Hamburgers and Fries: An American Story
John T. Edge. G. P. Putnam's Sons, $19.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15274-0
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.
Reviewed on: 07/04/2005