There's No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore About Our Favorite Foods

There's No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore About Our Favorite Foods
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
April 06, 2021
ISBN
0762498072
Buy This Book
      
From hot dogs and hamburgers to ice cream and pizza, this fascinating book is full of fun facts and stories of the origins of some of America's most popular foods.

Why is there no ham in hamburgers? How did we make ice cream before we could make ice? How did hot dogs get their name? From the origins of pizza (which got a big boost from Clarence Birdseye, of all people) to the Cornell professor who invented chicken fingers, There's No Ham in Hamburgers has all the ingredients for an entertaining and educational middle-grade read. Packed with informative sidebars, recipes, and experiments, along with fabulously funny illustrations by Peter Donnelly, this book is a reading recipe that kids will sink their teeth into!

Editor review

1 review
Fun Food Histroy
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
While I was familiar with most of the information in the book, due to apparently all too frequent deep dives into tomes likes Sussman's Just Heat It 'n' Eat It!: Convenience Foods of the '40s-'60s (2006), Wyman's Spam (1999) and Better Than Homemade, Kimmerle's Candy: The Sweet History (2003), Gitlin's The Great American Cereal Book (2011) as well as everything Jane and Michael Stern ever wrote (especially Road Food (2006) and Square Meals (1984), younger readers will not be. This is an absolute powerhouse of an overview. I'm amazed at how complete the coverage is, and the amount of information that was still new to me. This shed light on why chicken nuggets always seemed like something new: they weren't widely available until I was in high school, at which point the last thing I was interested in was eating processed, deep friend chicken.

Clearly, I have a huge interest in food history, and since middle grade readers have eaten up books like Power Kids Press What's In Your Fast Food series, this is a definite purchase for elementary and middle school libraries. I would even buy it for a high school library, since it has such a wealth of information and is well-indexed, with an extensive bibliography.
Good Points
I'm a sucker for popular culture, especially regarding food. So a brief overview of hamburgers, french fries, pizza, ice cream, chicken fingers, peanut butter, cereal, cookies, and chocolate! Yes, please. And you don't even need an antacid tablet!

Breaking down popular, kid oriented food into these major categories allows room for a wealth of tangential information about things like ketchup, Mr. Potato Head, and Birdseye Frozen Foods! I even learned that the the phrase "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" came from a song recorded by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians and written by Howard Johnson! I enjoyed the format of this book, and especially liked the vague 1950s feel to the font and framing of the illustrations. Even the colors were a nice mix of the 2020 ubiquitous light teal with a more 1960s lime green, complete with the sparkly starbursts. I do want to take a look at the illustrations in the print book; the E ARC ones came out a bit wonky.
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