July 15, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

Secret sauce of Moses Lake’s space burgers- The New Indian Express

4 min read

Express News Service

A UFO craze is sweeping America. The Pentagon reports alien aircraft being chased by USAF pilots. There is a tabloid tattle about captured aliens being studied in secret government labs. But in Moses Lake, a small lakeside city in Washington state, space-time comes every August. Space burgers are the flavour of the month at the annual Grant County Fair there: they debuted in 1964. The machines that make the burgers are hotter than Marilyn Monroe—they take just 30 seconds to toast to a crisp two slices of white bread, each at a blistering 400°F. Between the slices is a scrumptious mixture of seasoned ground meat, a secret sauce, and shredded lettuce. The space burgers get their flying saucer shape when the machines slice away the crusts in an oval formation. 

The machines are operated by the ladies of the local Lioness Club, who haven’t revealed the recipe for the sauce for over half a decade. Space burgers are so popular that visitors to the fair order 15 to 20 at one go. A food writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote in 1987, “There was this Space burger, a hamburger patty compressed between two slices of bread in a machine so that it looked like a flying saucer. I just went nuts over it.” The money raised from the sale of space burgers is enough to fund an entire year’s worth of community projects at Moses Lake. In 1994, the Lioness Club also created space scramblers: a breakfast sandwich loaded with eggs, ham, sour cream, and cheese. Unfortunately, they are an extinct race.

The machines creating space burgers

Every year before the fair, large amounts of secret sauce are made at the local Chico’s Pizza Parlor. The burger machines made their first appearance in 1962 at the Seattle World’s Fair. But its popularity, like that of the countless uselessly eccentric inventions at expositions, faded away until the enterprising Lionesses discovered two of them packed away in a basement, according to a piece in the Wenatchee World in 1995.

About 5,000 space burgers are made every day on five machines. The makers had put in potentiometers, which are useful to adjust the heat. These little guys will turn off the machine if it overheats and switch it back once the machine has cooled. There was an edible space needle—not to be confused with the Observation Tower in Seattle—once made at the fair, but has since been lost between the threads of time. The Martians don’t need to worry, so long as they land in Moses Lake in August. 

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