Entering the twisted thoroughfare that is the history of the hamburger takes you into a mire of dispute dating back hundreds of years. The name may be a clear indication of its German heritage, but, since 1891, when Charlie Nagreen sold Hamburg steaks at the Outagamie County Fair in Wisconsin, the hamburger has been the national dish of the United States of America; a culinary association that is still as patriotic in its symbolism as it is representative of a nation’s taste. Over the years the basic components – a ground mince patty between bread – have been embellished with lettuce, adorned with ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise, sprinkled with sesame seeds and slathered in cheese. It has been served by street vendors, at drive-thru fast food joints, on the tables of the best restaurants in the world, in 2011 a 777lb burger was cooked up in California, taking the record for the largest ever created, and today this sumptuous version from Elliot’s Café in London’s Borough Market won the AnOther Loves vote for Love Magazine editor Alex Fury.
It is not unusual that a food stuff should become emblematic of a nation – Japan has sushi, of course, and France their frog legs – yet the humble burger has become US cultural currency like no other dish. The great Pop-artists Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg both used it in their work, and its shape inspired George Lucas’s design for the Millennium Falcon ship in Star Wars. In Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Jules and Vincent muse on the oddities of the French who have dubbed the Quarter Pounder a “Royale with Cheese”, in Grease, Danny and Sandy’s first Rydale date features a pair of “double Polar burgers with everything”, while, in Juno, the eponymous lead character has many a conversation on her hamburger phone. However, as this hamburger’s popularity on the Loves stream proves, it has appeal far beyond the borders of the States. Here we talk to Fury about culinary cravings and what would feature on his death row menu.
Why did you choose to Love this burger?
I'm a dreadful traveller – I was in Paris for the collections and was hankering after anything home-grown. This was the first thing I thought of – and it's a stone's throw from my house.
What's the best burger you've ever had?
This burger from Elliot’s rates pretty high. Although I am guilty of a McDonald's indulgence roughly twice a year.
Haute cuisine, comfort food or nose to tail eating?
Nose to tail eating sounds quite vile. Cheap and cheerful does the trick for me.
Lobster, Chicken or Burger? Or vegetarian?
After a fashion month of semi-starvation due to hectic schedules, I could probably consume all four wrapped in a pitta.
What would be your Death Row meal?
Jaffa Cakes. Or an ortolan. Which bears googling.
What are you looking forward to about autumn?
Outerwear and angora.
What was the last thing you bought?
A folded vinyl clutch-bag from Maison Martin Margiela that looks like a plastic bag. I 'Loved' it about three months ago. But it's finally mine...