Food - Drink
The Fried 5-Cent Burger Cooked Up During The Great Depression
The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1939, is one of the worst economic periods in history, and food is the resource that was missed the most during this time. Cooks began adding inexpensive filler ingredients to dishes to make them more affordable, and surprisingly, one of these "Depression eats" is still popular in Mississippi today.
Slugburgers, originally called Weeksburgers, were first sold around 1917, when inventor John Weeks brought his recipe from Chicago to Mississippi and opened a shack on wheels to sell burgers for 5 cents apiece. Times may have been lean back then, but this burger did not contain slugs in place of beef; "slug" is an old slang word for "nickel."
Slugburgers use a filler ingredient that produces a heftier burger with less ground beef or pork required. John Weeks added potato flakes to his meat mixture, and instead of cooking them on a grill or griddle, slugburgers are typically deep-fried in oil or lard, giving them a crispy exterior, then served with mustard, dill pickles, and onions.
Today, homemade slugburgers are made with flour or cornmeal, while some restaurants use soy grits or soy meal as the filler. We may cringe at some "Depression meals" today, but the slugburger is as popular as ever — since 1988, the town of Corinth, Mississippi, where the burger originated, has held an annual Slugburger Festival.