Most of my childhood I ate burgers that my mom cooked in a frying pan on the stove top. It was your typical (typical to me), ground beef with some breadcrumbs and diced onions mixed in. She would form them into patties and place them into a uncoated steel pan (I don’t think they had Teflon coated pans yet), and fry them till golden brown on each side. She would then place them between a toasted hamburger bun, throw on some lettuce (ok, maybe no lettuce, I was a kid after-all), ketchup (I didn’t acquire a taste for mustard or relish till my adulthood) and VOILA, LUNCH! It was simple, tasty and satisfying.
Well one day back in the ’60s, my dad took me to a coffee shop in the neighborhood to grab a bite to eat for lunch. I don’t remember the name of the coffee shop, but I do remember that it was on the corner of Hillhurst Ave. and Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California. And, don’t ask me how I remember this, but we sat at a table by the window facing Hillhurst Avenue (see the lady in red and white in the photo, that’s the side we sat on).
Well, after looking at the menu, I ordered a hamburger which is one of my favorite foods, I took a bite and YUCK! It had a bitter, burnt, charcoal (okay, I’ve never eaten charcoal before) taste which I found out was because the hamburger patty had these thick black lines on it (my moms didn’t have these lines), which I actually found out had a name–”CHARBROILED” (I had another name–BURNT!). Well if this is what these newfangled charbroiled burgers are going to taste like, then forget it!
Needless to say, my aversion to “charbroiled” burgers didn’t last too long, especially when I found out that this burnt flavor was not the norm. Today, I still eat burgers like there’s no tomorrow, go ahead, just ask my friends!
Well, the coffee shop is long gone and as of the date of this post, it’s currently a janitorial supply/vacuum cleaner store, I guess I wasn’t the only person that didn’t care for those “char-burnt” burgers.