For those of you who love a delicious hamburger patty topped with a slice of cheese, there is a day dedicated to celebrating that love. National Cheeseburger Day happens every year on September 18th. Cheeseburger lovers from all across the world celebrate one of their favorite dishes, learning about cheeseburgers as they’re eating them.
1. Who Invented The Cheeseburger?
There’s no one single answer as to who invented the cheeseburger, as three different states claim that they are the birthplace of America’s first cheeseburger.
California claims that Lionel Sternberger is the man who invented the cheeseburger. He worked in his dad’s sandwich shop located in Pasadena. In 1928, he decided to drop a slice of cheese onto a hamburger patty, and that is how the cheeseburger came to be.
Kentucky claims they invented it in 1934 at Kaelin’s, a restaurant located in Louisville. Colorado also claims to have invented the cheeseburger in 1935 at a Denver restaurant called the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In.
Out of all three states, only Colorado has a trademark and a court order that was issued in 1944 backing up their claim of inventing the cheeseburger.
2. Why Are Cheeseburgers So Popular?
No matter where you eat, whether it’s a five-star restaurant, a little mom-and-pop diner, or a fast food joint, cheeseburgers are usually on the menu. People often wonder what makes them so popular, with so many places offering up a basic cheeseburger to an ultimate cheeseburger with all of the fixings.
One reason why cheeseburgers are so popular is because they’re cheap. This is proven every time when you go out to eat. When looking over the prices on the menu, the cost of a burger is typically half of what some other meals cost. Not only does it cost less, but it fills you up just as well as one of the more expensive menu options. Plus, they always come with a large pile of fries on the side. Well, not always large, but often. Fast food restaurants usually serve smaller portions of fries, like at McDonalds for example (if you’re interested, feel free to also read my McDonald’s faq).
Easy To Eat / Extra Toppings
Not only are cheeseburgers cheaper than most other entrees, but they’re also easier to eat. With a cheeseburger, you don’t have to cut the meat into small pieces or spend a ton of time chewing. Ground beef is far easier to chew than steak or pork. The burger is served on a bun, and all you have to do is lift it up to your mouth and take a bite. Even more exciting is that you can build on to a basic cheeseburger with a variety of toppings.
Familiar Taste / Smell
Perhaps the biggest reason why you see cheeseburgers on just about every restaurant menu is because of how familiar they are. Sometimes people just want that typical taste they love so much. They know they will enjoy that cheeseburger they’re used to. And truth be told, it doesn’t get more familiar than the charcoal-grilled taste of a cheeseburger. Just the smells alone from a cheeseburger bring back plenty of warm and happy childhood memories.
3. Why Are Cheeseburgers So Good?
There’s nothing quite as good as biting into a nice, juicy cheeseburger. But why does it taste so good? The reasons why a cheeseburger tastes so good can be related to the memories it brings back, the toppings you add to create a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece, or it could also be how easy they are to eat. These are all valid reasons why they taste so good. However, they don’t include the biggest reason, which is the ground beef.
The best burgers use ground beef that contains decent lean-to-fat ratios and plenty of marbling to give the meat juiciness. How you season the meat can enhance the flavor, but it’s how you cook it that’s important. A good burger is cooked on high heat and is never smashed down. Smashing the burger causes the juices to run out. Once cooked, use cheese to enhance the flavor even more.
Of course, it’s also a matter of personal taste and possible ingredients. That’s why some people prefer cheeseburgers at McDonald’s while others grab one at Jack in the Box.
4. Does A Cheeseburger Always Have Cheese?
Simply put, yes, a cheeseburger always has cheese. If there was no cheese included, this would no longer be considered a cheeseburger. It would be a hamburger. Although a cheeseburger must have cheese on it, there is no specific type of cheese that you must use.
Some people prefer a slice of American cheese, while others opt for more exotic cheese that enhances the meat with its flavors. Swiss, cheddar, sharp cheddar, provolone, blue cheese, and many others have successfully been added to cheeseburgers in America.
5. Is A Hamburger A Cheeseburger Without Cheese?
The hamburger, which is very much like the cheeseburger, has many claims about when and where it was invented. We do know the term hamburger traces back to Hamburg, Germany, during the late 18th century.
History suggests that on the Hamburg American Line, Hamburg steak was served between two slices of bread. The hamburger that gained national recognition in the United States was at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, where the New York Tribune recognized it.
No matter who we give credits for creating the first hamburger, it is a cheeseburger without the cheese. Many people will argue that it’s not, but it’s just a matter of how you look at it. Technically, the hamburger was invented before the cheeseburger, as somebody decided to drop a piece of cheese onto a hamburger to see how it would taste.
6. Do Cheeseburgers Have Lettuce?
Some cheeseburgers do have lettuce, and some do not. Whether lettuce is included with your cheeseburger depends on your personal preference. There’s no requirement when building a cheeseburger that lettuce has to be included. It’s just one of many toppings that allow people to customize their cheeseburgers to their liking.
7. Do Cheeseburgers Have Mustard?
Most places that serve cheeseburgers do include mustard as part of the condiments, along with ketchup. While most cheeseburgers do come with mustard, you can request no mustard on them. Always read the description of the cheeseburger you are ordering to see what condiments are included.
Some fast food chains simply have the option to add mustard to your burger, like at Sonic Drive-In for example. In my opinion that’s always a great way to avoid confusion. Sure, you need to specify which ingredients you prefer, but it lets you enjoy a personalized menu.
Personally I can really enjoy a cheeseburger once in a while. I don’t order them too often, but they’re one of the best “quick bites” I’m aware of (together with my most favorite Whopper like I described in my Burger King facts). They’re probably ones of the most popular fast food meals out there, right? I mean, sure, chicken nuggets or pizza slices from Pizza Hut are a treat as well, but a big juicy burger does the trick in most cases.
Knowing who invented the cheeseburger will probably not have an impact on it’s taste. However, I always enjoy a little history. Now that you know some of the basic (but relevant) questions, who knows it’ll add just that little piece of excitement whenever you order your next one. “Hey, did you know that a hamburger is a cheeseburger without the cheese?”…a fun way t get the conversation started whenever you’re visiting a fast food restaurant with friends.
Can’t get enough of cheeseburgers? Need a good recipe? Here’s one suggestion for the classic American cheeseburger. Furthermore, if you serve cheeseburgers at the comfort of your own home, scroll through my list of fast food decoration ideas.