I am a fan of local foods — not just local vegetables and the like, but dishes that were born in a particular area and have pretty much stayed there. The Horseshoe in Springfield, Illinois, and the Crownburger in Salt Lake City are good examples. A good source of little-known local foods is Atlas Obscura, which recently had an article about another local sandwich, this time the Guberburger, a specialty of Sedalia, Missouri. The Guberburger is pretty straightforward: a hamburger with lettuce , tomato, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. From the pictures, it appears that you add the peanut putter to the hamburger patty once one side is cooked, much as you add cheese, and let it melt a bit.
The Guberburger originated in the Wheel Inn, a drive-in that was shaped like a wheel.
The building was a local landmark until, as fans say, “some idiot at MDOT” decided to widen both of the adjacent highways. That cut into the Wheel Inn parking lot so much that it became tough to enter or exit, and, worse, left insufficient room in which to park a truck. Because of the idiot at MDOT, the Wheel Inn is gone, restaurant, distinctive building, and all.
The Guberburger lives on in Sedalia, however, including at Goody’s Steak Burger and Kehde’s Barbecue. Kehde’s sounds like an interesting place. Part of the restaurant is a vintage railroad car, where you can sit and enjoy a Guberburger, some wood-cooked barbecue, or a Posh Baked Potato. Here’s a video by Rural Missouri.
Sedalia has multiple attractions. The Guberburger definitely is one. The combination has possibilities. Consider the versatility of (a) hamburgers, and (b) peanut butter. Each goes well with mayonnaise and, as the King showed us, with bacon; but then what doesn’t go well with bacon? As if the lure of the Guberburger were not enough, Sedalia is the home of the International Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, there are several wineries in the area, and Pettis County is the home of the Jim the Wonder Dog Museum. (Jim the Wonder Dog was able to understand commands in any language, predict the gender of babies, and, most usefully, predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby.) Best of all, Sedalia is the site of the Missouri State Fair.
Everyone should attend state fairs and, for that matter, county fairs. Nancy and I try to go the Montgomery County, Maryland, Fair every year, mainly to see the livestock being shown by 4H members, local students’ arts and crafts, and the prize-winning fruits, vegetables, and baked goods. (Note, it is best to go in the opening days of the fair, as perishable items can get pretty nasty after a week or so.) Fairs also offer unparalleled opportunities to eat things that you never would or should eat elsewhere.
State fairs naturally offer a much greater spectacle than locals fairs. You get to see things like life-size butter sculptures of cows and other animals, huge live cows (10,000 hamburgers on the hoof!), and the sideshows. Did you ever see Zambura, the petite woman who changes into a 500-pound gorilla right before your eyes? While a 500-pound gorilla may sound dangerous, there is nothing to fear. Zambura is safely locked in an electronically sealed, escape-proof cage with titanium bars throughout the process. It would be impossible for the 500-pound gorilla to escape. The Zambura show is well worth seeing, and easy to find. Just look for people charging out of a tent, running for their lives.
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