The next time your teeth sink through that crispy lettuce or that garden fresh tomato in one of our Fuel Shack burgers – ask yourself this question: Why do we even put toppings on burgers in the first place?
Looking back through history, the idea of putting toppings on burgers caught on formally in the 1940s in North America. In fact, the concept of putting an egg on a burger in North American started in the 1940s and has been popular ever since. If you don’t believe, come try a Mini Tower sometime…
Let’s look back through the decades and see what was popular, and when…
1940s Burger Toppings
Ah yes, the egg. So simple, versatile and nutritious. So versatile, in fact, that it was among the top mentions in popular burger culture in North America. Good Housekeeping (the famous magazine in the USA) suggested it in their pages – and it caught on. Who knew it would last so long and still be so popular today?
1950s Burger Toppings
If burger toppings were about anything in the 1950s, they were about flavored buttery spreads. Everyone was mixing butter with horseradish, chives, olives, onions – you name it. Maybe they were on to something considering the popularity of butter these days. Another popular topping for burgers in the 1950s was apple slices. A bit healthier, but no less weird if you ask us.
1960s Burger Toppings
Ok, we understand that the sixties were a strange time, hence the popularity of the Roquefort Burger. Basically, it was melted Roquefort cheese on a patty that was formed with finely-diced cucumber. Don’t look at us, we gave up on trying to understand the sixties long ago. One thing that did sound familiar (and yummy) was the use of sliced pineapple on burgers. Now that’s something we can agree on!
1970s Burger Toppings
Much like the 1960s, the 1970s were odd times for the humble burger. Suggested serving ideas included pizza burgers with tomato sauce, cheese and plenty of oregano served on a halved and grilled English muffin. Also popular in these times: burgers topped with guacamole. Come to think of it, a burger topped with guacamole isn’t so out of touch with today’s burger fans. But what IS out of touch is the once popular whipped cream cheese with bacon-favored veggie-protein bits. There are many reasons why the 19070s are over, and we’re pretty sure that putting whipped cream on your burger is one of those reasons.
1980s Burger Toppings
Burger toppings matured slightly in the 1980s. Popular trends were “Hamburgers Holstein” – which involved a patty topped with a poached egg anchovies and a green onion. Hey – we only said the 1980s matured “slightly.” Eventually, burgers stepped into something that kind of resembles what you might find today – topped with crispy lettuce (not shredded, thankfully) and served in a pita bread and also topped with canned beats and mayo!
Look, there’s a reason why these decades and their respective burger toppings are a thing of the past (minus a few really awesome ideas that actually caught on). The way we see it, you have to try to do something a little out of the box, but not go too far so that people realize that you’re being creative – without jeopardizing the integrity of one of the greatest menu items ever created – the hamburger.
What are some of your favorite hamburger toppings? Let us know in the comments.