Posted Friday, May 28th, 2021 by Barry

Four Color (1939) 17

As American as apple pie and mom, hamburgers are a staple of our cuisine. Today we bring the seasoned ground beef patty served up between buns and topped with your condiments, dairy products and veggies of choice to the forefront with National Hamburger Day.

In America alone, over 50 billion burgers are devoured each year; enough to circle the Earth more than 32 times. The average American eats three hamburgers a week.

Not too shabby considering the sandwich wasn’t popularized until 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Representing the day is Wimpy of Popeye fame.

Four Color (1939) 17

The beachball-shaped guest star first appeared in the classic comic strip Thimble Theater and in Popeye cartoons. His debut in comic book form was in Dell’s Four Color comic book series sporting reprints from Thimble Theater.

His catchphrase, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” originated in 1932 having been refined from 1931’s, “Cook me up a hamburger. I will pay you Tuesday.”

Wimpy’s hamburger-chomping character was inspired by a manager of the Chester Opera House and friend of creator of E.C. Segar. His full name is J. Wellington Wimpy.

Hamburgers are his favorite food. Wimpy is almost always featured munching or making a burger. Normally the ne’er do well is too cheap to pay for his food himself.

So associated with hamburgers is the character, his name was used for a fast food franchise featuring his fare of choice. The burger stand bearing his name was founded in Bloomington, IN, in the 1930s.

The origins of the hamburger aren’t as well known. It is believed the sandwich originated in the 19th or 20th centuries. Some believe it has existed at least since the end of the Middle Ages.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Association contend the hamburger was first crafted by Fletcher Davis in his café in Athens, TX.

Another theory is it originated in New Haven, CT, in 1895.

Whatever and wherever their origins, the hamburger is to be celebrated as part of our American menu. Use the day to do honor to the portable, meaty meal that brings a smile to our faces.

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