A Burger for Church

Woman in ApronUsed to be, any mention of fast food caused nose wrinkles among Lutheran Ladies. We’re talking about women who were taught how to cook  as soon as they could waggle a spoon in a bowl without slopping the ingredients in a two foot radius.

Of course, they were wore aprons. (Old aprons for everyday use and nice frilly aprons for fancy-dress events)

Of course they learned from older women who threw handfuls of flour into bowls. When asked how many cups a recipe needed, the white-haired ladies would shrug and tell you “Until it looks right.”

These teaching-women didn’t know if the recipe was correct until they felt the dough, or tasted it, or watched it drip off a spoon (or bounced it on the counter—which Grandma liked to do when making noodles—I’m not sure why, but it was fun. Wa-hoo!)

So you can see why the mention of a fast food burger would make one of these ladies say: “I think we can do better than that.”

And then things changed…

Barbie_McDonaldsYou can blame it on:

  • More women working
  • Families loving hamburgers more than spinach
  • Being worn ragged by figuring out what to have for dinner, going to the store, prepping it, cooking it, serving it, listening to kids complain about it, and cleaning up the whole mess, hoping to fall on the couch by 8pm.
  • Doing the whole thing again the next day
  • And the next
  • Burgers were available AND cheap!!!

Note: (the original McDonalds was a burger shack in 1940 where two brothers cooked. It went corporate in 1955 with a franchised opening by Ray Kroc who later bought the McDonald brothers out).

Every bitty town had a burger place. And you were really a big city if you had a couple of burger joints AND one was a McDonalds.


And then…Lord bless the Roman Catholics.

(Yes, I know this is a Lutheran Blog, but if it weren’t for our Catholic buddies, we’d be buried in burgers).

They obeyed Vatican II mandates and didn’t eat meat on Friday.

So McDonalds came out with a HULA BURGER for those worshipful Friday folks. It was

  • A slice of pineapple.Hula-type burger
  • A slice of cheese.
  • On a cold bun.



Soon, everybody was going to the Catholic church for the Friday Fish Fry instead of the local burger barn. At McD’s the Hula burger was discontinued in less than a year’s time and morphed into Filet-O-Fish burger.

If you’re like me, after the holidays, the remains of burgers and fish patties are still hanging around (on hip, belly, and bottom).

So…it’s time to turn to the famous Lutheran specialty….


Jello saladOkay. Okay, we’re most famous for gelatin salads…not green, healthy salads….but that’s still a diet plan, isn’t it?

  • Just leave out the marshmallows.
  • And add pineapple. (In honor of the deceased Hula Burger)
  • Stir “Until it looks right,”
  • And be sure to wear your pretty apron.



(photos: litlnemo,Thomas, The Bees Knees)


16 thoughts on “A Burger for Church

  1. One of the Blogs I follow is http://littlegreybunglaow.blogspot.com.

    Take a look at the posting for today – January 15th. Haggis on a stick. Click on the link – it is hysterical. (And another reason to be glad I’m a vegetarian.) The writer has a way with words that will leave you in hysterics. Also, along the right side of the column are links to making some ready grody Halloween snacks, such as earwax on a stick. (Peanut butter or caramel on mini marshmallows. Great fun, and I’ll get little boys would eat them all on about three minutes, max.

  2. The only time my sister and I ever had green Jell-O and whatever (I think it was coleslaw mix without the dressing) was at my grandmother’s, when she hosted a Girl Scout meeting. Although I have learned to like coleslaw, I still can’t abide green Jell-O. My mom used to make a salad to serve at dinner of raspberry Jell-O and canned tomatoes, using the juice from the can as part of the liquid. Pour it into a flat pan, cut into squares, and serve on lettuce. I know it sounds peculiar, but it is really good.

    I was raised Missouri Synod, and don’t ever remember going to any church suppers, but that may have been my mother’s doings; she wasn’t very sociable. I’m Episcopalian now, and we have pot luck dinners all the time. I swear our parish runs on sign-up sheets! If it’s “just” a supper, I make mac and cheese – half cauliflower and half noodles, and 2/3 sharp cheddar (NOT Velveeta, thank you!) and 1/3 pepper jack. Not as starchy and the pepper jack gives it just a little bit of zing without lifting the top off your cranium. During Lent, we have soup suppers every Wednesday; one meat based and one vegetarian. Being the resident vegetarian I make butternut squash soup, and if we can’t get enough volunteers, I have a meatless chili that goes over well. I’ve never brought home any leftovers.

    • Okay, I’m going to be hitting you up for recipes for that butternut squash soup and meatless chili.

      I was going to say that putting tomato juice into Jello sounds like sin to me, but I guess, I’ll have to give it whirl if you say it’s really good. Who could imagine. I’m also stealing your macaroni/cauliflower recipe. Sounds great!! Thanks

      • I love the mac and cauliflower idea, too. I also have a great meatless chili recipe. TOmatoes in jello? Of course…tomatoes are a fruit, after all!

      • The recipe for the Butternut Squash soup is on my blog on February 26, 2012. I use a gluten free bouillon cube, because our rector has celiac disease, but you obviously can use whatever you have in the cupboard.

  3. Methodists had Jello Salad with shredded carrots and pineapple, nested on a bed of lettuce. Better than that were the desserts, which the ladies seemed to excel at. One of the guys in our Tacoma church worked at the Almond Roca factory and their family’s desserts were always awaited with great expectation!
    Fast food? For us it was only on road trips, with 5 cent burgers in Texas my dad would buy a bagful because of the price! And in CA he stopped at every orange juice road stand until he was almost sick. Being raised in the depression does funny things to a person’s sense of value.

    • You’re SOOOOOO right about the Depression carving a deep path through the rest of our lives. That Tacoma guy who brought Almond Roca would’ve been the big hit at our church. I still love it. Why do you think we were taught to sit Jello on a bed of lettuce? Seems strange now, but that’s how it was always served. Looks?

  4. My decidedly non religious family was quite religious in shunning fast food. Once or twice a year (if we were lucky) we would get take-away (take-out) Chinese food. Burgers? Never. I had moved out of home before I had my first one. And never acquired the habit.
    I am sure that my mother would have LOVED an occasional break from the thinking, shopping, preparing, cooking, cleaning routine.

  5. Oh, Kris!! Are you SURE you haven’t been in some lifelong Baptist kitchens just before Sunday School-and-Church, or Sunday evening Youth Choir Practice (said Youth fed some version of meat-in-a-bun by the Good Church Ladies to tide them over past Training Union and Evening Services)? Or on Wednesday nights to get everybody fed, scrubbed, and homeworked to get to Prayer Meeting? Or Tuesday night Adult Choir Practice (usually at MY house to save on heating or lighting the church another night)? Every-Time-The-Church-Doors-Are-Open was coined by an ardent Baptist, I think, and not a Mama one.

    Ours was a tiny country church, with a fifteen-mile drive to the nearest McDonald’s (when they finally got one), so many a child has entered those wide doors with peanut-butter breath or NABS crumbs on his lips. I, personally, think that the road to Heaven might be paved with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

    And the Other Road—well, nothing’s as slippery as some of our beloved Jello salads.


    • Okay, Rachel. That’s a done deal. I’ve got to include a chapter in a book called, “The Road to Heaven is paved with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.” It seems to me that Lutherans are more prone to go the community soup method. I can’t remember any grilled cheese. They must’ve done that because it was always easy to water down the soup if more people showed up. They sure watered down the Kool-Aid in VBS. (Much to our 6-yr-old-complaints).

  6. Sure triggers my childhood memories. In that pre-McDonald’s era, my sister and I saved up our allowance for weeks in order to treat ourselves to a burger in the local cafe. We drooled over Mom’s concoction of whipped cream and lime-green jello with pineapple.

  7. LOL I never knew about the pineapple “burger.” Since I do not like pineapple it definitely would not have appealed to me. One family I know feeds their kids the McDonald’s child meal about once a week. I know it is just the “fast way” to get them fed as both parents work and are tired when they pick up the kids. I think that is the way with many parents.
    Parents not only rely on McDonald’s and other fast food establishments, but now the quick fix frozen foods (frozen waffles, pancakes, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, etc) are widely used as well as the refrigerated Lunchables and the like. When I was a preschool teacher we saw this a lot. I remember my mother fixing dinner and we all seated at the table together to eat. I wonder how many families do that anymore?

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