Ask a passerby to list a few of what they consider to be the most classic foods in America, and there’s little doubt you’ll find “hamburger” on that list. Whether the tasty meat is prepared with cheese, onions, tomatoes, or a special sauce, citizens throughout America love the taste of a hamburger fresh off the grill. As with many things consumed on a regular basis, not much thought may be given towards the historical origin of those foods– but that very history can at times make the meal even more appealing. The hamburger has been on a journey throughout the years, journeying over land and seas to make it to the plate in front of you today:
The Coveted Hamburg Steak
The early origins of the hamburger did not start in the country of the United States, contrary to the belief of some. In the late eighteenth century, ports located in the city of New York were familiar with the foreign delights from lands across the sea. Foreign sailors making the journey from Germany revealed one of their favorite dishes to hungry Americans: a meal they called the “hamburg steak,” beef cooked with special spices and seasonings and named after the place of its origin, Hamburg, Germany.
To satisfy the hunger of the German sailors when visiting their American ports, merchants in New York decided to set up various food stands offering the specially cooked beef– but the German visitors were not the only ones to enjoy the unique taste. Before long, restaurants all throughout the country were offering beef cooked the Hamburg way to patrons.
The Sandwich Transformation
Like any good origin story, some of the details are a bit murky in the history of the hamburger. When it comes to the question of who specifically was the first person to come up with the idea of putting the hamburg steak between two pieces of bread, many individuals have jumped up to claim that they were the one responsible for the modern hamburger. While there’s no way to know for certain if the first hamburger was made in Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut, or Texas, one thing is clear: the culinary invention caught on like wildfire, spreading across America at an amazing rate.
Throughout the years, the hamburger has undergone further imaginative transformations– from pretzel buns to turkey burger variations that seem to alter the taste into a whole new sensation. The next time you reach for the American classic at a place like Zac’s Burgers, remember the Hamburg steak… and thank the German sailors for their addition to your menu.Learn More