After securing a grant from the Plett Foundation and assembling a team that includes renowned historians Aileen Friesen, Ben Nobbs-Thiessen, Andrea Klassen, and Janis Thiessen, researchers have finally solved a mystery that had previously stumped Mennonite historians for decades – just who was the first person to think of putting farmer sausage in a hamburger bun?
“We’ve been combing the archives with the help of Conrad Stoesz,” explained Friesen. “We pulled out all the stops. Even brought Royden Loewen and Hans Werner out of retirement. We simply had to solve this mystery.”
After a painstaking 10 month investigation, the team uncovered a grainy black and white photo from a 1951 Winkler church picnic.
“It appears they’d run out of hamburger patties,” said Nobbs-Thiessen. “You should see the photo. Absolute chaos. Thankfully Mrs. Kroeker stepped in and began flaying pieces of formavorscht.”
While the photo was a pivotal step in solving the mystery, the team still needed more proof.
“Who’s to say another church picnic or faspa didn’t go haywire somewhere else … say Reinland or Kleefeld or Gretna?” explained Klassen. “We needed more than just a photo.”
Thankfully, the archives proved fruitful and produced a diary entry by Mrs. Nettie Unrau.
“’June 3, 1951. Today we tried something new. Farmer sausage in a hamburger bun. Can you believe it?’” read Thiessen. “‘The crowds were reluctant to try it, but Mrs. Rempel was the brave soul who took the first bite. She quite enjoyed it … and we always know to trust the palate of Mrs. Rempel. Soon others were putting their formavorscht in buns, too. I had never seen anything like it. Times sure are-a-changin’ here in Winkler.”
The news is so momentous that Royden Loewen is planning an archeological dig on the church lawn. Meanwhile film-maker Andrew Wall is already working on a 10-part documentary series about the origins of the farmer sausage burger.