Glasse's 1747 recipe for Hamburg sausage has anything to do with the lineage of the hamburger is absurd.

I don't get the impression that Edge particularly wanted to write about the history of the burger so much as his own experiences of it. Having written a book of my own about food and road trips, I sympathetically imagine a distant editor insisting that the author include chapters on early hamburger history that were never part of the vision for the book.

Don't use this book as a source of historical fact, but do use it as a source of inspiration and entertainment.
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