They were using meat, of course. But when I'm watching cooks prepare meat on cooking shows, I'm always thinking of ways to veganize whatever they're making. Anyway, the show told the history of the burger, which being from Arkansas and living in Tennessee, I'd never heard of. But apparently, they're a big deal in Oklahoma.
And legend has it the burger was invented by a man named Ross Davis, who owned the Hamburger Inn on Route 66 in in El Reno, Oklahoma. It was the late 1920s, right around the start of the Great Depression, and he would smash a ton of onions into the meat as the burger cooked, caramelizing the onions and cutting back on meat since resources were scarce. I love caramelized onions, so I decided to veganize this for my cookbook. Here's my Black Bean Fried Onion Burger with vegan cheddar, pickles, and onions.
I created a homemade black bean patty, and then I fried it on one side in a little olive oil. While that side was cooking, I smashed about 1/4 cup of very thinly sliced onions into the patty. Then I flipped it and let it cook for quite awhile, allowing the onions to soften and caramelize. Mmmmm. Delicious.
On the side, I created another recipe for the 1920s — Fried Cauliflower.
From what I've been reading, frying was very common vegetable preparation method in the 1920s. In fact, it seems veggies were always either overcooked or fried. I'll take fried and crispy over limp and boiled any day!
This cauliflower was lightly steamed and then dipped in a flour batter and fried in a little oil. Not deep-fried. Just pan-fried. Crispy and good with ketchup.
Unrelated to the 1920s, but I had the pleasure of running into a fellow blogger named Miriam this weekend on her visit to Memphis. She's vegan and found Imagine Vegan Cafe through my Vegan Memphis Dining Guide. And while she was there eating, I happened to be stopping by to pick up my Halloween hot dog. So we met, and she was just lovely. She blogged about her Memphis visit on her blog, Journey of a Wylde Soul. Check it out!