This weekend is National Cheeseburger Day; there’s only one.

But if you ask who came up with the cheeseburger?

There are several answers to that question.


The first answer is Lionel Sternberger, who was a teenager working at his dad’s place, The Rite Spot, in Pasadena, California.

In 1924 he thought to put a slice of American cheese on a burger. Customers and his dad-slash-boss liked it, so it stuck around.

There’s a plaque on the spot recognizing its place in cheeseburger history.

But there’s a catch: the Sternbergers didn’t call Lionel’s invention a cheeseburger.

It was known as a “cheese hamburger,” or “The Aristocratic Burger.”

The word “cheeseburger” comes from restaurateur Charles Kaelin in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934, a decade after The Rite Spot’s burger.

Same basic idea, but with a name that became as popular as the actual cheeseburger itself.

And if all that wasn’t enough, an entirely different restaurant, the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In of Denver, Colorado, trademarked the word “cheeseburger” in 1935.

So this simple question has a somewhat complicated answer – which you can argue about with other cheeseburger historians, or you can just order one and eat it.


Now from burger news to birder news.

Today is National Pet Bird Day, which reminds me of a story from 2017 where researchers found wild birds in Australia… swearing.

They concluded what most likely happened was that parrots or cockatoos may have escaped from captivity and then taught their wild colleagues all the good four letter words.

Who Invented the All-American Cheeseburger? (The Spruce Eats)

Plaque commemorating invention of the cheeseburger in Pasadena dedicated at LA Financial Credit Union (Pasadena Chamber of Commerce)

Birds that escape from captivity teach wild birds how to speak (and swear) in English (Inhabitat)

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Photo by Elliot Leuthold via Flickr/Creative Commons