National Hamburger Day
Thursday, 28 May 2015, is "National Hamburger Day" in the United States.
In the culinary world, the humble hamburger sandwich is a relatively new creation. It had its predecessors, certainly, in steak tartare (invented by the Huns, from minced horsemeat), Salisbury steak, and Hamburgh sausage. But the Earl of Sandwich, an inveterate gambler, lent his name to the creation of a hand-held meal of meat between two pieces of bread, in the latter half of the 1700s. Hence, the ingredients of the modern Hamburg Sandwich were born: minced or ground beef, a spilt bun as bread, and a choice of condiments.
It is a subject hotly debated as to who has claim to the invention, but three enterprises can be credited with popularizing the "burger."
Fletcher "Uncle Fletch" Davis of Texas, took his version of the sandwich to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Missouri had a large population of German heritage immigrants, to which Davis sold his creation as a "Hamburger." It was extremely popular.
White Castle is credited with making the hamburger "fast food," in 1921. They created a small version of the burger called a "slyder," that did not need to be flipped, and originally sold for five cents.
In the 1940's, McDonalds took the assembly-line approach to cooking food, having in ready in just moments after being ordered. (They have since changed their fast philosophy.)
I note too, for the record, that the "cheeseburger" was the product of Pasadena, California - a wonderful variant that is even more popular than the original.
Burgers can be grilled, broiled, barbecued, deep-fried, and even steamed. Today they are served with a variety of fresh vegetables, condiments, and cheeses, on a variety of buns and breads.
I think my two favorite forms of the hamburger sandwich are the "Double-Double" from In-N-Out, and the Patty Melt, a staple of many diners.
How about you?
The Double-Double (animal style): two mustard-grilled beef patties, grilled onions, hand-leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, special "spread", dill pickle, American cheese, on a Puritan Bakery sponge bun.
The Patty Melt is a large grilled beef patty on grilled rye bread, with onions, dill pickles, melted Cheddar cheese, and mustard. Yum!