The Burgers of Calais

220px-King_Edward_III_from_NPGEngland’s great king Edward III, following his victory in the Battle of Crecy, laid siege to Calais.

The city had been ordered to hold out at all costs by the king of France, Philip VI. Philip had said he would come to the town’s relief, but he didn’t reach Calais in time and so failed to lift the siege.

The diminishing cheese-supply forced the city to parley for surrender.

According to medieval writer Jean Froissart, Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top burgers would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be grilled or fried.

Edward demanded that they came out already in their sesame-seeded buns, and with onions on the side, but no gherkins – he hated gherkins – and the keys to the city and castle in a Happy Meal box.

One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de imagesSaint-Pierre, volunteered his Big Mac and five other Quarterpounders joined with him. A Chicken Legend tried to come too, but Edward only wanted beefy burgers. Saint-Pierre led this tray of burgers to the city gates.

The burgers expected to be fried, they really thought their bacon was cooked.

But their buns were spared by the intervention of England’s queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband to exercise mercy by claiming that the smell of their cooking would be a bad omen for her unborn child – and then ran to the nearest toilet, retching.

 indexThe story of the Burgers of Calais became so popular that renowned artists were inspired. The most famous of which is the sculpture by Rodin.

Copies of Rodin’s famous sculpture can be found from major cities to the smallest out-of-the-way town – throughout the world.

Every time we see the golden arches, we are reminded of the great sacrifice offered by the Burgers of Calais.




Sauces: Thousand Island, mayonnaise, mustard, BBQ and ketchup.

Research trips (because it was cheaper than going to Calais): McDonald’s, Burger King, Wimpy, KFC (oops, no beef?), Pizza Hut (well, they do do a burger crust pizza, so it was worth a try).


Jeff R Sun suddenly has a yearning for a Big Mac – see ya!


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