A cheeseburger is a
hamburger with cheese on top of
the patty. The term itself is a portmanteau of the words "cheese" and
"hamburger." The cheese is usually sliced, then added a short time
before the hamburger finishes cooking to allow it to melt. Cheeseburgers
are often served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and condiments
such as mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup.
Cheeseburgers were invented by Lionel Sternberger in 1924,
a 16-year-old fry cook who experimentally
dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger while working at his
father's sandwich shop in Pasadena, California.
In the years after Sternberger's grilling, other restaurants made the claim they
invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville,
Kentucky claimed to have invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a
trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty
Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.
In fast food restaurants, the cheese that is added to a
cheeseburger is typically American cheese, but there are many other variations.
Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, blue cheese, and pepper jack are popular choices.
The cheese in a cheeseburger substantially changes its nutritional value. For
example, a slice of Cheddar can add as many as 100 calories and 5 grams of
saturated fat to a burger. Other types and amounts of cheese would have varying
effects, depending on their nutritional content.