The Invention of the American Meal

Nov 14, 2013

11/14/13 - Thursday's Topical Currents is a special Food & Dining edition with Linda Gassenheimer and food historian Abigail Carroll.  Carroll has written THREE SQUARES:  The Invention of the  American meal.  In early days, British and American meals tended to be one-pot doings.  The French introduced us to multi-course offerings. And how did popcorn become such a movie theater staple?  This and Fred Tasker's wine suggestions, on Topical Currents Thursday at 1pm.

~~Dinner in Minutes~~

Autumn Burger Sliders with Red Pepper and Sweet Potatoes

Using a microwave shortens the timing for this dinner and saves washing extra pots. Look for extra lean ground sirloin in the market. Ground turkey or chicken can be used instead of beef. 

Autumn Burger Sliders with Red Pepper and Sweet Potatoes

Helpful Hints:

  • Use 2 regular burger rolls if sliders aren’t available.



  • Start hamburgers.
  • Prepare ingredients.
  • While hamburgers sauté, make potatoes and red pepper.



1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion,1/2 cup coarsely chopped button mushrooms Salt and freshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons Dijon mustard2 tablespoons maple syrup3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (95 percent lean)4 whole wheat slider (mini hamburger rolls) rollsPlace onion and mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For stove-top, heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Mix the mustard and maple syrup together and set aside. Add half the mushrooms and onions and half the mustard mixture to the meat in a bowl. Blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 small hamburgers (about 3 inches in diameter. ) Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the hamburgers. Saute 2 minutes, turn and sauté 3 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees for medium rare. Place the burgers on the bottom of the 4 slider rolls. Spoon the remaining mushrooms and onions over the burgers and pour the remaining mustard mixture on top. Close the burgers with the tops of the slider rolls and serve 2 sliders per person. Makes 2 servings. 


1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 3/4-cups) 1 medium red bellpepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup) 2 teaspoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper Place potatoes and red bellpepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a plate. Microwave on high 5 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Remove cover and add oliveoil and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings. 

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight's Dinner in Minutes:

To buy:

  • 1 jar Dijon mustard
  • 1 package button mushrooms
  • 1 medium red bell pepper.
  • 1 bottle maple syrup
  • 3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (95 percent lean)
  • 1 package whole wheat slider (mini hamburger rolls
  • 1/2 pound sweet potatoes



  • onion
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black peppercorns