Al­lure of burg­ers makes Ham­burg a ma­jor des­ti­na­tion each year

No other more aptly named festival than Taste of Ham­burg- er Festival

The Hamburg Area Item - - Local News - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

Is there any other more aptly named festival in the world than the Taste of Ham­burg- er Festival held an­nu­ally the Satur­day be­fore La­bor Day in Ham­burg? To be frank, if Ham­burg held a hot dog festival in­stead, peo­ple would have an ob­vi­ous beef with that.

The amaz­ing al­lure of burg­ers makes Ham­burg a ma­jor des­ti­na­tion each year. Even with rem­nants of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey mak­ing for soggy buns, thou­sands flocked to the festival again this year to sam­ple the wares from a whop­ping 37 burger stands.

What is it about ham­burg­ers that make them so ap­peal­ing?

For ob­vi­ous starters, they’re de­li­cious un­less they’ve been overly burnt, mak­ing them more suit­able to serve as coast­ers. Ham­burg­ers make your sali­vary glands shift into third.

They’re ver­sa­tile. You can dress them up with a va­ri­ety of top­pings -cheese, toma­toes, let­tuce, ba­con, mush­rooms, onions, pickles, cu­cum­bers, jalapenos, mayo, mus­tard, ketchup, Worces­ter­shire sauce, Chipo­tle sauce, onion rings, fried eggs, av­o­cado, chili, gua­camole, pineap­ple, teriyaki sauce, spinach ( for health nuts), al­falfa sprouts ( for health zealots) and tur­pen­tine ( for house pain­ters). Burg­ers can be pan fried, bar­be­cued or flame broiled and served ei­ther rare, medium rare, medium, well done or ru­ined as in the afore­men­tioned burnt.

Ham­burg­ers, un­less you use all of the afore­men­tioned top­pings at one time, also are easy to eat. Be­cause the meat is ground up, you don’t have to do much chew­ing. It’s served on a bun, so no need to bother with a knife or fork. There’s no cut­ting, only lift­ing. You can con­sume your burger with ei­ther sav­agery or pre­ci­sion de­pend­ing on whether you’re a Vik­ing war­lord or an in­sur­ance ac­tu­ary.

If you’re din­ing out, burg­ers usu­ally ride in tan­dem with a gen­er­ous pile of fries and tend to be one of the most eco­nom­i­cal op- tions on the menu.

An­other fac­tor in the im­mense pop­u­lar­ity of ham­burg­ers is fa­mil­iar­ity. Some­times when we go out to eat, we don’t want to be chal­lenged. We want the taste of the fa­mil­iar and noth­ing’s more fa­mil­iar than the taste of a burger — specif­i­cally the char that ap­pears on the ex­te­rior of the meat af­ter it hits the hot f lame; that spe­cific smell and taste con­jures up mem­o­ries of back­yard bar­be­cues. It’s com­fort­ing to know that we never for­get that par­tic­u­lar smell and taste even in our se­nior years when we’re try­ing to cut through the gauze of mem­ory and fight through the cob­webs in our brain to re­call more mun­dane things.

Ham­burg­ers are for ev­ery­body. If you’re a veg­e­tar­ian and the mere thought of ground beef churns your stom­ach like an old wash­ing ma­chine, the patty can be made of veg­eta­bles or tofu in­stead of beef.

Since ham­burg­ers are prac­ti­cally a re­li­gious ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s sur­pris­ing they aren’t served with in­cense. But they do have their an­nual High Holy Day with the Taste of Ham­burg- er Festival.

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