HAMBURGERS have acquired the undeserved label of junk food in recent years since Australia was overrun by American-style fast food chains.
The original Aussie hamburger was a thing of substance and not bad on the nutrition scale.
Milk bars back in the 60s and 70s were mostly owned by families who migrated from Greece; they underwent a crash course in those racist times of how to not serve "foreign muck" (those were the bad old days).
Now we embrace the national cuisine of just about every country; and as a result we have food in Australia that is so much better than the food we ate back then (which was largely modelled on the worst that Britain had to offer).
If you can still find a milk bar that serves an Australian-style burger complete with tinned beetroot, lettuce, tomato and onion, the contrast between that and the junk food variety we eat now is obvious.
As the milk bar is slowly disappearing from our streets also, try cooking your own burgers from scratch.
They're not difficult and you'll find that even the most vegetable-phobic child will eat one without complaint.
You can even hide veggies in the meat if you're clever enough.
Start with decent minced meat and add what you like, really.
A toasted bun and the salad of your choice - with or without beetroot - completes a tasty and relatively healthy meal.
Grated fresh beetroot is a delicious alternative to the pickled version, but a good Aussie burger should have lettuce, tomato and onion on a decent toasted bun.
Tasty burger patties
Makes eight patties
500g good beef mince
1 large brown onion, peeled and chopped
3 tblspn smoky barbecue sauce
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tspn dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 free-range eggs
olive oil for cooking
Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl.
It's easiest if you use food-grade disposable latex gloves (from the supermarket) and mix with your hands.
Form into eight balls and flatten slightly; don't pack them down too tightly.
Heat a little olive oil in a frypan over medium high heat.
Add patties, cooking in batches so the pan is not overcrowded.
Flatten slightly and cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
Keep cooked hamburgers hot in a preheated oven until you have finished cooking them all.
Note: These patties contain no fillers so turn gently (once only) to prevent them crumbling.
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