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M-m-m, Burgers

by Eva Pasco

Burger Chef - The 60s

Long before Homer Simpson drooled over the prospects of USA Choice, my family knew a thing or two about beef. One of life's pleasures growing up in the Sixties was the Sunday joy ride, so carefree with the price of gasoline way under a dollar per gallon. Since my dad's hobby was acquiring and restoring Tin Lizzies, the leisurely drive hither,thither, and yon gave him a chance to show off his handiwork while attracting potential buyers for those magnificent machines that once careened around corners gangsta style. One such beauty to hit the highways with grace and dignity was our shiny blue 1932 Buick.
My father's prize Buick squired us to burger havens such as White Castle and Dairy Queens. We'd also roll onto the asphalt lots of Rattey's and A&W, the last of the diehard carhops. I always liked my burger with mustard, dill pickles, and a sprinkling of crushed potato chips.
As hamburger prices increased anywhere from 45 - 55 cents, we ventured to the Hillsgrove section of Warwick, Rhode Island where the first burger joint selling beef on a bun for 15 cents took a stand-- Burger Chef. This new fast food establishment's meagre offerings included: burgers already prepared with mustard, ketchup, and onions; fries; Coke; vanilla shakes. I don't know that my father saved any money because at those prices my sister and I ordered two burgers each accompanied by fries and a drink. 
M-m-m, burgers...savored during the Sixties when beef wasn't injected with chemicals or hormones. It was a time when you could order your burger rare without worrying about contracting a life threatening illness. What we didn't know back then about transfats clogging our arteries didn't kill us either. We certainly were unaware of the less than stellar working conditions in the beef industry. Sinking our teeth into a juicy hamburger was a great American pasttime without any complications to taint its robust flavor. 

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