First off, let’s get a few things straight and define what a hamburger really is: a perfect marriage between a beef patty and a bun. Sliced bread is for sandwiches and patty melts. Bona-fide burgers require a carbohydrate complement specially engineered to absorb the meat juices of the patty and any toppings thereon. That said, as with many food origin stories, the hamburger’s beginnings are hazy; however, author Josh Ozersky did some serious detective work into tracing how this food came to be in his simply-title book The Hamburger: A History.
The origin of the hamburger is not very clear, but the prevailing version is that at the end of 1800′ s, European emigrants reached America on the ships of the Hamburg Lines and were served meat patties quickly cooked on the grill and placed between two pieces of bread.
According to the Library of Congress, Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut served minced beef patties between slices of bread in 1895. Another story places the birth of the hamburger a decade earlier and in Seymour, Wisconsin. It is said that, in 1885, “Hamburger Charlie” Nagreen, when having little success at selling meat balls at a county fair, decided to put them between two pieces of bread to make it easier to eat them on the move. Finally, the Menches Brothers claim to have invented the dish at a 1885 county fair in Hamburg, New York. As the story goes, the brothers ran out of pork for their sausage patty sandwiches and cooked up a minced beef sandwich, flavoured with coffee and brown sugar, instead.
Whichever may have been the first, the hamburger rapidly gained popularity. In 1904 it was presented at the St. Louis World’s Fair, and in 1916 Walter Anderson, a fry cook from Kansas, invented a bun specially for hamburgers. Five years later he co-founded White Castle and the world’s first burger chain was born.
A century later, hamburgers are sold all across the world in countless variations. They are a staple food of fast food joints and high-end restaurants alike. In the USA alone, an estimated 50 billion burgers are eaten every year, that is 3 per american every week. Burgers make up 40% of all sandwiches sold and account for over 70% of beef served in commercial restaurants.
Despite attempts during World War One to rebrand the unpatriotic ‘hamburger’ as a ‘liberty sandwich’, it has continued to carry the name of Hamburg, the city from where the minced beef patty began its world domination.
According to theculturetrip.com; smithsonianmag.com. Source of photos: internet