“There’s A Surprise In-Between”

IMG whopper burgers
In between the burgers, or in between the lines, metaphorically speaking?

It’s 1963 and even though Burger King has been around since 1954, and the Whopper since 1957, Better Homes and Gardens has appropriated the name in their Barbecues and Picnics cookbook. So here we have Whopper-burgers, something even the Dad out of camera range can make:

Whopper-burgersTwo juicy meat patties in one – and there’s a surprise in between -

2 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
Prepared mustard

Pickle Filling: pickle relish and 1/2-inch cubes of sharp process American cheese

Shape patties as directed below [flatten them with a measuring cup with a protective sheet of wax paper between it and the beef, basically]. Set half the patties aside for “lids.” Sprinkle remaining patties with salt and pepper, then spread with prepared mustard, leaving 1/2 inch margin for sealing. Top with a round of Pickle Filling. Cover the filling with “lids,” sealing edges well.

Place on greased grill or spread both sides with soft butter or margarine. Season top side with salt and pepper. Broil over hot coals about 10 minutes; turn; broil about 10 minutes more or till done to your liking. Season second side. Slip patties into hot buttered buns. Makes 5 Whopper-burgers.

Well, Dad is going to have to hone his fine motor skills. That is a lot of butter on the grill, and the filling is bound to slip out, and then he has to get the burgers into the buttered buns. Lots of room for disaster. You can see the filling coming out in the photo. On all the burgers, actually. I guess Mother didn’t seal the edges very well. She didn’t even want to have a picnic, she wanted to go out to dinner – why, look how she’s dressed!

Junior in the yellow sweater is pretending to be thrilled. Looks like he’s been holding that smile for a long time. Just hurry up with the spatula already, Dad! How many of these do I have to help with? Six? But there are only four of us! And the recipe says it only makes five. Dad? Who are the other two burgers for? (Dad’s just a disembodied hand- and there’s another subtextual problem right there – so he isn’t saying, but there’s another surprise in the offing, probably: the unnamed extra guests).

Sister’s trying not to sit right on the grass – grass stains are hell to get out of those party dresses she and Mother have on. Only back in 1963 they aren’t party dresses – that’s everyday wear! I remember that. We had to wear a dress to school every single day (in the winter too, that was fun) until third grade (1970) and the powers that were (the meanie principal) said that girls could wear pants. Still – on a picnic, it’s a little much, even for the sixties.

Mother looks like she came from a suburban wedding reception. And both she and Sister seem to be dressed for summer, while Junior is ready for autumn. Somebody’s got to be too hot or too cold, I don’t get it.

And if you have a good look at Mother, you will see the other surprise. She’s had three bottles of beer, and she’s brought her rolling pin along. And she’s reaching for it, too. Dad’s going to get a surprise all right, and not just from the Pickle Filling.

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2 thoughts on ““There’s A Surprise In-Between”

  1. Are you sure that’s beer and not Pepsi? I love these kinds of photos (and your hysterical commentary). What an elegant family picnic. I know life was never really this way, but part of me wishes it had been. :-) And, yes, those double decker Whopper burgers are a disaster waiting to happen on the grill!

  2. I have never tried to make a filled burger because I always thought the filling would leak. I guess they didn’t have food stylists back then or they wouldn’t have used a photo with the filling clearly dripping out.

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