Monday, April 5


Dr. Franklin Penn - C. F. Penn Hamburgers from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

The Southern Foodways Alliance has embarked on a new oral history project documenting slug burgers in Mississippi and Alabama. This peek at our interview with the Penn family of C. F. Penn Hamburgers in Decatur, AL, is our first interview in the series.

Believed to be a holdover from World War I, slug burgers grew out of frugality. Hamburger meat is mixed with an extender, such as cracker meal, soy flour or wheat flour and egg. The patty is then fried in oil and is dressed with mustard and onions, sometimes sliced pickle. The term "slug burger" comes from the early 20th century slang for nickel, which is what the burgers used to cost.

This is an ongoing project. Visit our Flickr page to view photographs from the road, and check for updates and additional interviews.