It’s Not the Burger – It’s the Bun


I am not one of those people who will tell you it is always and forever best, right, good, perfect, greener, healthier, more nutritious and cheaper to cook and eat at home every single day of the week. For most of us life just doesn’t work like that. I would also be hypocritical and a liar if I told you I never ate fast food.   

The only advantage fast food has is it is faster and more convenient. But faster and more convenient is not a good enough reason for me to make fast food a staple in my diet.            

Personally, I just  prefer to cook.  First of all I enjoy the creative process of cooking. Cooking uses all of my senses. I can smell the food, the spices and herbs. I touch the food. I hear the chop-chop-chop of the knife or the sizzle of food in a hot skillet. I see the food change shape or texture.  And I can sample and taste the food before dinner. Cooking is a sensual expereince for me.

Second, the food I cook and fix myself  simply looks, smells, and tastes far better than many fast foods. And that is true even when I flop in the kitchen!!!

Nevertheless, a Big Mac tastes good when I haven’t had one in a while.

 There is no one ideal caloric intake for everyone. Each of us is different. I believe in eating a varied diet and a moderate diet. By that I mean, I control how much I eat more than what I eat.

My chiropractor, who also has a Doctor of Medicine degree, told me once, “It’s not the burger. It’s the bun.” Its the bread that  makes us gain so much weight. So the next time I bought a cheeseburger at a fast food place I actually took the bun off and looked at the burger. There was practically nothing there. And this little patty of meat  looked anemic at best.

I wondered to myself, why would I eat that much bread to so little meat? My best guess was that this simple cheeseburger was about 75-80% bread. Maybe more. I was paying big bucks for mostly just bread. I wondered to myself, “Where’s the beef?” I figured I could get real meat and better nutrition by fixing a bigger burger with fresh ground meat from the butcher shop and with no bun, and lots more vegetables in my own kitchen.

When it comes to bread I might as well just glue a slice to each hip because that is where bread settles on my body. Now don’t get me wrong. I love good bread. I jsuy have to be careful how much I eat.

There is this old Chinese proverb (I wonder, do they have any new proverbs?) that says a picture is worth a thousand words. So let’s take a look at a couple of pictures.

Which burger would you prefer to eat?

This one?

Or this one?

That is not a hard question for me to answer. I want……………….

Roberta’s Bunless Hamburger with Real Veggies

This is a recipe I found in my favorite cookbook, Cooking For One is Fun, by Henry Lewis Creel. I changed it a bit by adding some fresh garlic run through a garlic press, and I serve with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a few pickles. Baked beans are a good side dish.

The biggest surprise is that this hamburger is cooked with absolutely no oil.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

¾ to 1 lb ground chuck                            $1.89

2 medium cloves garlic pressed                $ .04

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce            $ .15

3 teaspoons parsley chopped                    $ .03

3 teaspoons butter                                   $ .25

½ teaspoon lemon juice                          $ .05

Lettuce                                                   $ .99

1-2 tomatoes sliced                                 $1.02

1 onion sliced                                         $ .34

Pickles if desired                                    $ .15



Cost for 3 people = $4.91
Cost perperson = $1.64

That $1.64 is far less expensive than a Big Mac meal.  YOU SAVE  $4.36 per person by cooking a hamburger at home. And this burger is not just plain ‘ole hamburger. It has some tasty spices in it. I base this savings figure on WikiAnswers, who says,  “the  cost of one Big Mac meal varies from restaurant to restaurant, but is about $6.00.”

Here is what you do:

Place the ground chuck in a bowl and using a garlic press, add the minced garlic to the ground chuck. If you do not have a garlic press mince the garlic very fine. Add a dash of pepper to the ground chuck. Gently mix together.

Mold the ground chuck into 3 patties. Do not pack too tightly or over compress. It will make the cooked meat less tender and less juicy. To ensure the patty cooks evenly make a thumb print indentation in the middle of the patty before you put it in the skillet.

Lightly salt the bottom of your skillet and heat the salt very well.

When the skillet is very hot place the patties in the skillet.  If you look carefully at the picture below you will see an indentation on each patty.

Sear the burgers on one side………

……..and then flip the burgers over and reduce the heat to low. Cook the burgers to desired doneness. (About another 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other for medium rare;  about 4 minutes on each side for medium; about 5 on each side for well done.)

While the burgers are cooking place some lettuce on each plate with one or two slices of tomato, a slice of onion, and some pickles if desired.

When the burgers are cooked the way you like them remove and place on each plate with the lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Working quickly, pour about 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce over each burger,  place a very small pat of butter, about ¼ teaspoon, on each burger, and top with some of the parsley.  Add more pepper if you like. NOTE: To get this done quickly I place everything, the butter, Worcestershire, pepper, and chopped parsley nearby so that I can quickly get these last three ingredients on the burgers lickety-split.  See picture.

The finished product again.

NOTES: If you can only afford hamburger use hamburger. Use ground round for even less fat. If you like more heat in your burgers add a dash of tobasco and or red pepper to the ground chuck when you add the garlic.

To close out this post I share with you two videos. I have no idea if the first is true. I did some research ( and and could not find any information one way or the other. The website mentioned in the video does exist, but to get content you must join. I did not join.




True or not, it is interesting.



Have you ever wondered why the burger you get at a fast food restaurant never looks like the burger you see on TV, or in magazines, or billoards, or even the posters hanging in the store? There is a reason why and this next video shows you just exactly how it is done.


Bon appétit!!!


Print Friendly

2 comments to It’s Not the Burger – It’s the Bun

  • @yumivore

    Wonderful post Roberta that should get more folks thinking about what they’re eating! And hopefully inspired to make these types of easy meals at home. I couldn’t agree more with your cooking philosophy, and also agree with the need though for convenience. Some areas are set-up to offer better “fast” food choices (like here in Northern California) so there isn’t a reason to break for chain “food”. Philosophy aside, looks like a great recipe to try.