Books about Hamburgers (...By a Tempted Vegetarian)

shelved under Cookbooks & Food Memoirs

I have been a vegetarian for years and I seldom miss eating meat. However, there are two occasions when I question my decision. The smell of bacon cooking gives me reason to pause and think, “what was I thinking? Pork is good. It smells amazing!”

The other food item that makes me a bit heady doesn’t really grab me by its aroma... no, this attraction is all about how its look. Of course, I'm talking about hamburgers, cheeseburgers, burgers, burgers, burgers! If I see someone chomping down on a Big Mac, I look at it longingly — like a bear that’s just come out of hibernation would look at a jumping salmon.

Here are some of my favorite books about a food that tempts me to become a carnivore:


Hamburger: A Global History

by Andrew F. Smith

The author traces the history of the hamburger, from its humble beginnings as a 19th century street food all the way to the ubiquitous food item that it is today. He also discusses how the image of the hamburger has become iconic, as well as the nutritional and cultural conflicts raised by the “McDonaldization” of not only American culture, but international culture as well.


The Hamburger: A History

by Josh Ozersky

This book is a well-written history of the hamburger, as well as a history of America. The author also comes up with two very believable theories: the identity of the actual inventor of the hamburger, and how a simple sandwich became an American icon.


Hamburger America: One Man's Cross-Country Odyssey to Find the Best Burgers in the Nation

by George M. Motz

The 2005 documentary DVD that is included with the book showcases Motz’s travels across the country where he documented 8 classic burger restaurants. Since 2005, the author has kept up his burger travels and in this book he features 100 hamburger joints in 39 states. I really like that the author limited his selections to independently owned Mom-and-Pop restaurants that use fresh foods. Motz also includes recipes and contact information for the restaurants... this is a fun read.


Hamburger Heaven: The Illustrated History of the Hamburger

by Jeffrey Tennyson

Lots of history, lore and colorful ads and graphics about everyone’s favorite sandwich, the hamburger.


Recipe of the Week: Burgers: 52 Easy Recipes for Year-round Cooking

by Sally Sampson, photography by Yunhee Kim

The carmelized onion and blue cheese burger, burgers stuffed with goat cheese, and a delicious-sounding spicy chipotle turkey burger are all recipes that are included in this very readable cookbook, which features one burger recipe for every week of the year.