Burger, or hamburger, is the name given to a grilled beef patty that is served in a bun, along with condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, etc. A burger is usually accompanied with lots of French fries. With time, other ingredients, like potato, vegetables, fish and chicken, have started replacing the beef in the patty. Burger is a very popular fast-food of almost all the kids as well as college-goers. However, very few have every thought about the history and origin of the delicious patty. To get some interesting information on background of burger, read on.
History of Burger
The origin of hamburger is a bit hazy and unclear. This is because there is no proper documentation to give us an idea about how the fast food came into being. Still, many people have claimed that the hamburger 'patty' was first noticed in the medieval times. Tartars (a band of Mongolian and Turkish warriors) used to place pieces of beef under their saddles. Under the weight of the rider and the saddle, the pieces used to turn tender enough to be eaten raw. Thus was born the initial beef ‘patty’.
A food item resembling the present-day burger, to some an extent, reached America around the 19th century. The dish, called Hamburg style beef, was brought to Hamburg (Germany) from Russia in the 14th century and when the German immigrants arrived in America, they brought it along with them. With time, the raw, chopped piece of beef evolved into the ‘patty sandwiched in a bun’. Thus, it can be said that America had a major role in giving the world the hamburger, as we know of it today.
Though it is true that Americans are largely responsible for shaping the burger into its present form, there is a dispute as to who was actually instrumental in bringing about the change. Amongst the major claims are:
It has been claimed that Wisconsin is the 'Home of the Hamburger'. It is said that Charles Nagreen started a meatball business, at the Outagamie County Fair, at the age of 15. Since his meatballs were hard to handle while strolling around, the business turned to be a flop. It was then that Nagreen got the idea of flattening the meatballs and placing them between bread slices. In fact, it is also said that he was the one who gave hamburger its name.
Hamburger is also said to have originated in Stark County (Ohio), by Frank and Charles Menches. The claims say that Frank and Charles used to travel in a number of fair every year, selling sausage patty sandwiches. In 1885, while selling sandwiches at the Erie Country Fair (Hamburg, New York), they ran out of pork and decide to substitute ground beef for the same. Thy also named the new dish 'hamburger' after Hamburg, the place where the fair was being held.
Yet another claim traces the history of hamburgers to New Haven, Connecticut. It is said that Louis Lassen had a luncheonette in New Haven. One fine day in 1890, one of his customers was in hurry and had to eat on the run, so he ground up some beef and served it in the form of a sandwich. With this, was born the hamburger of the present times.
Last, but not the least, is the claim related to the St Louis World Fair (1904). A man named Fletch 'Old Dave' Davis, from Athens (Texas), decided to try something new one day. He grilled a raw hamburger steak to crisp brown and sandwiched it between two thick slices of homemade toast, adding a slice of raw onion on top. His patrons instantly fell in love with the dish & soon, its popularity increased to a large extent. In fact, it is also said that he was the one who served fried potato strips with hamburgers, at St Louis World Fair, for the first time.