The Smell of Burger Bars Brings Me Back to My Childhood

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When I think of summer, my thoughts immediately go to eating outside with my family on a warm, sunny day. There are so many delicious choices to pile on paper plates at a barbecue, from brats to hot dogs, served with sides like fresh roasted corn on the cob, baked beans, and potato salad. One of my favorite things, though, are burgers cooked to perfection on the grill and covered with melted cheddar cheese.

Growing up, my dad would often grill during the summer, and when he made burgers, he’d make sure everyone’s favorite toppings were out on the table. He’d slice tomatoes and onions, put big green leaves of lettuce on a plate, and of course pull out the ketchup and mustard. As an adult, I think about these childhood summer meals whenever I smell food cooking on the grill.

As an adult, I hope my kids have similar memories of summer meals. Along with all the typical burger toppings, I take it a bit further by setting up a burger bar and putting out many of the toppings you’d see at sit-down burger places. Things like fried onions, barbeque sauce, mayo, sauteed mushrooms, crisp bacon, slices of juicy pineapple, ranch dressing, guacamole, and more let each person in the family customize their burgers. They have fun trying new flavor combinations and being creative in naming their impressive creations.

Burger bars make burger night a bit fancier without much work on my part, which makes them not only perfect for an easy weekend meal but nice enough for special occasions, like graduation parties, 4th of July picnics, or celebrating a summer birthday at home in the backyard.

Tags: Sunday Dinner Ideas, Summer recipes

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Written By

Alicia Peiffer

Alicia lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is raising two preteens and a toddler with her husband. She works from home... See Full Bio

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