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The Burger Book

OK, you might very well ask why anyone needs a book about burgers? Aren't they just a meat patty with salad in a sesame-seed bun? Ooops, no, that's some other burger place. This book is not about those.

As the name suggests, this book is undeniably parochial, dealing entirely with burger-ies in the state of Victoria, Australia. Obviously the writers, Jimmy Hurlston and Ethan Jenkins and their team (including photographer Katie Wilton) have been selective, choosing only those places that give variety, a point of difference - and a great burger result.

It must have been a tough job, downing burger after burger - all in the name of 'research' - but the guys seem to have been up for it. Jimmy Hurlston admits to 'eating around 1000 burgers' in the space of a year. So what did they come up with? Well, to begin with, enough mouth-watering photographs to have you grabbing your coat and heading off, book in hand.

However, this book is worth sitting down with and reading through, preferably when you are not already hungry as the stories accompanying each entry are great fun. It's all here: the history of burgers (did you realise Ghengis Khan's cavalry may have been the pioneers?), the burger's natural partner (no prizes for guessing beer) and then a useful slew of recipes - that's in case you want to ignore the major part of the book, which is where to go off and eat ones that experts have made.

But just in case there is a transport strike - or it's midnight - there are recipes here for top and bottom buns (did YOU know they were different?) and all the makings: eggs, bacon, of course the patty itself, and the sauce.

But back to Victoria. The majority of the book takes you on a guided tour of the handiwork of the good burgermeisters of Melbourne and regional Victoria. So you will meet dedicated fellows such as Ben and the Babu Bar and the burger with balls, or Dani's Dandenong Pavillion where the patties are made from three different cuts of premium Australian beef in a secret ratio that is, repeat, Secret.

There are only photographs for all of these, no recipes, but we'll guarantee your mouth will be watering well before you reach the last one, Zombie Burger (justifiably described as 'apocolypse food') and you'll have a long list of MUST-try places.

But just in case you feel a need of some light relief from this overwhelming mass of carbs and protein, the book has been thoughtfully interspersed with 'Dad' jokes such as "What did the father tomato say to the baby tomato? Hurry up and ketchup!!".

The Burger Book Victoria, written by Jimmy Hurlston and Ethan Jenkins, Smudge Publishing, released Jan. 2014, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-9873712-4-9


- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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