When I first started Bob’s Burgers—the animated Fox comedy about a weird and loving family who owned a struggling burger restaurant at the Jersey shore—a couple of years ago, I had a couple of thoughts. One, it was consistently funnier than I ever expected it to be. Two, I wanted one of those crazy Burgers of the Day.
Rarely shown but always named (except for that one episode where they temporarily disappeared), the Burger of the Day is one of the show’s running gags. The names—which are almost always food puns—appear on the chalkboard hanging near the cash register in every episode just like the revolving owners of the building next to Bob’s Burgers and the rat vans in the opening sequence. The burger names are punchy, cheesy, the puns have the right amount of dad-level humor, and they can get especially silly if Louise Belcher gets her hands on the chalkboard. The puns themselves are created by the show’s writers, and according to Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, it’s one of the main things they’re required to come up with when writing an episode. They’re just as much a background joke as they are insights into Bob Belcher himself.
And that’s only scraping the surface when it comes to the delightfulness of Bob’s Burgers itself. It just wrapped up its sixth season on Sunday with at least two more on the way (with no signs of stopping), but it still has the feel of an underground show in part because its rise in popularity came from word of mouth. The versatility of Bob’s Burgers makes it perfect fanart and mashup fodder. It has sold out concert halls on its live tour, which includes a table read, a Q&A, and standup from the main cast. Tina Belcher is the awkward, feminist hero we’ve been craving. And it even inspired Cole Bowden to start the Bob’s Burgers Experiment, a Tumblr blog where he documented and strived to create every Burger of the Day shown in Bob’s Burgers, which now number in the hundreds.
All Bowden had to go on were the names as he started to tackle the Burgers of the Day, and soon enough, Bouchard noticed. He mentioned Bowden’s blog in a 2014 interview with Vulture, saying, “That is my dream come true as it pertains to these burgers—or, I should say, my dream come true would actually to put out a Bob’s Burgers cookbook based on the Burgers of the Day.”
An official Bob’s Burgers cookbook was announced in January 2015, which was a collaboration between Bouchard, the other Bob’s Burgers writers, and Bowden, and it received additional confirmation in August. Soon enough, the burgers they named and created strictly as puns would really come to life—and we’d all be Teddy, one of the Belchers’ few regular customers.
“For those of us who worked on the show and followed him, Cole’s culinary ambition was thrilling, and his chutzpah was and is inspiring to say the least, but when you read his recipes it becomes clear that primarily what he brings to the table is imagination,” Bouchard wrote in the Introduction of The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers.
And now Bob’s Burgers are a reality. The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book is as bright, colorful, and humorous as Bob’s Burgers itself, and the book captures the tone of the show wonderfully. Many of the burger names rely on cheese puns, and sprinkled throughout are witty comments such as discouraging the use of “no-purpose flour,” informing us that “stretchy mozz rhymes with sketchy thoughts,” and advising us not to touch our belly buttons after handling habanero peppers because well, you never know.
For burger and French fry novices, the cookbook offers a basic guide to making your own burgers and fries—it even bolds the most important steps in the paragraphs for those who skim over it—and many of the recipes are geared toward beginners. Essentially, if you can grill a burger and put it together you’re pretty set, although some of the recipes can be somewhat sparse in their specificity. Most of the ingredients are available in your local grocery store, and if it’s more of a delicacy, like the black garlic in the Bet It All On Black Garlic Burger, it’ll inform you where you can buy it.
On the other hand, it doesn’t seem as though the recipes are in any sort of order such as organizing by episode appearance or the type of cheese used, so if you find a recipe and want to come back to it, it’ll take some flipping through unless you’ve already marked down the page. If non-beef or vegetarian recipes are more your speed, they’re at least grouped together toward the back of the book.
The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book was released in March, and fans have gradually discovered it, like the show itself. But now we’re putting it to use for one of the biggest days of the year for burgers and the people who cook them—Memorial Day.
Bob’s Burgers are supposed to be excellent despite his business constantly being on the brink of failure; on the other side of the coin, Bob’s neighbor and rival Jimmy Pesto runs a successful yet tacky Italian restaurant, but his food is terrible. How do they fare in the real world?
I recruited my Daily Dot colleagues to take on several of the recipes. They may be joke burgers, but the deliciousness is more than real.
Cheeses Is Born Burger
Season 5, Episode 6: “Father of the Bob”
This burger is an efficient monster you can make in about 35 minutes. It’s a savory lover, loaded in gooey textures that parachute down your windpipe: Jarlsberg and Swiss slices, molasses-brown gravy, sauteed mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes, brown mustard. Only crispy lettuce and a thick bun balance out the protein-shake gob of hot lovin’. The burger is a revelation that’s difficult to botch in the kitchen. (Used a pan, as both of my backyard grills harbor spiders.) The caveat, of course, is that it features hot-button flavors difficult to unanimously please even a cookout of four. It’s also heavy enough that it only pairs well with water and absolutely no fries, dear God are you mad? But if the profile is your shade, ingredients will run you about $27 (even if you spring for the $10, grass-fed patties) and you’ll eat with the fury of a spelling bee champ all weekend. —Ramon Ramirez
Parma Parma Parma Chameleon Burger
Season 4, Episode 20: “Gene It On”