Feb 25 2018

Mornington Peninsula Food & Wine Festival 2018

Mornington Peninsula Food & Wine Festival 2018

This is the inaugural festival for this team of event organisers, the event had been widely advertised in multiple media formats.



We had asked several times for additional information on the format of the event, without really getting an understanding of the days format.

Upon arrival we chose Uber, as this is a food and wine event. The venue is The Point Nepean National Park, this is a wow place. We chose to travel along the bay which despite the windy conditions was a great choice for the scenic outlook. This is a great way to also scope out other options for other adventures along the Peninsula.

Upon arriving we weaved our way through the park, which would be a place for a walk or ride on another day. The car parking was what you expect, as we are being dropped we were able to go do the gate and hope out. Our Uber driver “Moustache Mark” made the tip quite insightful with his local knowledge.

The gate and security were what we expected, and the electronic ticket worked well, although they had only 2 staff with mobiles to process tickets (good thing the weather may have kept a few away) upon entry we got a glass, but no real insight to what the format was? Upon asking they had a process for you to purchase tokens to buy wares.

The layout was the typical square with all traders around the outer sides and a stage at one end. We had started the day off in shorts and light shirts, but Victorian weather had something else instore, but as locals we enjoyed the challenge. Our first stop was of course desert, Turkish delight to be exact. And wow this did not fail to please, the varieties of types are astounding (12 in all) the general theme is ones with nuts (pistachios) and ones without. I enjoyed all and ended up with a box containing the 4 with nuts.

Next, we found a lovely Russian vendor from the Preston Market who had Russian doughnuts with Apple filling, Cheese filling and Minced beef filling. Of course, we sampled all and they did not disappoint, so much that I forgot to take a picture. The beef came with a sour cream sauce and a sprig of dill. The beef lacked nothing, the sweet dough with the savoury well-seasoned beef was gorgeous, the addition of the cream sauce and dill matched well. This was a winner to start.

Next stop the main ridge team and their strawberries, packed with flavour and very clever chocolate coated freeze-dried berries (the Dark chocolate was my stand out), next they had macaroons beautifully presented with freeze dried strawberries sprinkled and encapsulated in the biscuit.

 They also did a twist on the glazed doughnut whit milk chocolate glaze with freeze-dried strawberries and sprinkle, next we had to try the white chocolate with raspberries freeze-dried and sprinkled OMG.


We really need to look at more than the deserts but really chocolate and strawberries are hard to resist.

We decided to recon the rest and sample a wine or so on the walk as the wind increased and the threat of rain kept up. We meandered around the paddock and noticed that there had been an idea to set up 100 plus tables across the paddock, but there was not a great deal of shelter options. For their first festival there are a few mistakes made, especially when the weather was forecasted to change from hot and windy to cold and windy (with likelihood of rain). Although we came for the food and wine there needs to be somewhere to site and enjoy the fare, or at least find respite from the weather?

But back to the food we go, and there was a reasonable variety, mainly food van style but most done well. Saw the scorched sticks, marinated lamb stick over a coal fire grill, Seafood Paella, Calzone and fish & chips are just a few to try.


Had some Gyoza Japanese half moon-shaped pork dumplings which had a wonderful fresh flavour, next okonomiyaki or Japanese pancake, they are served here almost as a flat style pancake, with the usual accompanying sauce as you expect but lacking the love that many would bring to a thick and flavoursome morsel.

Next up the Seafood Paella, well I went back 3 times as the Paella was not ready even at almost 2pm (the event opened at 11am) this was noticed with several of the vendors as well.  I had high hopes for the seafood Paella, the colours and aroma where spot on, the server generous and the seafood looked bountiful. But the rice was still crunchy in the middle the seafood in particular the fish and calamari beautifully completed soft and holding their flavour, but the mussels and prawns did not fare well. The prawns unfortunately where chalky to the mouth, likely overcooked or frozen and the mussels just to far and too few.

As for the wines and beers, well this was a mix of local and not so local vendors. Came as a bit of a surprise that we had Bellarine Peninsula and as far as Avoca presenting their fare for us to try was a little disappointing when you consider this is a Mornington Peninsula showcase and there seemed to be less representation that one would expect.

The Blue Pyrenees Estate did not fail their wines are well known to us and we enjoyed the sparkling Chardonnays and the Pinot. As I moved along I find the team from the Bass & Flinders Distillery with their wonderful array of Gin’s. This is a good timing for this team with the resurgence of Gin as a drink of choice for many.

And they offered a stating paddle of 3, which is hard to stop at. I initially thought the Gin 10, the Monsoon Gin and the Cheery Infused Cerise Gin looked the way to start. What a start, the Cherry infused was like an old friend sweet and too easy to consume, the Monsoon was refreshing and yet exotic the eastern twist of lemongrass and ginger with the lime garnish was well balanced. But the real winner is the Gin 10, and wow this gin carries a cardamom and citrus (orange) peppery finish. Tasting in its raw state over ice was refreshing, with tonic I fear I could easily complete a bottle. This is a real warm weather drink so refreshing but not at all bland, my companions also agreed that this was the outstanding Gin of the bunch we tried. Next stop for us will be a Gin Master-Class with the Bass team, perhaps a Munchbrother Signature Gin will be the result?


The Rosebud winery team had a wonderful Pinot, with that velvet finish, very quaffable anytime.

Did not get into the bears this time but there where at least 3 brewers to choose from.

Much like many markets there are local artisan breads, spreads and herbs to looks at. Additionally, the barrel timber platters, which looked great Pinot barrel sides made into cheese or serving platters and the top and bottom of the barrel into a lazy-Suzanne. There also strangely are candles and local pottery.


Only a single coffee stop amongst the vendors which was reasonable, not consistent unfortunately.

I managed to finish the day with some of the lamb sticks that where wonderfully seasoned and so well marinated and tender.


Next before we left I spoke with the Italian boys who had the wonderful Nutella Gnocchi served in waffle cone finished with Persian fairy floss. The boys modified a recipe from their home in Italy where a restaurant had served deep fried gnocchi with multiple caramel, chocolate and other sweet sauces. The boy’s interpretation was well suited to this type of event, food that can easily be eaten in one hand, the deep-fried gnocchi has a crispy shell with a fluffy pillow filling. The coating of Nutella is decadent, and the toping of the fairy floss a bit of fun.

This was a great way to finish the day, I however would hope the organisers learn from this event and come back next year with more local producers, more food and perhaps a lot more samples. The idea of buying tokens was really not a winner as quite a few of the food vendors did not accept them. I know the organisers made 30% off the tokens (as I asked) and that most accepted EFTPOS for payments.


This has the potential to become something wonderful for the Mornington Peninsula, a few more shade options, really live music was not necessary the times the CD was playing was just as good (so save yourself some costs and spend more on the amenities. All I all this could have been a food-truck event, many of the producers with wines mentioned they did not bring their premier product as they did not know how this would go. We have spent many trips to the Mornington Peninsula vineyards and restaurants over the years, many of the stalwarts are not being represented here, nor are some of the favourites.


All in all, we look forward to next year but please provide more information on the website, get more providers encouraged to attend, and think about the attendees they need to be comfortable as well.



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Sep 18 2014

Cashew nut nutrition facts

Cashew nut nutrition facts

Delicately sweet yet crunchy and delicious cashew nut is packed with antioxidants, energy, minerals and vitamins with many of the usual letters. Cashew is one of the popular ingredients in sweet as well savoury dishes worldwide as well as just a handy snack.

otanically, cashew is an average size tropical evergreen tree belonging in the Anacardiaceae family, in the genus: Anacardium. Scientific name: Anacardium occidentale.

The cashew tree is native to Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. It spread all over the world by Portuguese explorers and today, it is cultivated commercially in Australia, Brazil, Vietnam, India and in many countries.

Cashew tree bears numerous, edible, pear shaped false fruits or “accessory fruits’” called “cashew apples.” Cashew nut which actually is a “true-fruit”, firmly attaching to bottom end of cashew-apple, appearing like a clapper in the bell. Botanically, this tiny, bean shaped, grey “true fruit” is a drupe, featuring hard outer shell enclosing a single edible kernel known commercially as “cashew nut.”

Its exterior shell composes a phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a potent caustic skin irritant toxin. In the processing units, this outer shell is roasted in order to destroy urushiol resin, and only then its edible cashew kernel is extracted.

Cashew nut measures about an inch in length, 1/2 inches in diameter, and kidney or bean shape, with smooth curvy pointed tip. Each nut splits into two equal halves as in legumes. Cashews feature cream white colour with the firm yet delicate texture and smooth surface.

Health benefits of Cashew nuts

  • Cashews are high in calories. 100 g of nuts provide 553 calories. They are packed with soluble dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect us from diseases and cancers.
  • They are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids. These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favouring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Cashew nuts are abundant source of essential minerals. Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in these nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and may help prevent deficiency diseases. Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxidases, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor for many enzymes that regulate growth and development, gonadal function, digestion, and DNA (nucleic acid) synthesis.
  • Cashews are also good in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamine (vitamin B-1). 100 g nuts provide 0.147 mg or 32% of daily-recommended levels of pyridoxine. Pyridoxine reduces the risk of homocystinuria, and sideroblastic anaemia. Niacin helps prevent “pellagra” or dermatitis. Additionally, these vitamins are essential for metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at the cellular level.
  • Further, the nuts are also carry a small amount of zea-xanthin, an important pigment flavonoid antioxidant, which selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes. It is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV ray filtering functions and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the elderly.




Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy 553 Kcal 28%
Carbohydrates 30.19 g 23%
Protein 18.22 g 32.5%
Total Fat 43.85 g 146%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g 8.5%
Folates 25 µg 6%
Niacin 1.062 mg 6.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.864 mg 17%
Pyridoxine 0.417 mg 32%
Riboflavin 0.058 mg 4.5%
Thiamin 0.423 mg 35%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 0.5 mg 1%
Vitamin E 5.31 mg 35%
Vitamin K 4.1 µg 3%
Sodium 12 mg 1%
Potassium 660 mg 14%
Calcium 37 mg 4%
Copper 2.195 mg 244%
Iron 6.68 mg 83.5%
Magnesium 292 mg 73%
Manganese 1.655 mg 72%
Phosphorus 593 mg 85%
Selenium 19.9 µg 36%
Zinc 5.78 mg 52.5%
Carotene-? 0 µg
Crypto-xanthin-? 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 22 µg

 Selection and storage

Cashew nuts are available in the market year round as they can be sourced and stored from numerous countries. In the stores, only shelled cashew kernels are sold since the shell contains phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a potent skin irritant toxin.

In the stores, one may come across raw, salted, sweetened or candied cashews. Buy shelled nuts that feature bright cream-white, compact, uniform in size and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mould, and spots and free of rancid smell.

At home, store cashew kernels inside an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator in order to avoid them turn rancid. Under ideal conditions, fresh nuts should last for 5-6 months.

Culinary uses

Cashews have crunchy, buttery texture with a pleasant sweet fruity aroma.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Cashews can be enjoyed as a snack as they are, salted or sweetened.
  • Cashews are nutty yet pleasantly sweet in taste. They are relished as a garnish in various kinds of sweets and desserts.
  • Cashews, along with almonds and other dry fruits, are being used in savoury rice dishes hyderbadi-biriyani, rice-pulao…etc, and in curry (kaaju-shahi-paneer) preparations in Indian, Persian, Pakistani, and Middle-Eastern regions.
  • Split or crushed cashew along with almonds, pistachio is often sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes, and other confectionary to enhance the flavour.
  • The nuts are widely used in confectionery, as an addition to biscuits, sweets and cakes.
  • “Cashew apples” are among popular fruits; eaten on their own in many regions around the world. They are also being used to prepare healthy drinks.

 Safety profile

Cashew nut allergy is a common hypersensitivity condition in some individuals, especially in the children. The reaction symptoms may range from simple skin itching (hives) to severe form of anaphylactic manifestations, including breathing difficulty, pain abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

The allergic manifestations are due to chemical compound anacardic acid (urushiol) that is present in cashew apples, shells, and nuts. Cross-reactions may also occur with some other nuts and fruits of Anacardiaceae family such as mango, pistachio, etc.

Individuals with known allergic reactions to cashew nut and fruit may observe caution while eating them.

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Jul 10 2014

Confection Section: Taffy Duck (Preview)

If you live in the Southeast Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware area, summer isn’t summer without a trip to Atlantic City and a box of salt water taffies from a boardwalk candy or souvenir shop. Of course, if you hate the sand between your toes and all the pain that comes with organizing a beach trip or don’t live in or near a coastal state, you can order some salt water taffies from an online bulk candy company and enjoy your balmy, sunny days lounging in a cheap beach chair or an inflatable kiddie pool in nothing but your swim trunks/a cheap, ill-fitting Speedo/thong bikini bottom and a flimsy, brightly-colored T-shirt with a risqué slogan (“F.B.I.: Federal Bikini/Booby/Booty Inspector” or one where it has an arrow pointing down and some lewd command for women to perform oral sex on whoever’s wearing the shirt), a parody of a TV show/cult classic movie/Internet meme (those “Keep Calm and…” shirts or a spoof of Breaking Bad), or the last place you went on vacation (usually Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; New York City, New York; or Williamsburg, Virginia), but it’s just not the same. On top of that, you will get neighbor complaints over public indecency and/or bring down property values, like on the season four Simpsons episode “New Kid on the Block,” when an interracial couple goes to buy a new house next to The Simpsons, but turn it down after seeing Homer naked in a kiddie pool, fishing out a half-eaten hot dog and passing out from drinking Duff.

Salt water taffies, much like the Philly cheesesteak and the Coney Island hot dog, has long been associated with East Coast food – in this case, salt water taffy has been associated with Atlantic City, New Jersey. The confection got its salty taste from a flood that soaked candy store owner, David Bradley’s, supply of regular taffy (Fun fact: the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest out of the four major oceans in the world, but the Red Sea in the Indian Ocean has the saltiest sea water in the world, courtesy of the Dead Sea, which is so brackish, you can easily float in it – unless you’re so fat or inexperienced at swimming that you can sink right through, like Selma Bouvier on The Simpsons episode where Moe steals Homer’s idea for a fiery cocktail and Aerosmith becomes the first band to guest star on the show as themselves).

You’d think a disaster like this would ruin Mr. Bradley’s livelihood, but you would be wrong. When a young girl came into his shop and asked if he had any taffy for sale, he said he had “salt water taffy” instead. The girl didn’t understand the sarcasm behind it. She thought it was a new confection he created. David Bradley’s mother was in the back and overheard the conversation. She loved the moniker for Bradley’s ocean-soaked treats and, thus, a beachside sweet that’s not tanned and in a sexy swimsuit was born.

Though a flood accidentally created this candy and David Bradley sold it, it was Joseph Fralinger who popularized the salt water taffy as a souvenir for tourists and Enoch James refined the recipe, making it easier to unwrap (though I’ve unwrapped salt water taffy and there are times where it still sticks to the paper – or, the paper becomes part of the taffy and I get an untentional dose of fiber), cut the candy into bite-sized pieces, and is credited with mechanizing the process of taffy-pulling.

Salt water taffy is still sold widely on the boardwalks in Atlantic City, including shops in existence since the 1800s, like Fralinger’s and James’ and the Atlantic Maritime provinces in Canada (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick), but has found its way to places like Salt Lake City, Utah and even the West Coast (the picture of the salt water taffy in barrels is from a candy store at a popular San Francisco tourist spot, Pier 39. I’ve been there a few times during my stay in San Francisco, and I have been at that exact candy store – along with a pizzeria that had the best S.O.S [spinach-onion-sausage] pizza and got me into watching and rooting for college basketball) and comes in an array of flavors, from blue raspberry and banana to guava and maple.

The appeal of salt water taffy is that the taste reminds you a lot of strolling the boardwalk on a July afternoon, taking in the ocean air, the energy of people of all ages enjoying a day out, the seagulls recreating the climax from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds as people foolishly throw French fries and other foods on the boardwalk floor…ah, memories. Yours may vary.

Taffy-pulling is one of those activities that many will tell you is a “lost art” in the sense that it used to be done by human hands – both for business and as Saturday night family fun – but now has been handed over to machines for efficiency reasons, but most candy shops that specialize in “from scratch” confections (particularly the boardwalk candy shops and any shop owned and operated by Amish farmers and their wives at the Reading Terminal Market in Center City) are keeping taffy-pulling alive, and you can too, if you want to create your own candy. Go to a place like Sur La Table or those craft stores like Michaels’ and you’ll see a lot of candy-making tools and molds, meaning that, yes, making homemade candy isn’t just for Grandma’s Sunday church socials or the Amish anymore.

And this is where I stop. For a full version of this blog entry go to my blog “Take Back the Kitchen” at this link: http://phillyfoodie85.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/confection-section-salt-water-taffy/

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Jul 05 2014

From Minced Meat to McDonalds — The History of the Hamburger

The Fourth of July is upon us – and even though the day is almost over where I am, the barbecues, fireworks, beach trips, and summer fun is still abuzz because Independence Day is on a Friday this year and people are taking advantage of it by extending it to cover the entire weekend. Not that I mind. Celebrating a holiday or a birthday from Friday to Sunday is a lot more fun than celebrating it during the weekday – especially if you have obligations during the week (work, school, or family).

Last year, my Independence Day blog post was about the history of the barbecue and how America has four types of barbecues: Carolina (North and South), Memphis (Tennessee), Kansas City (Missouri), and Texas. This year, I thought I might touch on hamburgers: their origins, how America popularized them, and whether or not the burger is still relevant in a world where people are watching their waistlines and opting for healthier alternatives.


What can be said about the hamburger that hasn’t been said in other food blogs, food magazines, cookbooks, and fast food advertisement? It’s been touted as the perfect food: ground beef (or turkey, or chicken, or chickpeas and black beans, if you want to go vegetarian), seasoned to your liking, mixed with egg, formed into a patty, fried on a griddle or put on a grill (ideally, a propane one, if you’re like Hank Hill), but will settle for being pan-fried or put on a charcoal grill, and either served as is or topped anything from ketchup, cheese, mustard, pickles, relish, bacon, and/or onions (raw or fried) to grilled fruits (usually pineapple), fried eggs, or any kind of fruit-flavored chutney.

But the hamburger is more than just a sandwich; it’s an American culinary icon, much like fried chicken (yes, fried chicken. The old stereotype of African Americans loving it confuses me as white people love fried chicken just as much) and apple pie. In fact, the hamburger is a lot like American history/society: filled with conflicting stories on its origins, can be very cheesy and disgusting to non-American sensibilities (yet most people do want a taste of it just to see if it’s everything they dreamed it would be), known and praised/disparaged all over the world, and associated with wanting everything done fast rather than done right.


In the 12th century, the nomadic Mongols, led by Genghis Khan (1167–1227), carried food made up of several varieties of milk and meat (horse or camel) shaped into patties during their journeys. This was to not only extend their supply of meat, but also as a quick way to eat as they were laying waste to and conquering what is now Central Asia (Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, specifically). In the height of the Mongol Empire, it was common to see Mongol warriors following herds or flocks of horses, sheep, or oxen and killing them for food. The explorer Marco Polo recorded these sightings, even pointing out that a single pony could feed 100 Mongol invaders.

Now there’s an idea for the final episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic…

This recipe for the minced meat patty was passed on the Muscovites when Genghis’ grandson, Kublai Khan, invaded Russia after the Mongol Empire fell in the 1240s. In Moscow, the patty was known as steak tartare (yet the recipe for it was never recorded and, to this day, no one knows when the recipe was first recorded for restaurant use). In the city-states that would later be known as Germany, this ground meat product was refined by adding capers, onions and even caviar to the blend and was sold on the streets.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “This is the part where the ground meat patty gets called a hamburger because it was created in what would later be the German city of Hamburg.”

Well, yes and no. It wasn’t called the “hamburger” right away. It was called the Hamburgh (that’s how the city name was spelled at the time) Sausage. Besides, the sandwich (and the use of bread slices between a meat filling) wouldn’t be known until the 18th century, thanks to English aristocrat John Montagu (better known as The Earl of Sandwich), who came up with a new way to eat so his fingers wouldn’t get dirty while playing card games. There was an episode of the early 2000s Cartoon Network show, Time Squad, that parodied how The Earl of Sandwich came up with this culinary sensation. I uploaded the episode and the storyboards for it for anyone who wants to see it.

Fast forward to the 19th century, which sees Hamburg, Germany as the largest trans-Atlantic hub for freight and shipping. The Hamburg steak, an early ancestor of the hamburger and known at that time as either “Hamburg-style American fillet” or “beefsteak à Hambourgeoise,” is being served to attract German sailors. It was brought back to New York City and became popular on the menus of many restaurants in this U.S. port. This kind of fillet was beef minced by hand, lightly salted and often smoked, and usually served raw in a dish along with onions and bread crumbs.

Now this isn’t the hamburger as we know it yet. It’s actually Salisbury steak, named after American physician and food faddist, Dr. James Salisbury (1823-1905), served with brown gravy, and is a common sight in many an unappetizing frozen TV dinner or mediocre school cafeteria menu. However, it does go great with buttered noodles and your choice of green bean casserole or vegetable medley.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of conflicting stories about how the hamburger came to be. Did the Hamburg America Line in Germany send it over to America? Was it a spontaneous invention by an American? If so, who invented it/made it popular first? Fletcher Davis? The Menches Brothers? Charlie Nagreen? Oscar Bilby? Or Louis Lassen? No one knows for sure, but these facts are certain:

1) The hamburg steak/Salisbury steak’s popularity in America is what led to the popularity of the hamburger,

2) The hamburger is very much a late 19th century-into-the 20th century invention, so the hamburger (and all the other types of burgers derived from it) is fairly new

3) all claims made by the potential inventors of the hamburger occurred between 1885 and 1904, focusing all attention of its creation onto these two decades.

The Hamburger Restaurant

Contemporary American society at the dawn of the 20th century witnessed the creation of new fast food originating from traditional foods from various ethnic groups, such as China’s chop suey (and other take-out favorites that originally were supposed to be for other Chinese immigrants who moved to America, but became popular among those who weren’t Chinese, but were American), pizza from Italy (though that would not gain popularity until after World War II), and hot dogs (invented by German immigrant Charles Feltman, who sold frankfurters on sliced bread at Coney Island).

The dawn of the 20th century also witnessed the need to provide food for people living in highly productive urban centers with high population densities. Food also had to be economically affordable for the working class so they can maintain their labor and industrial production. The hamburger and its derivatives were born in a time when people didn’t have the time or energy to make anything to eat and would rather eat “fast” and “cheap,” a decision that has stuck with the American way of life to this day.

Though there have been plenty of arguments and claims to the contrary, Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut has been credited by The Library of Congress as the very first burger joint. Lassen may have made the hamburger popular in 1895, but it wouldn’t be until 1916 when the hamburger patty (actually, a Salisbury steak patty, thanks to anti-German sentiment during and after World War I) would be served on a bun. For that, you can thank Walter Anderson, who, five years after he invented the burger bun, co-founded one of the earliest hamburger restaurants in America: White Castle. You can also thank White Castle for selling their hamburgers in grocery stores and vending machines, creating the industrial-strength spatula, mass-producing the humiliating paper hat associated with the embarrassing task of working fast-food service, and for birthing the concept of a “greasy spoon restaurant,” in which hygiene suffered in exchange for more inexpensive food (though that’s more the fault of wanting things done fast instead of right).

Like anything remotely successful, White Castle bred a lot of imitators and attempts at capturing the restaurant’s success, with little to no success. One of the most obvious was White Tower Hamburgers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whose owners got into many a legal battle with White Castle over copyright infringement.

1937 saw Patrick McDonald and his two sons Richard and Maurice inaugurating a restaurant called “Airdrome” on Route 66 near the airport in Monrovia, California. Three years later in San Bernardino, Papa McDonald and his sons would go on to create the insanely popular restaurant people in America and the world over: McDonalds. The menu initially featured 25 different dishes, the majority of which were barbecued, but 80% of the restaurant’s revenue was made from selling hamburgers. It wouldn’t be until after World War II (due to beef shortages, though that didn’t slow down White Castle) that McDonalds’ popularity would soar, introducing the concept of fast food to the West Coast, working to improve on all of the things White Castle and other restaurants were doing to ensure the fastest service possible, and inventing the concept of “drive thru” ordering. By the 1950s, the concept of drive-in style service had become firmly established and hamburgers and cars had become closely connected in the minds of many Americans, particularly among the teenagers at that time, if pop culture and pointless nostalgia of the era has taught me anything.

As private outdoor social events, often held in backyards and featuring a barbecue, became more widespread during the mid-1950s, the hamburger gained a new culinary and social relevance in America. It became that national symbol that separated the United States from those godless Reds who waited with baited breath to invade the country. It seems silly, but for anyone who still has relatives who lived during that era, it was a reality. You know the hamburger was a popular American symbol during the Cold War when one of the battles in the Vietnam War is named The Battle of Hamburger Hill, because of how the Viet Cong and American soldiers alike were reduced to bloody meat. War is hell, kids.

There was also another war being waged during The Cold War (mostly during the 1960s and 1970s), and that was “The Burger War,” in which McDonalds fought with Burger King and Wendy’s over who had the better hamburger. No lives were lost nor soldiers injured (unless you count the many who have had heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes from all that burger-noshing), but it did cause the prices of their burgers increased, and the days when a hamburger could be bought for just a few cents (a nickel at most) were a thing of the past.

Where Are We Now?

Now, we’re in the era of everyone watching their waistlines and cutting down on the junk so they can live longer to complain about how life isn’t what it used to be. The hamburger, while still being celebrated with haute cuisine makeovers and being positively to neutrally portrayed on such TV shows and movies as Good Burger, SpongeBob SquarePants (with the titular character working at The Krabby Patty), American Eats, Man vs. Food, and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, has also come under fire for lack of nutritional value and being one of a myriad of causes in the obesity epidemic. There are also environmentalists and animal rights activists protesting on how the big-chain restaurants are killing people with mediocre meat and slashing rainforests for more cattle-raising room.

“All this for a meat patty between two pieces of bread?” you ask. “All of this protesting and change and competition. It’s silly.” To that I say, “Yeah, it’s silly, but when you really think about it, it’s American.”

Thanks, and happy eating.

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Jan 12 2013

Cruising the South Pacific with Royal Carrabean

Published by under Cruise Ship


So you have holidayed many places and the food was well less acceptable and expensive, but you still payed. How about a holiday where all the food is included, and the drinks are free or very reasonable. A cruise is the first thing you should think about, we decided on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines.
It all starts the minute you board, a drink, some food and you are treated like royalty. The ship is large and looks more like a five star hotel than a ship, you look to explore the area and find yourself in awe of the size of the place.
Then it’s dinner time and the choices are plenty with a new menus every night.


Every morning there’s a choice of four different restaurants for breakfast, and hat a choice.

More to come…..

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Sep 12 2012

Tomorrow is RUOK day, take the…

Published by under Reviews

Tomorrow is RUOK day, take the time to talk to a friend over a coffee, tea or it may be all they need. http://t.co/QHUekZ3P

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Aug 07 2012

Just had the nicest yo yo bisc…

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Just had the nicest yo yo biscuit. http://t.co/A23FBhsu

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May 13 2012

Is Masterchef serious? Home co…

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Is Masterchef serious? Home cook or apprentice?

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Dec 04 2011

The start of our wonderful pae…

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The start of our wonderful paella lunch @ Drouin http://t.co/5NroYsb6

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Dec 04 2011

Brandy Creek Winery – Paella l…

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Brandy Creek Winery – Paella lunch @ Drouin http://t.co/HmDAYOOU

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