just saw a great tv show on hamburgers. lotsa stuff i didn’t know. it all started with the russian tartars who actually put the meat under their saddles. as they rode, it was tenderized, mixed with horse sweat, and warmed. this is what we now know as steak tartar (i.e. raw hamburger). then, that idea traveled to the germans in the port city of hamburg. they took that concept and, as germans are apt to do, stuffed the meat into sausages. the name “hamburger” thus got its genesis from “hamburg sausages”. some english chick in the 1750s then wrote a famous cookbook with the hamburg sausage recipe, which travelled across to america.
it gets a little hazy here, but here’s the most popular story. it starts in my hometown of st louis, missouri. at the 1904 worlds fair, food vendors needed something that people could eat while they walked. holding a grilled piece of meat wasn’t the answer, so they stuck the meat between a couple slices of bread. genius! later in 1921, the hamburger chain/fast food idea started with the first white castle “shack” in wichita, kansas. 5 cents a burger! surprisingly to me, the home of “belly bombers” was the very first hamburger chain. even before the ubiquitous mcdonalds, which started up in the 40s in california. appropriately, white castles are still around in st louis, the birthplace(?) of the hamburger sandwich.