Friday, November 06, 2020

Hamburger: The history of Hamburg steak

There is a history that in late eighteenth century, the largest port in Europe was in Germany. Sailors who visited port brought special food called “Hamburg steak” as a popular usage. Hamburg steak was a hard slab of salted minced beef, often slightly smoked, mixed with onions and breadcrumbs.

In the early 1800s German immigrants who settled along the Ohio River brought along their recipes for beef cooked in the style of Hamburg, Germany’s largest seaport.

It was one of the biggest ports on the transatlantic route to America. The majority of immigrants heading for the “New World”, to New York, would embark here. In the Big Apple, various restaurants would offer beef fillets in the Hamburg style in the hope of attracting German sailors to dine.

In 1834“Hamburger Steak” was listed at 10 cents, one of the costliest items on the menu, at Delmonico’s in New York.

The Boston Journal in 1884 quoted a local chef’s reference to chopped “Hamburg steak,” the first published reference to the beef patty.

Although the hamburger wasn’t called “fast food” then, the first business that can accurately be called a fast food restaurant was White Castle, which began in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. It sold hamburgers for five cents each.

Their burgers were different from today’s version: they were cooked with onions and they were smaller, so most customers ate more than one at meal.

The hamburger grew in popularity during the 20th Century along with the rise of the fast food industry, taking on a special symbolism throughout the century.
Hamburger: The history of Hamburg steak