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History Of Hamburgers

Mmm ... Burgers!

Sure, everyone knows that the hamburger comes from Hamburg and the frankfurter comes from Frankfurt (both are cities in Germany). What could be plainer? But it may interest you to know that while the meats themselves are German in origin, the idea of placing a hamburger or a frankfurter (better known as a hotdog) in a bun was American.

Burger Origins

The hamburger is a newer invention than the hotdog. During the middle ages, traveling merchants from Hamburg learned from the Tartars of the Baltic lands how to scrape raw meat and season it with salt, pepper and onion juice for what became known as "Tartar Steak." Many restaurants still serve a similar dish known as "steak tartare."

No one knows the name of the first cook to shape scraped or chopped beef into a patty and broil it, but we do know that the very first hamburgers were browned on the outside and almost raw inside. When the hamburger arrived in the U.S., it was eaten quite raw, the way the French, for instance, still prefer their meat.

The English and Irish were the first to cook their beef patties well done throughout. The English called the burger Salisbury Steak after Dr. James H. Salisbury, who in the 1880s recommended to his patients that they eat well-done beef patties three times daily, with hot water before and after, to relieve colitis, anemia and other illnesses.

You’ll still find Salisbury Steak on many dinner menus beside the hamburger. The difference? Well, many people buy chopped meat frozen in large plastic bags. To prepare hamburger patties, you need a tool like an ice-cream scoop to get the thawed meat from the bag and drop it on pieces of wax paper. The chef then forms the patties by flattening the lumps of chopped meat with a heavy object and making sure they are round in shape. For Salisbury Steak, an oval-shaped object is used to shape the meat patties.

American Patties

Burgers were first popularized in the U.S. by German immigrants settling around Cincinnati. But the first hamburger wasn't eaten between the halves of a bun until the early 1900s. The sandwich, meat of any kind placed between two slices of bread, has been with us since the 18th century – apparently, the sandwich was invented by a gambler named John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich, who stuffed his meat between bread slices so that he could eat right at the gambling table. Officially, the first “hamburger” sandwich appeared at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri (which also happens to be the birthplace of the ice-cream cone).

As for the modern hamburger we eat today, it’s taken on many new forms to suit different people’s tastes. Vegetarians, for example, can enjoy hamburgers even though they don’t eat meat by getting patties that are made of soy protein or vegetables. A Welsh zoologist has even been working on a high-protein burger made from rat meat. And other scientists with tainted tastebuds have proposed a hamburger made from cotton!

If the popularity of the hotdog has gone down recently, the hamburger is still a big hit. Chopped meat now accounts for about 30% of meat sales. And even though in the late 1920s many American dictionaries still didn’t include a definition for the word hamburger, it’d be really hard to find a restaurant, diner, coffee shop or roadside stand that didn’t have hamburgers on the menu today. Burger joints have been popping up all over Europe, too, led by a British chain called Wimpy's. And you'll have no trouble in Paris finding a McDonald's for "le cheeseburger.”

One Hundred Billion Burgers

McDonald's is a story in itself. A chain known as White Castle was the first to serve cheap, mass-produced hamburgers. Since then, hamburger joints have multiplied. Today, McDonald's is definitely the leader of the pack. Beginning with a stand in Des Plaines, Illinois, which raised its now-famous golden arches on April 15, 1955, McDonald's has grown into a huge corporation with well over several billion dollars in annual sales.

McDonald's sales average a billion hamburgers every year. To date, McDonald's has sold over 100 billion burgers. Stack them up, and you'd have 100 piles the height of the tallest buildings in the world. The McDonald's Corporation is run from a complex near Chicago called "Hamburger Central." Since 1968, new franchisers have been taught the ABCs of hamburgerology at a school in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, known at Hamburger University.

The McDonald's burger has not only spread from coast to coast in the U.S., it’s also multiplied globally. As of 2007, there were more than 31,000 McDonald's restaurants throughout the world. And yes, there's a McDonald's in Hamburg.

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Comments

corkiegirll

corkiegirll wrote:

lol
commented: Tue Feb 19, 2013

Neon Gummybear
I'm eating one now
commented: Tue Feb 19, 2013

mera6767

mera6767 wrote:

i love hamburgers now im hungry :)
commented: Thu Jan 03, 2013

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Dear Dish-It in the forums

tanaj952
tanaj952 posted in Friends:
I think we all go through it,  I am right now. Keep your chin up, smile on, and remember that to be mean these girls have to sink pretty low, and if they are bullying you, YOU ARE ABOVE THEM!!!!! Keep your friends close, never forget to be who you are (as cheesy as it sounds, thats what I did and now I am really happy with loads of friends. I also told a teacher, she sorted it all out pretty quick to.) . Last thing-tell a teacher. I did, and she talked to the mean girl. Now everyone knows I'm not afraid to do it, either. Bad times will pass, and good ones will come. Look after yourself. Xx. *virtual hugs*
reply about 9 hours
rainbowloomer13
rainbowloomer13 posted in Style:
somewhere in between. because I like sports and going outside. but I do care about the way I look sometimes.  
reply about 12 hours
Kirsteeeeen
Kirsteeeeen posted in Style:
Sure, I wear them a lot.  As long as you're not wearing the really tight kind, which should go with a dress or skirt or something, it's totally cool.
reply about 15 hours
Kirsteeeeen
Kirsteeeeen posted in Style:
Robotics t-shirt and yellow floral shorts.
reply about 15 hours
OverTheMoon
OverTheMoon posted in Style:
leggings
reply about 16 hours

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