The History Of The Hamburger


The modern history of fast food began in the US, in connection with the opening of the first restaurant in the form of an automaton, a cafeteria with a showcase and a mechanism for accepting coins, which in itself was a sensation. Since then, numerous machines have appeared in all corners of America and Europe and have become extremely popular. Companies have also actively popularized this invention, putting forward the slogan: "Less work for Mother". One of them,  “White Castle" earned quite a lot of money, opening a fast food point in Kansas in 1921, selling hamburgers for five cents. Among its innovations was to allow customers to see the cooking process. Since that time hamburger has become an ordinary dish for us, and we have never been interested in the history of its invention. Lets find out some interesting facts from the history of hamburger together.

Picture of burger grill

The Americans claim that they are the first who joined the two slices of bread and a steak of minced beef in the "hamburger sandwich", adding further the original ingredients, onions, lettuce and sliced ​​pickles. In this form, it is known today. Gradually, burger as well as the  "fast food" style of food itself has become easy to be associated with the United States. Along with the fried chicken and apple pie burger became a culinary symbol of the United States.

Either created in America or brought from Europe, hamburger as it is known today, without any doubts, has a number of stages of the invention, which took place in the period between 1885 and 1904. There had to be some prerequisites thus this sandwich has become so popular and spread throughout the world.

Firstly, technical progress has made the rapid industrial mechanical grinding of meat possible. The invention of the first grinder occurred in the early 19th century by German engineer Karl Drais. This invention made possible the production of minced meat in large quantities and at reasonable prices. Prior to that, the stuffing was prepared manually, using special chisels.

Secondly, there was the intensification of livestock production. By the end of the 19th century the United States became one of the world's largest producers and consumers of beef. The golden age of beef has come.

Third, the intensification of livestock put the problem of transport of meat products from rural areas to the city, as well as their storage. Refrigerator cars were invented, as well as various methods of packaging meat.

In addition, the original ingredients of a hamburger, steak and bread existed long before the invention of various culinary traditions of Europe and Asia and evolved with the course of history.

Let us return to Hamburg, which during the first half of the 19th century, established itself as one of the largest transatlantic ports in Europe, and became a center of freight and passenger traffic. During the European colonization of the America, it has become a kind of bridge between the old European recipes and the future development of the hamburger in the United States. Ships from Hamburg were coming mostly in New York. Various restaurants to attract German sailors, began to sell the Hamburg-StyleSteak. By the end of the 19th century, these steaks have become popular in many restaurants in the port of New York. Easy cooking, reduction of the cost of production of steaks to the end of the century, contributed to the growth in popularity of the Hamburg steak. The growth of its popularity can be evidenced by the appearance of the Hamburg steak recipes in various cookbooks. Steaks from Hamburg appear in menus of restaurants and are being served mainly for breakfast. We can say that this recipe crossed the ocean together with immigrants, as well as found its place in the New World.

It was the way hamburger steak appeared in the United States. "Hamburger sandwich" was invented by the chef, who was the first to put the steak between two slices of bread. It is difficult to determine who was the first who came up with the idea for a hamburger, because there is no written mention of its creation. There are only verbal descriptions and direct statements in the local press, as well as notarized statements made by potential inventors of the hamburger. This documentation simply underlines the difference between the terms "hamburger steak" and "hamburger sandwich".

All statements made by potential inventors of hamburger agree that the invention took place between 1885 and 1904. Despite the various stories about the origin of the hamburger, there are common elements in all the narratives, especially those, claiming that the appearance of a hamburger was related to major events, such as amusement parks, fairs, conferences and festivals. Secondly, in all the hypotheses, there are street vendors.

One of the possible fathers of hamburger Charlie Nagreen (1870-1951), Seymour, Wisconsin, who at the age of 15 years for the first time sold Hamburg steaks at the annual Outagamie County Fair. According to him, he began to sell steaks. However, they did not have much success, because people wanted to move freely throughout the festival, and did not want to stand at the counter. This gave him the idea to insert a hamburger steak between two slices of bread.

Another alleged inventor of the hamburger is considered to be cook Fletcher Davis (more commonly known as "Old Dave"), who claimed that the idea to put the stuffing between the bread came at the end of 1880 in Athens, Texas. Locals say that Davis was selling beef sandwiches all the time, without giving the name of his invention. Documentary about the homeland of hamburgers, which tells the story of Davis was shot in 1980.

Another potential creator of Hamburger is recognized German chef Otto Kuasw. In 1891, he created the very popular sandwich among sailors. It was made of beef, placed between two buns, which was served with a fried egg. The sandwich was named “Deutsches Steak”, which in translatio from German means "German beefsteak." Many sailors, who traveled between Hamburg and New York asked for similar "Hamburg-Style" sandwich in American eateries.

Some sources claim that the hamburger could be established in New Haven, Connecticut in 1895. A local newspaper says that Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant who came to America in 1880, sold butter and eggs on the street. In 1974, in an interview for the New York Times, he described how he created a sandwich hamburger steak with small strips of beef for the restaurant, known as Lunch Louis ( "Louis' Lunch"). Lassen Family called 1900 the year of the invention of a hamburger.

By the way, a hamburger - in English and German is an adjective meaning "Hamburg". The term "hamburger steak" was replaced with "hamburger" in 1930. It is currently used as a suffix for different hamburger options, including a cheeseburger, porkburger etc. There are other products, which are derived from the names of German cities - for example, Frankfurter. Yet it is a burger from the beginning of the 20th century and for the next hundred years, spread around the world. Its popularity is growing along with the popularity of other national dishes such as Turkish Doner Kebab, Italian pizza, Japanese sushi. This was largely due to the globalization of food. Now it is difficult to imagine our world without fast food restaurants, hamburgers, pizza and other culinary products of civilization.

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