Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why is Hamburger called Hamburger where there is No Ham in it?

I've found it very interesting, so I am sharing this with you, in case you are curious. I was curious before, but after finding this fact, I was satisfied. I have been asking my husband about it, but he doesn't know the answer either, so I did some research and found the answer, obviously :-). Now, it makes sense to me! Does this make sense to you now?

During a trip to Asia in the early 1800s, a German merchant - it is said - noticed that the nomadic Tartars softened their meat by keeping it under their saddles. The motion of the horse pounded the meat to bits. The Tartars would then scrape it together and season it for eating. The idea of pounded beef found its way back to the merchant's home town of Hamburg where cooks broiled the meat and referred to it as it as Hamburg meat.

German immigrants introduced the recipe to the US. The term "hamburger" is believed to have appeared in 1834 on the menu from Delmonico's restaurant in New York but there is no surviving recipe for the meal. The first mention in print of "Hamburg steak" was made in 1884 in the Boston Evening Journal.

The honour of producing the first proper hamburger goes to Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, WI. In 1885 Nagreen introduced the American hamburger at the Outgamie County Fair in Seymour. (Seymour is recognized as the hamburger capital of the world.)

However, there is another claim to that throne. There is an account of Frank and Charles Menches who, also in 1885, went to the Hamburg, New York county fair to prepare their famous pork sausage sandwiches. But since the local meat market was out of pork sausage, they used ground beef instead. Alas, another hamburger.

The first account of serving ground meat patties on buns - taking on the look of the hamburger as we know it today - took place in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair. But it was many years later, in 1921, that an enterprising cook from Wichita, Kansas, Walt Anderson, introduced the concept of the hamburger restaurant. He convinced financier Billy Ingram to invest $700 to create The White Castle hamburger chain. It was an instant success. The rest of the history, we might say, belongs to McDonald's.

And, no, a hamburger does not have any ham in it. Well, it's not supposed to. Hamburger meat usually is made of 70-80% beef, and fat and spices.


  1. hmmm, interesting. i've also heard that in early times they used square breads instead of hamburger buns. :D

    have a great week ahead.

    Mommy's Little Corner

  2. ahhaha...good question...:)ganon din naman sa hotdog eh...hehhehe!

  3. Interesting... hmmm.. I just know it now.. Thanks for posting Mommy Ces.

  4. you are right, Liza :-). do you know that i was craving for it today, but too lazy to go and get one hehehe

  5. you are welcome, Umma :-) didn't know it myself till i came acroos this online :-), now we know!



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