OT: "Hamburger" bill passed by Texas House
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Mar 24 03:30:10 UTC 2007
It's official now. The "hamburger" comes from Athens, Texas--and "french
fries" come from Paris, Texas. It's well documented in the New York Tribune artic
le that doesn't exist!
I'm thinking of writing an opinion or long letter to the editor about all
this (Austin American-Statesman? San Antonio Express-News?), but wonder if
anyone at all will publish the truth.
Looking back, I think it was really silly of me to write to the committee
chairman and say that I'm an expert on this issue and I'd like to testify on it.
Of course he wouldn't respond. What was I thinking?
(wondering why anyone needs facts when you have politicians)
Published: March 22, 2007 11:50 pm
Burger controversy? It’s well done
Texas House members vote to name Athens ‘Official Home of the Hamburger’
By Jayson Larson
The good folks in the Texas House of Representatives have spoken: Athens is
the official “Original Home of the Hamburger.”
Is there need for any more debate? Well, folks in New Haven, Conn., and
Seymour, Wisc., may have something to say about it, but within the confines of
the Lone Star State, the debate ended Thursday when the Texas House of
Representatives designated Athens the “Original Home of the Hamburger.”
“The connection between Athens, Fletcher Davis and the famed hamburger of
the St. Louis World’s Fair has been well documented,” states the resolution,
filed by State Rep. Betty Brown, “and it is fitting that the town’s role in
the history of that all-American sandwich be appropriately recognized.”
“I am very pleased that my colleagues supported this effort to give added
and well-deserved distinction to Athens,” Brown said in a statement released by
her office after the vote on the House floor.
The resolution explains the history of how Athens came to claim itself as
birthplace of the burger:
“Although accounts differ as to the origins of this American classic, the
staff at McDonald’s management training center has traced its beginnings back
to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, where it was sold by a vendor on the
midway; a reporter for the New York Tribune, writing about the fair, made note of
the new sandwich in an article and commented that it was the vendor’s own
“The vendor, Fletcher Davis, had moved from Missouri to Athens in the 1880s
to take a job at the Miller pottery works. Mr. Davis had a flair for
preparing food and usually served as chef at his employer’s picnics. When the
business slowed down in the late 1800s, he opened a lunch counter on the (Henderson
County) courthouse square, where he sold the sandwich that would become such
a staple of the U.S. diet.
“Although it was served with slices of fresh-baked bread instead of a bun,
this early version of the hamburger was then much like it is today and
contained ground beef, ground mustard mixed with mayonnaise, a large slice of
Bermuda onion and sliced cucumber pickles. Customers could also enjoy fried
potatoes, served with a thick tomato sauce. When the journalist from the Tribune was
told that Mr. Davis had learned to fix potatoes in that manner from a friend
in Paris, Texas, he misunderstood and described the item to his readers as
“According to a nephew of Mr. Davis’s, the new sandwich acquired its name
during the potter’s sojourn in St. Louis. One theory holds that local
residents of German descent may have named the sandwich after the city of Hamburg,
whose citizens had a special affinity for ground meat.”
The resolution goes on to explain that each June, residents of Athens
celebrate the hamburger’s origins in their community with Uncle Fletch’s Burger
and Bar-B-Q Cook-Off.
Athens’ claims are not sitting well with Ken Lassen Sr., 89, the
third-generation owner of Louis’ Lunch, where he says his grandfather came up with the
Lassen said it happened in 1900 when a man rushed into Louis’ and asked for
something he could eat on the run. Louis Lassen, Ken Lassen’s grandfather,
grabbed a broiled beef patty and put it between two slices of bread.
Lassen notes there is the official designation of Louis’ Lunch as the burger
birthplace, cited by the Library of Congress, under a resolution initiated
by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr., very much an advocate for his city, is backing the
Lassens and their claims.
“It’s a well-known and established fact that New Haven is the home of the
hamburger. In fact, New Haven’s claim to the hamburger is even supported and
documented in the Library of Congress,” DeStefano said.
“We are even the birthplace of George Bush, who wants people to think he’s
from Texas. So yes, the hamburger is as much a New Haven original as
President Bush,” DeStefano said. “Get over it, Texas.”
Debate Over Hamburger Home "Well Done"
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The American staple is officially an Athens original...putting an end to the
sizzling debate on where the burger was born for local residents thanks to
the Texas legislature.
"I'm certainly pleased. Anytime you can get 150 of the finest Texans money
can buy to agree on one thing then it's got to be a good thing. We're very
proud of that," says Athens Mayor Randy Daniel.
"The man that made the first hamburger lived in Athens...went the world's
fair with it," says longtime Athens resident Murleen Stockard enjoying a
She's talking about Fletcher Davis who created the burger in his cafe in the
1800's, feeding hungry people on the square.
"So he slapped a ground beef patty on two pieces of homemade bread, added
some ground mustard to the mayonnaise, put a couple cucumbers on it and a big
Bermuda onion and the hamburger was born," says Debbie Schwanbeck, Director of
Tourism for the Athens Welcome Center.
More than a century later the sandwich hasn't changed.
"They're made fresh, they have a great flavor. I like the mixture of the
onions and the jalapenos with the cheese," says Chris Gilbert enjoying an Athens
"Aren't hamburgers one of the four food groups," says Steve Farrar, visiting
from Fort Worth, eating an Athens hamburger.
So for the state of Connecticut, who says the burger originated there in
1900, Murleen has this challenge, "I think they need to come down to Athens,
Texas and try one of the hamburgers made here and see what a real hamburger is."
Two other states have also made claims as the hamburger home: Wisconsin and
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