A National Award-winning Burger


2/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup Zinfandel wine
1/4 cup lightly packed minced fresh basil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup fine fresh Italian bread crumbs
8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic salt
6 large seeded sandwich rolls, split
vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack
8 fresh basil sprigs, moistened with water for tossing onto the fire
6 slices Monterey jack cheese
red leaf lettuce leaves
6 large tomato slices, about 1/4 inch thick
paper-thin red onion slices, separated into rings
fresh basil sprigs (optional)


  1. In a grill with a cover, prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat cooking. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and pesto. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the sirloin, Zinfandel, minced basil, minced onion, bread crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic salt to taste. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Mix well and divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions. Form the portions into round patties to fit the rolls.
  3. When the fire is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Toss the moistened basil sprigs directly onto the coals, then place the patties on the grill, cover, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
  4. With a wide spatula, turn the patties and cook until done to preference, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare.
  5. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly and top each patty with a cheese slice to melt.
  6. Spread the mayonnaise on the toasted rolls. On the bottom half of each roll, layer the lettuce, burger, tomato slice, and onion ring. Add basil sprigs, if desired, and cover with the roll tops.

Makes 6 burgers.

Source: James McNair’s Burgers

An Animated History of the Hamburger

Food historian George Motz and animator Jorge Corona take you on a hand-drawn historical journey, done entirely on burger wrappers.

Watch video at You Tube (1:53 minutes) . . . .

Read more . . . . .

This is the Story of the Hamburger . . . .

Sunday Funnies

Study Shows Benefits of Multi-tasking on Exercise

Who says you can’t do two things at once and do them both well?

A new University of Florida study challenges the notion that multi-tasking causes one or both activities to suffer. In a study of older adults who completed cognitive tasks while cycling on a stationary bike, UF researchers found that participants’ cycling speed improved while multi-tasking with no cost to their cognitive performance.

Results of the study, which was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, were published May 13 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The discovery was a surprise finding for investigators Lori Altmann, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at the College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Chris Hass, an associate professor of applied physiology and kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Performance. They originally set out to determine the degree to which dual task performance suffers in patients with Parkinson’s disease. To do this, the researchers had a group of patients with Parkinson’s and a group of healthy older adults complete a series of increasingly difficult cognitive tests while cycling.

“Every dual-task study that I’m aware of shows when people are doing two things at once they get worse,” Altmann said. “Everybody has experienced walking somewhere in a hurry when the person in front of them pulls out a phone, and that person just slows to a crawl. Frankly, that’s what we were expecting.”

Participants’ cycling speed was about 25 percent faster while doing the easiest cognitive tasks but became slower as the cognitive tasks became more difficult. Yet, the hardest tasks only brought participants back to the speeds at which they were cycling before beginning the cognitive tasks. The findings suggest that combining the easier cognitive tasks with physical activity may be a way to get people to exercise more vigorously. The researchers plan to make this a topic for future research.

“As participants were doing the easy tasks, they were really going to town on the bikes, and they didn’t even realize it,” Altmann said. “It was as if the cognitive tasks took their minds off the fact that they were pedaling.”

During the study, 28 participants with Parkinson’s disease and 20 healthy older adults completed 12 cognitive tasks while sitting in a quiet room and again while cycling. Tasks ranged in difficulty from saying the word ‘go’ when a blue star was shown on a projection screen to repeating increasingly long lists of numbers in reverse order of presentation. A video motion capture system recorded participants’ cycling speed.

Their cycling speed was faster while performing the cognitive tasks, with the most improvement during the six easiest cognitive tasks. Cognitive performance while cycling was similar to baseline across all tasks.

The reasons for participants’ multi-tasking success most likely include multiple factors, the researchers say, but they hypothesize that one explanation could be the cognitive arousal that happens when people anticipate completing a difficult cognitive task. Similarly, exercise increases arousal in regions of the brain that control movement. Arousal increases the release of neurotransmitters that improve speed and efficiency of the brain, particularly the frontal lobes, thus improving performance in motor and cognitive tasks.

“What arousal does is give you more attention to focus on a task,” Altmann said. “When the tasks were really easy, we saw the effect of that attention as people cycled very fast. As the cognitive tasks got harder, they started impinging on the amount of attention available to perform both tasks, so participants didn’t cycle quite so fast.”

Study participants with Parkinson’s disease cycled slower overall and didn’t speed up as much as the healthy older adults. That could be because arousal that stems from cognitive and physical exercise is dependent on dopamine and other neurotransmitters, which are impaired in people with Parkinson’s.

Altmann and Hass are currently studying whether multi-tasking benefits will extend to other types of exercise, including use of an elliptical trainer. They hope to eventually examine whether pairing mental tasks with exercise can lead to both cognitive and fitness improvements in older adults.

Source: University of Florida