Since the beginning of time, every great invention has been marred in controversy. Are you in the camp that feels Marconi invented the radio or do you passionately believe that Nikola Tesla was the true mastermind behind this communication marvel that all of use on a daily basis? Are you from the John Lennon camp that believes the majority of Beatles songs written with his partner, Sir Paul McCartney, were more of his construction, or do you know in your bones that McCartney was the true genius behind some of the most timeless songs in history? Was the telephone conceived by Alexander Graham Bell or was it stolen from a concept by Johann Phillip Reis? Did Frederick Albert Cook make it to the North Pole first or was it Naval engineer Robert Peary? Does anyone really care?

Maybe not, but we should. True credit should be given to these pioneers, the real inventors, creators and discovers who, in a moment of inspiration, brought the world something special. Something that we’ve all taken for granted, such as catchy pop songs or the device we hear them through. What about food? Is there any meal we take more for granted than the All American Hamburger? Can we even be sure the hamburger is an American invention at all?

Let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at the anemic amount of facts we even have about the origin of this sandwich. Once all of the data, urban legend and distant recollections of those who claimed there were their for the genesis of this tasty meal has been presented, you can come to your own conclusions in regards to The Great Hamburger Controversy.

The Year: 1200 or so. Genghis Khan supposedly fed his armies meat and bread, eaten hurriedly together as the Mongols warriors moved into Russia.

The Year: 1763. Author Hannah Glasse wrote in a cookbook about Hamburgh Sausage, minced meat served on toast.

The Year :1897. Dr. James Salisbury invents a steak dish sold to the public for breakfast, often included on a hard roll. The Salisbury Steak became so popular it advanced up the meal chain into a common dinner dish.

The Year: 1885. Fifteen year old entrepreneur Charlie Nagree operating a food stand at the Outagamie County Fair in Wisconsin realized he would sell more product if his client’s could take their beef to go, walking through the fairgrounds while enjoying their meal. He called his Hamburg Steak sandwiches “Hamburger Charlies”.

The Year: 1880. Athens, Texas cook Fletcher Davis sold several meat sandwiches with his wife from a cafe on Tyler Street.

The Year: 1885. The same year Charlie Nagree was peddling his Hamburger Charlies in Wisconsin, brothers Frank and Charles Menches from Akron, Ohio were selling ground beef sandwiches at the Erie County Fair. They claimed the term “Hamburger” originated from the town Hamburg located in New York state.

Interesting, isn’t it? Who really was responsible for the invention of this delicacy we’ve all come to know and love? Chances are you may be asking yourself, “Does it really matter?” Well, maybe not, it’s not like we’re pondering the meaning of life here, but I live and breathe hamburgers, and hot dogs, and pretty much each of the well known All American Foods. It’s important to me as the proprietor of BnD’z. I can’t answer the question as to who should get credit. I really don’t think any of us will ever know. But if I could go back in time and meet that individual, I would love to shake his hand…..unless burgers really were invented by Genghis Khan, then I’d have to make sure he was in a really good mood first!

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Little League Life Lessons

Honestly, this is my favorite time of the year. Why? Is it because summer is right around the corner? Sort of. Is it because I’m looking forward to all of our guests deciding it’s too hot to cook and they will come in to enjoy the best burgers and hot dogs Pittsburgh has to offer? Well, absolutely! But there’s yet another reason that always gets me pumped up in April leading into May. BASEBALL IS BACK!

Wait, I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Doug, The Pirates always get our hopes up only to let us down after the All-Star Break.” Sadly, that’s true, but the tide has to turn sometime, right? But when I mention baseball, I’m not talking about our Bucs, I’m talking about Little League.

Is there any other activity that is as pure and uplifting as watching these little guys and girls playing in their first organized sport? I remember when I was their age, shagging fly balls with my glove that was three sizes to big for my six year old hand. Stepping into the box with your parents, siblings and friends watching to see if you could even swing that oh so heavy aluminum bat. I’m from the generation that had live balls being pitched, we didn’t have the cushion of hitting off a tee!

For a good majority of kids, this is their first experience at playing on a team, learning valuable lessons to build on as they grow into adults, realizing that others will be relying on them to achieve desired results. Not to mention playing by the rules, being a good sport to your opponents and most importantly how to have fun!

Now I’m quite aware that not all kids play baseball, some prefer soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dancing, cheer leading, and the list goes on and on. Some children have no interest in sports period, which is great, too. Everyone is different, discovering as the years peel away where their interests rest. But for me, it always brings a smile to my face when I see that young player stepping up to the plate for the first time, wide eyed, nervous, barely able to hold the bat properly. All too often, they will hack at the little white globe resting on the tee, or take swings at lobbed pitches, not even close to connecting.

It may be the next game, or even the next season, but the day will come when they make contact with that elusive red stitched ball. They may even just get a piece of it with a foul tip to the back stop, but that instantly identifiable clink of hide on metal always produces a genuine smile. That grin results from success, something we can all relate to. You can’t get a hit if you don’t step into the batters box. That’s why baseball is enlightening, simple and pure. There’s so much these little players will learn from the sport without even realizing it. In that regard, Baseball is a lot like life, don’t you think?

Every day when I open the doors of BnD’z for our guests, I think about how fortunate I am to do something that I sincerely love. If I wouldn’t have entered the batter’s box years ago, working and struggling to get hits, learning from my experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to hit this home run.

A sincere thank you goes out to all our guests, and for any of you local ballplayers that stop by in uniform, tell mom and dad we will give the entire family a special discount off their total bill, no matter if you went 4 for 4 or struck out each time. It’s just our way to show our appreciation and to remind you not to give up. Just like life, keep trying….you’ll get there!

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Breakfast, when you “break” your “fast”. When I was in elementary school and my teacher explained the origin of the word I was amazed at the pure simplicity of it. Why couldn’t every word be so explanatory? It would have made classes more interesting…..and easier!

I also remember him touting the benefits of a daily breakfast: “This meal provides the fuel your body needs to get ready for the busy day ahead. Without it, you won’t accomplish as much.”

Back then, I took that comment with a grain of salt. I had plenty of energy! Now, thirty years on, I see Mr. Wayland in a whole new light. Just like everyone, I’ve woken up late before, (just once or twice….yeah, right) and I’ve had to skip my morning meal out of necessity. Not a good idea.

Right around mid morning my stomach would grumble, it would be harder to focus on the task at hand, and I would be counting the minutes until the lunch whistle would blow. Well, I’ve never worked anywhere that utilized an actual “lunch whistle”, but you get the idea.

Like the majority of the working class out there, I would rather get an extra fifteen minutes of sleep in the morning than spend time cooking a nice hearty breakfast. Luckily, there is a solution that will enable you to get those oh so precious additional moments of slumber while still being able to eat a hot breakfast. BandD’z is now open at 6:00 am offering perfect get me going meals!

Up until 10:00am Monday through Friday, we will be serving a wide variety of hot and fresh breakfast items: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast as well as our customized breakfast sandwiches.

For those of us who can function without something in our bellies until lunch, we also have that magic potion that makes it all possible…….fresh coffee

So feel free to hit that snooze bar, maybe even twice, with confidence. We’ll be here waiting for you with the tastiest foods to fuel you for the day. You can even place an order for lunch and take it to work with you! All bosses love to see their employees eating at their desks while working through their lunch hours, which may come in handy down the road if you hit that snooze bar too many times and arrive at work a few minutes late. I wish Mr. Wayland would have taught me that trick back in third grade!

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