There’s nothing better than a simple burger, is there? Burgers are one of the most popular foods in the history of the United States! These days, everyone knows about burgers. Americans eat millions of them a year, and drive-throughs and various franchises can be spotted everywhere across the country.
But how much do you actually know about the history of the burger? Whether you’re hitting up Wendy’s for one of their famous patties or eating what you swear is the best burger in NYC, there’s so much to learn about this food that we take for granted. The fact is, the burger was not always around. Read on to find out the interesting origins of this American food!
It turns out that the burger did not come from the U.S. originally. Instead, it finds its roots in Germany! Germany in the eighteenth century received a lot of sailors traveling across international waters. Sailors would frequently be going between Hamburg, which was the second-largest city in the country at the time. They were known for eating minced beef that was salted in slabs– it was convenient and tasty. It was called Hamburg steak.
Well, more and more Germans began actually moving to America permanently. They naturally brought their culture and their native foods with them. What was one of those foods? That’s right, the Hamburg Steak. For all of its charms, the Hamburg steak wasn’t the food that took off, but its eventual relative the hamburger certainly did.
It’s easy to forget that burgers aren’t really that new. Eating meat has been around for a long time– people have been eating meat in various cooking styles, seasonings and forms forever. But today’s burger… where did that come from? The stories actually vary, and it’s not certain who invented the burger. Some say that Fletcher Davis sold them at his cafe in Texas in the 1880s and showcased the burger at the World’s Fair in 1904.
Others say that Louis Lassen of New Haven, Connecticut invented the burger. He was said to have put cooked ground beef in white bread to help out a customer who was rushing and needed something he could eat on the go in 1895. Others assert that Charles Nagreen invented a burger, even though his was more like a meatball sub since he added them to bread. Oscar Bilby is also have said to served up the first burger in a bun in Tulsa, OK in 1891, while Walter Anderson invented the bun in 1916. Five years later, he would form the famous chain White Castle.
Either way, it seems that the burger’s invention and popularity evolved out of a combination of factors: Germans moving to a new country, the population getting busier and needing convenient fast food, and simply the climbing popularity of putting scrap meat between bread slices by immigrants. The burger’s invention was only a matter of time. Since bread was relatively cheap, putting ground meat between was somewhat affordable. As time went on, more toppings were added and the burger became a versatile national treasure that is still popular to this day.