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Heavenly Hamburger

What's your favorite barbecue food? If you're like 97 percent of Americans, you probably chose the hamburger, the uniquely American food that gained popularity just prior to World War II and has been increasing in consumption ever since. In his book "Hamburger Heaven: Illustrated History of the Hamburger," Jeffrey Tennyson writes that Americans consume 38 billion pounds of hamburger each year, "which, placed end to end, would form a heavenly chain of hamburgers 1.8 million miles long." This and other facts and figures about the hamburger can be found in Milford Prewitt's article on the History of the Hamburger. Prewitt also describes the origins of the hamburger, from the "Hamburg Style Steak" of early 19th century German immigrants, to the first fast-food burgers at White Castle in the early 1900's.

Today, people have many different means of satisfying a burger craving. From fast food to fine dining, the majority of restaurants offer some sort of burger variation. To help distinguish the best ones, CheeseBurger in Paradise -- a listing of the world's greatest cheeseburgers -- features a listing of visitors' favorite burger joints around the U.S. and internationally. Web users can also satisfy a yearning for a burger by visiting the WWW Burger Stand, where one can order a virtual burger with all the fixings. Of course, the most gratifying way to quell a burger craving may be to make your own.

There still may be a few more chances to fire up the grill and turn out choice burgers. For a basic burger recipe, try your basic burger from the Recipesource recipe archive. Perhaps you're looking for something a bit more exotic? The Epicurious dictionary of culinary terms gives a description of the hamburger, and then links to all of the burger recipes on their site, including recipes for culinary treats like herbed hamburgers with arugula and salmon burgers with ginger mustard mayonnaise. Vegetarians should check out the Recipesource archive's vegetarian burger recipes. SOAR lists 55 different vegetarian burgers, with ingredients ranging from avocado to zucchini. Finally, take a peek at these fun new recipes from Heinz Ketchup. Teaming with the World's Youngest Chef, 8-year-old Justin Miller, Heinz has developed 25 hamburger recipes that reflect different regions of America. From the Phoenix Desert Burger to the Boston Back Bay Burger, these grilled goodies are a tasty way to celebrate fall.

Justin has assembled his recipes onto a colorful, waterproof placemat that kids and parents can receive for free by writing to:

"Mine's Gotta Have Heinz"
P.O. Box 57
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0057
(Sorry, no Web site.)

By requesting the placemat, you are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to one of five U.S. "Burger Cities." Check out a few of Justin's recipes below.

Atlanta Peachtree Burger
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup peach preserves
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeņo pepper
2 sliced green onions
Sandwich buns
1/4 cup Heinz Ketchup

Mix together ground beef, pecans and green onions; form into 4 patties. Grill to desired doneness. Blend Heinz ketchup, preserves and jalapeņo pepper. Serve burgers in bun with lettuce and Heinz Ketchup/peach preserves mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Boston Back Bay Burger
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup Heinz Ketchup
1 egg; slightly beaten
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 green onions, sliced
Sandwich buns
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
Leaf lettuce
Seasoned salt and pepper

Mix together ground turkey, egg, onions and bread crumbs; form into 4 patties. Sprinkle both sides of patties with seasoned salt and pepper. Grill slowly until cooked through. Blend Heinz Ketchup and cranberry sauce. Serve burgers in buns, topped with lettuce and cranberry/Heinz Ketchup mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Los Angeles Farmer's Market Burger
1 pound lean ground beef
Fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded carrot
Red bell pepper rings
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
Sliced tomato
2 sliced green onions
Alfalfa sprouts
Sandwich buns
Heinz Ketchup

Mix together ground beef, carrot, celery and onions; form into 4 patties. Grill to desired doneness. Serve burgers in sandwich buns lined with spinach leaves. Top burger with pepper rings, tomato, sprouts and Heinz Ketchup. Makes 4 servings.

Orlando Sunshine Burger
1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/3 cup chopped cucumber, drained
1 pound lean ground beef
Sandwich buns
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

Combine Heinz Ketchup and cucumber; set aside. Mix together ground beef, seasoning, lemon peel and oregano; form into 4 patties. Grill to desired doneness. Serve burgers in buns; top with cucumber mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Phoenix Desert Burger
1 pound lean ground beef
Sandwich buns
1 can (four ounces) chopped chilies
Sliced avocado
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Sliced tomato
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
Heinz Ketchup

Mix together ground beef, chilies, cilantro and onion salt; form into 4 patties. Grill to desired doneness. Serve burgers on sandwich buns with avocado, tomato and Heinz Ketchup. Makes 4 servings.

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