Memorial Day weekend is here, and all across the country, grills are being prepared in celebration of the national holiday. With the number of barbeques planned, it’s only fitting that today also happens to be National Burger Day, but where did this barbeque staple come from?
According to holidaycalandar.com, it’s believed that the modern hamburger has roots in ancient civilizations. Egyptians would combine ground meat with spices and form them into patties. Genghis Khan’s Mongolian army placed patties under the saddles of their horses so that when they rode, the friction between the horse and the saddle would tenderize the meat. They then consumed the end product raw. Eventually, Russians adopted this raw beef idea creating Steak Tartare – a raw beef delicacy. During the 16th century, Steak Tartare would travel from Russia to Germany via trade routes from a Russian port to the port of Hamburg, Germany. And it’s there where it really began to transform itself into the dish we all know and love today. Hamburg Steaks, as they now were called, became popular among German sailors. These Hamburg Steaks were then introduced to the U.S by German immigrants that migrated there during the 18th and 19th centuries. From there, it transformed into the American hamburger.
Although the hamburger may not have originated in the United States, it has undoubtedly cemented itself in American culture. American GI’s during WWII tried to rename hamburgers as “Liberty Sandwiches.” Today, hamburgers account for almost half of all sandwiches sold. Americans consume over 50 billion burgers a year. McDonald’s sells 75 burgers each second, which equals 270,000 burgers an hour, and 6.48 million a day. The oldest burger chain in the United States is White Castle which some people believe to be the chain responsible for bringing the hamburger to the United States. During the 1920s, cheese became a popular addition to hamburgers. For more on hamburger history, visit the Burger Museum in Miami, Florida, or visit the Home of the Hamburger in Seymore, Wisconsin.
Stay safe this weekend and maybe consider eating a Liberty sandwich for the sake of National Hamburger Day and to remember those who gave it all for the Liberty we all enjoy.
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