It's unclear precisely who came up with the first hamburger. At least four strong contenders make a claim as the inventor of the ubiquitous food, but there's a common thread to each story: haste. In each case, a plain old cooked ground beef hamburger steak became the famous sandwich, simply because a customer needed nourishment to go.
The accidental creation of the hamburger caused a sensation and led, perhaps inevitably, to the creation of fast food restaurants. In 1921, the first hamburger chain, White Castle, opened [source: NPR]. Successful burger selling depends upon speed, low cost and ease of portability. But some restaurateurs have gone in another direction, creating large, slow and, most notably, expensive burgers.
At Mallie's Sports Grill and Bar in suburban Detroit, Mich., you can pony up $350 for a 134-pound (60.8 kg) bacon cheeseburger. The restaurant asks customers to give 24 hours prior notice for what they call the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger. Amid gasps of "Whoa, that's a big burger," the creation was debuted in February 2008, when the restaurant produced its first [source: Detroit Free Press]. The head chef at the grill spent 12 hours preparing and cooking the burger; it took three men to flip it and the bun alone weighs 50 pounds (22.7 kg) [source: AP]. It complements the restaurant's other impressive burgers, weighing in at 6 and 12 pounds (2.7 and 5.4 kg) respectively.
Although officials at Guinness World Records had yet to make an official judgment on the burger, its weight before serving beat the world record held by Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pa. Denny's produced a 123-pound (55.8 kg) burger.
Would you pay $350 for a 134-pound burger? Certainly that depends largely on your appetite and your finances. It certainly seems expensive, but truth be told, there are some dishes out there that make Mallie's "Absolutely Ridiculous Burger" seem cheap. Read about some more expensive food on the next page.