Hamburgers, World War Two and Richard Nixon all come together in the sauce covered time line of WWII.
I loved working on my new book Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats to the Grunts in World War Two. Hamburgers have been around for years. Let's just say that burgers are pretty dang popular todayâ€¦ and they were during WWII. This is one of those neat stories that filtered to me when I started asking questions about WWII Chow. As for Richard Nixon, well - he was the President of the United States. Forget everything you know about the former President. Forget the movies, the books, the crazy impressions of him on Saturday Night Live. Not the new SNL, but the old school version. You know, Wild and Crazy Guys, Cone Heads... That SNL.
Let that Nixon slide away.
Now, imaging this guy. A young man who finds himself in the greatest world war since the last one. An epic struggle between good and evil. Nixon is a Naval flight officer Island hoping with crews setting up freight depots on landing strips that popped up on island after island. When the attack on Pearl Harbor came Young Nixon joined the Navy despite being eligible for exemption due to his religion and other factors. He waived the exemption and signed up leaving his young bride, Pat, at home.
Nixon served with honor and was rewarded for two service stars for his work and eventually became a Lt Commander.
Nixon decided he wanted to do more. During the war he took a small area off the corner of a base and converted it to a mini burger shack. Nixon's Snack Shack was a small slice of home where weary flight crews and troops could wander in and grab a burger and a beer. According to the book Richard Nixon: rhetorical strategist By Hal Bochin Nixon arrived in the South Pacific and saw a need.
Nixon's Snack Shack had a simple menu of hamburgers and such with beverages including Australian beer. Crews could enjoy a brief taste of the home front while their planes were unloaded and loaded. After the burger, perhaps a game of poker could be found. Nixon was also known for his card playing skills. Some say that he was so good that much of the money he won, and saved, playing cards during the war went towards funding his first political efforts.
Before long, the planes were ready to fly. Nixon would pat his new friends on the back, they would smile and head back into the sky aboard their flying targets. At least they would leave on the next mission with a full belly, a smile and perhaps the winnings off a friendly round or two of poker.
What ever you you think about President Nixon, remember that he had one of the few, if not the only, burger & beer and poker shack in the South Pacific.
Here's a recipe that has nothing to do with Richard Nixon, but has everything to do with great flavor HERE's THE LINK The link has some info about tailgating and burgers, with a splash of culinary history. And Check out the Recipe Bellow.
Welcome to the Chow Line and the Meals of War!
Kent's Big Stuffed Burgers
Ground Beef - Enough for 4 HUGE patties
Dash of Hot Sauce
Lots of Ground Black Pepper
Pepper Jack Cheese
Fine Sliced Onions
Combine the meat with some minced garlic, a few dashes of olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix well by hand and separate into four LARGE portions. Split each portion in half to make eight equal portions. Flatten these into eight wide patties that are a bit thin and wide. Sprinkle with pepper and place an equal portion of pepper jack cheese in the center of four patties leaving an edge around the outside. Place other four patties over the four covered patties and press the edges together to seal. You should have four good sized stuffed burgers. Grill over medium high heat turning as few times as possible. Serve hot on toasted French Bread Slices or toasted Texas toast with your favorite toppings.
You can stuff this burger with all kinds of other stuff such as mushrooms, Blue cheese, peppersâ€¦ whatever you like.