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My Burger, Right or Wrong

September 02, 1993|MARION CUNNINGHAM

People will eat any variation on a tuna sandwich, but a hamburger is as personal as politics.

Julia Child mixes her hamburger meat with an egg, grated onion, a little thyme, salt and pepper--and it goes into a toasted bun.

A cooking friend of mine says he likes his hamburger crisp and soft. He fries the patty quickly so the outside is crisp and all but burnt and the inside is almost raw. He puts this between a toasted English muffin, then puts the hamburger on a plate surrounded with a plop of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. He dunks his sandwich into these condiments and sings the praises of his perfect burger.

I like my hamburger moist, cooked medium-rare, on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet relish, mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup. I insist this is the true all-American hamburger, but it probably isn't.

I don't know what this hamburger hang-up is all about, but I can hardly be civil to anyone who eats a hamburger with avocado and salsa on it. Without expensive therapy I will probably never solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, much of today's ground beef is so fat-free that it is very hard to have a moist, juicy hamburger patty. I have tested several simple ways of making ground beef moist. I divided several pounds of ground chuck into 1/4-pound patties. To each patty I added one tablespoon of different moisteners--water, milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk. I even tried adding one tablespoon of ketchup. They all worked to make a moist, juicy patty, but my favorite was the milk or cream. This small addition does wonders for the cooked texture. Try it--but don't add salsa and avocado.

HAMBURGER PATTIES 1 pound ground beef 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (not instant) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4 cup milk or half and half 1 tablespoon shortening

Place beef, oatmeal, salt, pepper and milk in mixing bowl and blend well.

Divide beef mixture into 4 parts and lightly pat each into 1 patty about 3 inches around.

In skillet over medium-high heat, melt shortening. Swirl skillet so shortening covers bottom. Fry patties in skillet, about 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or to desired doneness. Makes 4 patties.

Each serving contains about: 375 calories; 676 mg sodium; 88 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 0.11 grams fiber.


Walnut Wonder Bars are very good with a hamburger supper. Serve a square on a plate with vanilla ice cream. This recipe makes a large amount and freezes well.

WALNUT WONDER BARS 1/2 cup softened butter Light-brown sugar 3 eggs Flour Salt Vanilla 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts 3/4 teaspoon baking powder Sugar Icing

Put butter and 1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed, into mixing bowl and beat until smooth and blended. Stir in 1 egg and mix well. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well. Pat dough evenly over bottom of 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes. While bottom crust is baking prepare filling.

Put remaining 2 eggs in mixing bowl and lightly beat until yolk and white are combined. Stir in 1 1/4 cups light-brown sugar. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons flour, walnuts, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Spread over bottom crust. Bake about 25 minutes or until done. Ice while hot. Cut into squares when cool. Makes 24 bars.

Each serving contains about: 180 calories; 137 mg sodium; 37 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 23 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.36 grams fiber.

Sugar Icing 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water

In bowl combine sugar and water. When mixture is spreading consistency, ice bars.

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