Monday, March 17, 2008

1950s Hamburgers-15 cents. But for a nickel, you could get a


Remember the way Mr. George Gentry could take a pound of ground beef, add flour and seasonings and wind up with three pounds of a mixture to fry up in patties and put on a burger bun? Don't get the idea that there is a garden dwelling, crawling, slimy critter somewhere involved because of the name. That is definitely not the case. In Baldwyn years ago, the word "slug" meant something we would try in a coin machine and the slimy crawler was called a "snail". The burger's name is derived from the original price - a nickel - which was called a "slug".

I have eaten a few hundred slugburgers over the years, and when in Corinth usually stop at Borroum's Drug Store for one or two and an old-fashioned milkshake, both of them the best around. The slugburger is still available all over the three corners (MS, TN, AL) area. There are at least two suppliers that make and distribute the mixture and vary a little on the spices for a certain restaurant. In Baldwyn it is called a "doughburger" and if you order a slugburger you get a frown but they know what you mean.

The burgers are made quite differently these days using soy grits as filler instead of flour and meal. Mr. Gentry made his really good, but when he moved to his new restaurant on south Second Street, Jake Lindsey moved his cafe into that building and the "mealburgers", as he called them, weren't as good.

The little burgers are so well liked by so many folks that there is a slugburger festival in Corinth during the Summer each year. It is a really big event with live bluegrass bands and the works.

A better explanation and a history of the slugburger is at:

It is told that a customer at Gentry's was eating a bowl of beef stew and found a bug in it. "Scram" grabbed it and hurriedly took it away. He told the customer never to say anything about it to anyone - they would want one in theirs, too...

Bon Appetit....

Photo of Slugburger courtesy of Linda
Stradley, on the web site What's Cooking America.


  1. P.S.

    I always thought they went down better with a Nugrape "soda".

  2. You can get a really good one at the cafe near the entrance to the park, south of Tishomingo on highway 25.
    I love 'em.


  3. ...well remember eating those burgers for Saturday lunch when working at Hopkins....also enjoyed the 'shakes....

  4. I remember Grand-Daddy's (George Gentry) dough burgers from the cafe on South Second St. I'm not old enough to remember the cafe on the corner above Hopkins Grocery.
    Becky's family and my family know them as "Scramburgers". (Daddy cooked them for us) It was always exciting to smell them cooking! I try to carry on the tradition and serve them once in a while.
    Had never heard the "bug in the stew" story, but I can just see my Daddy saying that.
    Do any of you remember the dances he used to have for the teenagers?? I can remember you could play the jukebox without paying. It was fun to watch!

  5. Carl, this website is as good if not better than the other. I have been reading and can recount some of the things, more especially the Guntown train wreck.
    You may or may not know I am from Birmingham Ridge, went toschool at Saltillo and then on to Fulton.
    I have enjoyed slugburgers all my life and intend to do so the rest of it.

    Petersen Painting, LLC

  6. Bobbie wrote:
    Becky's family and my family know them as "Scramburgers"

    That's a word I had forgotten, thanks for bringing it up! Gentry's Cafe was a great place to eat. Mr. George sold some good meat and steaks over the counter, too.

    Once, my dad and I told Scram about a burger that we got at Vernon's Steak House in Tupelo. It was a burger that had a sausage pattie instead of the beef. Scram made some and they were really tasty, thanks to his dad's excellent sausage. I think anyone could get a sausage burger on request, and I ate a lot of them.

    Don't remember the dances, but I'm sure there are others that do. Thanks for the memories.

  7. The discussion of "slugburgers" and "doughburgers" reminds me of a line in William Faulkner's novel, The Town. Flem Snopes, an unscrupulous businessman, has moved into town from the country and opened up a greasy spoon cafe (and with that foothold will eventually go on to become president of the bank). One day his cook at the cafe says: "Ain't we supposed to be selling beef in these here hamburgers? I don't know jest what this is yet but it ain't no beef."

    In Booneville we got our doughburgers at the Von Playhouse, the pool room that had previously been the Von Theatre (where Elvis occasionally performed). Charlie Duncan could cook a good burger, and he could shoot a pretty good snooker stick as well. I was fairly good myself, but the best snooker players in Booneville in my time were Cob Jarvis (when he was back in town for a visit) and Lefty Johnson (an outstanding basketball player at New Site). Enjoying a good doughburger between snooker shots--now that was the life!

  8. Snooker was my favorite poolroom game too, Bobby. It took a lot of practice, but was more challenging. It cost twice as much for the loser to pay for the game.

  9. Bobby, Carl, wish we could have teamed up in the old days. I played snooker from the Big Apple to Colorado and two continents before "Uncle Arther" made it unpleasant.
    Remember big Bruce Putt? He taught me the basics and I learned the rest in the school of hard knocks. In fact, I think I spent more time in the pool room at Fulton than I did at IJC.
    Sure miss those days...

  10. MC, someone brought up Bruce's name a while back. I believe they said he was in East Tennessee somewhere and was in very bad health.

    JOE C, was that you telling that?

    I certainly do remember him, I tackled him once in a football practice game. Don't know till this day what compelled me to even attempt it. Still wonder how I did it!

  11. Carl, I sure would love to know that Bruce is still living. I have him dying in Houston, Texas Sept 10, 2000. He had a brother Russell Eugene Putt who died in Texas Dec 31, 2002 and Bruce is not listed among the survivors.

    In sixth grade I made the mistake of accepting an offer to wrestle Bruce with him on his knees and me standing. The outcome should have been obvious to me. He was like a Sherman Tank!

  12. Carl, it wasn't me that told you about Bruce Putt. I asked Bruce Hurt, who married and divorced his sister Sandra Putt, about him but never got an answer. Bruce had a stroke and is now in nursing home in Nashville, couldn't attend his mother's funeral. If anyone ever sees R.E. Shaw's family, who live in Baldwyn, they would know about Bruce Hurt. Before his stroke, Bruce Hurt told me that Sandra and at least one of their kids had ended up in Denver

  13. Thanks, Joe. I evidently had the two mixed up. My memory (short term) is not as good as it used to be.

    I stand corrected! I believe Milton has the correct information on Bruce Putt.

    Thanks to all you guys for your input.