Last weekend we got together with our friends Brent and Heather from Virginia is for Hunter-Gatherers and collaborated on a couple of dishes. Brent tackled a cole slaw that was pretty dang tasty, and we also built a few interesting fork-and-knife burger creations based on some standard burger concepts. It was fun to jump into someone else’s kitchen and throw together some food, and it all turned out so well that I figured I should share our results.

The origin of hamburgers is greatly disputed, but most sources point to the bread-and-burger invention being of American origin, and showing up in the late 19th century. A connection to the German port city of Hamburg is a little hard to find, but it turns out that ground beef steaks were common in Hamburg in the mid 1800s, which were brought to the city by Russians. They were served raw. Some years later, New York City became a common destination for travelers from Hamburg, and local German immigrants started selling the raw ground beef steaks, called Hamburg steaks, to visiting German tourists – who were otherwise known as “Hamburgers” (in the same sense that someone from New York is a “New Yorker”). Sometime down the line, the “Hamburger sandwich” was born, and the rest is history.

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One thing I’ve found over this past month is that eating Paleo, in spite of all of its benefits, can get a little boring. Not only that, it can take a lot of consideration and planning to eat right. So I’ve decided that if we’re stuck out of the house, the following solution is a quick fix.

Wendy’s offers a 1/2 lb. Double with Cheese for a fair price. Their burgers are 100% beef (although grain-fed, which many Paleo fanatics would say is a no-no) and only have a little salt added. The burger has one slice of cheese, sandwiched (pun intended) between the two patties. This means you can toss the bun, peel the patties apart, and put the condiments in the middle with minimal mess. I got it without sauces since we have high-quality and paleo-friendly ketchup and mayo at home. The cheese is high in sodium and has a little soy in it (cultured milk, water, cream, sodium citrate, salt, sodium phosphate, citric acid, sorbic acid, artificial color, enzymes, soy lecithin to keep the slices from sticking).

I’d prefer In-N-Out any day, but for where I live, this is probably the best burger (tasting and health-wise) option in a pinch. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was delicious. I can see this becoming a once-a-month treat in the future. I’ll most definitely be inspecting Arby’s and Chipotle next.

Full Wendy’s nutrition info here.