FOOD: The Burger That Conquered the Country

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Moreover, the quiet pleasures of retirement could hardly match the kick that Kroc, the unsuccessful piano player, gets from finally wowing an audience. "When you are in this business you are in show business," he says. "Every day is a new show. It's like a Broadway musical—if people come out humming the tune, then the show was a success." Today, Ray Kroc's show will play to standing-room-only crowds at more than 2,500 houses round the world. More than a few patrons will walk out, stomachs full, humming his tune: "You deserve a break today ..."

*Although the hamburger originated in medieval Europe, as raw beef shredded by a dull knife. Merchants from the Baltic carried the dish to Hamburg, where it is still popular both raw and cooked. German immigrants brought it, fried and bunned, to South St. Louis, and introduced it to the rest of the U.S. at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

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