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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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What You Crave!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 @ 07:01 AM

148This week’s post is a little out of the ordinary for what my average readers are used to, and some may even say doesn’t fit. However, if we are talking about the essence of ‘Pop Culture’ cuisine, then this next spot it more than worthy because it started a culinary revolution that transformed the way we eat…regardless of whether or not you’re “one of theirs.” That’s right folks…I’m referring to White Castle, the 1st restaurant to be credited with the moniker of “fast food.”

So…is fast food ‘pop culture’ worthy? In most cases I would say no, although they are fairly synonymous with our American culture. Still, why I’ve chosen to feature THIS chain is because it’s the 1st and started a whole new genre of food. That’s pretty famous if you ask me!

White Castle was founded in 1921 in Kansas City, as the first fast-food hamburger chain. They were the first to sell a million and billion fast food burgers respectively, which I think is pretty impressive. They also created quite a stir with their signature 5 holes in their patty, cutting down on the time it took to cook the burger and eliminating the need to flip it over…thus the ‘fast’ part.

While I would hardly call White Castle a monumental culinary discovery, it truly did launch a revolution when it comes to the idea of serving something as American as a hamburger, economically and fast; and while that may seem pretty normal and regular by today’s standards, in 1921 this was a very new concept for food. Back in that day these “sliders” (as they were dubbed) were a measly 5 cents, and I have to believe not sold in crave cases as you can find them now. White Castle also stood out in its ability to franchise itself across the country as it gained popularity, another fairly new concept for that time.

I often find of all the fast food places, although it’s the oldest, White Castle is one of the most divisive as far as peoples’ opinions go. Even I went for many years thinking I hated White Castle even though I’d never even tried it! I’m not sure really why I thought I wouldn’t like it…but the whole concept of a slider at the time seemed sort of gross to me. But a few years ago we had to make a stop for lunch after getting home from a family trip, and since Adam’s whole family are fans, we stopped into one on the south side of Chicago. So I decided then was as good of time as any to try one…and let’s just say…I’m now “one of theirs’” So this past summer when we were passing through Indy on our way home from Louisville, and since there aren’t any in our area, we decided to fulfill the craving.

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That best thing about White Castle is the size of the burgers…the original ‘Slider; and since they are small, so you can have 1 or 2 and be satisfied without feeling stuffed. So that is just what Adam and I did, we shared a few burgers and fries. Sure…like most in the fast food world, their menu has grown to offer a variety of options. However, although I haven’t really tried many of their other items, I recommend sticking with what made them famous and created an entire menu item…the “slider.”

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However, be warned…White Castle sliders are cooked in a bath of chopped onions, which some people site as their reason for not liking them. On the other hand, this is what I love about them. I think this gives them a unique flavor you don’t find in other fast food.

In the end…sure… these aren’t a culinary masterpiece like some of the other dishes we have tried here at PCC. But they are delicious in their own right and still hold a place in history.

SIGNATURE DISH: The ‘Slider’ – a tiny burger typically consumed in 2-3 bites. It has spawned many imitators but IT is the original!

TASTE: While I might be flogged for saying so, I happen to enjoy a White Castle burger, and I would say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. They would hardly fall into the same category as some of the “gourmet” burgers we have tried around these parts, but for cheap, easy, and tasty they sure are good!

AMBIANCE: We weren’t visiting the real deal 1st ever White Castle, which I’m sure does not even compare to the local franchise we stopped by, but it feels just about like any other fast food joint…not overly fancy, booths and tables, greasy and fluorescent! Winking smile

PRICE: While no longer 5 cents, these burgers are still nowhere near as expensive as some of their fast food counterparts have become. At less than $5 for a fill you up meal, this is very reasonable.

SERVICE: It is a bit hard to rate this seeing as we just ordered at the counter and picked up our food, but as far as fast food service goes, nothing bad…nothing too spectacular.

So feel free to disown us for including a fast food restaurant in our culinary adventures. However, know that nothing says ‘Pop Culture’ like White Castle. It started a craze that is still a major fixture in our eating habits…good or bad. Plus, the original ‘Slider’ is pretty hard to beat; and for that I award America’s 1st Fast Food Chain 3 ½ ‘Little Piggies’

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One Response to “What You Crave!”

  1. Courtney says:

    This post is awesome. I can’t believe you had never been to a White Castle in all those years that you lived in St. Louis!! The best time to eat a White Castle slider? 2am

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