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?
Barry Popik
(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  
french-fried potatoes.

“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 
first hamburger.

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"
'Debate%20Over%20Hamburger%20Home%20"Well%20Done"', 'v', 'News', '146767', 'News', '', '');)  _Debate Over 
Hamburger Home "Well  Done"_ (javascript:playVideo('1320400', 
'Debate%20Over%20Hamburger%20Home%20"Well%20Done"', 'v', 'News', '146767', 'News', '', '');)    


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 

************************************** AOL now offers free email to everyone. 
 Find out more about what's free from AOL at http://www.aol.com.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list