The History of the Hamburger
There is nothing more satisfying than biting into a fresh, perfectly cooked juicy hamburger. Just one look at any burger commercial and your mouth can’t help but water. After all, hamburgers are very important to the American cuisine. Barbecues and outdoor parties just wouldn’t be the same without them. Some even say that Krabby Patties, made famous on the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, look appetizing. So, where did the hamburger originate and who invented it? That person deserves a high five at the very least.
What’s in a Name?
The hamburger is said to have originated in the 1800s in Hamburg, a city in Germany. Well, hamburger meat became popular there (we’ll talk about the addition of the bun later). During the middle ages, traveling merchants from Hamburg were the first to season raw meat with salt, pepper and onion juice and then pan fry it. At the time, the hamburger we now know today was referred to as “Tartar steak” or “Hamburg steaks.” Interestingly, many restaurants today still serve a similar dish known as “steak tartare” or a burger without the bun.
The Hamburger’s Journey to America
The first person to prepare the first hamburger is unknown, as there are many conflicting theories as to who deserves the credit for the beloved food. What we do know is that America was introduced to it in the early 1900s. The popular story is that the first hamburger showed up in print in 1834 in America on the menu at New York’s Delmonico Restaurant. The “Hamburg steak” was a prominent item, and at 10 cents it was the most expensive item on the menu.
Once hamburgers hit the American scene it didn’t take long for the food to evolve. At the time, it was not served on a bun, and factory workers found them difficult to eat while standing. As a means of increasing the portability of the hamburger, a cook, who is sadly unknown, added two slices of bread to the sandwich and the rest is history. Fast forward to today and hamburgers are as American as apple pie and Bald Eagles.
Hamburger Fun Facts
- Doctors once advised their patients to eat these delicious sandwiches three times a week to ease digestive issues.
- During WWI, the US Government tried to rename hamburgers as ‘liberty sandwiches.’
- Hamburgers were once considered to be a poor man’s meal because of the faint knowledge of where the meat came from.
- The biggest burger ever made was 3,591 pounds.