The hamburger remains the leading entrée on the menus of most American restaurants. It would be almost impossible to find a restaurant or roadside joint that doesn’t serve up these juicy meat patties. The hamburger has become as much a part of our history as the Model T.
Food historians debate the origins of the hamburger. But according to Theodora Fitzgibbon in her book, “The Food of the Western World – An Encyclopedia of food from North American and Europe,” this unique meat dish came to the United States on the German Hamburg-Amerika line boats, which brought emigrants to America in the 1850s.
“There was at that time a famous Hamburg beef which was salted and sometimes slightly smoked, and therefore ideal for keeping on a long sea voyage. As it was hard, it was minced and sometimes stretched with soaked breadcrumbs and chopped onion. It was popular with the Jewish emigrants, who continued to make Hamburg steaks, as the patties were then called, with fresh meat when they settled in the U.S.” —Theodora Fitzgibbon
A worldwide love affair
Today, beef burgers are typically made from ground chuck, which is more flavorful and juicier than ground round beef. Here in the states, most burgers are served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and your choice of cheese. And depending on your preferences, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish are the condiments of choice to top these meat patties. The ingredients used in hamburgers can also vary depending on geographic local.
The love for burgers has been shared worldwide. There are numerous recipes across the globe, tracing back thousands of years, where ground meat was formed into patties. Australians like their burgers with lettuce, tomato, cheese, grilled onion, beetroot, bacon, fried egg and a grilled pineapple ring. Instead of ketchup, burgers are usually eaten with tomato sauce or a barbeque sauce.
In certain East Asian countries, rice burgers are available. Instead of bread, the bun is made out of rice. The Japanese like to serve their meat patties with avocados, freshly grated wasabi and vegetables on rice buns. As well as selling beef hamburgers, you’ll find more exotic selections, such as squid, pork, tofu and shrimp burgers in Asian countries.
For a leaner and less greasy burger, here in the states some people prefer more exotic meats like Bison as a substitute to the traditional beef patties. And with the recent health craze over the past few years, many restaurants have added turkey burgers to their menus. Ground turkey contains half the calories and fat as a regular beef burger.
Which popular condiment was originally made of anchovies, mushrooms, walnuts and kidney beans?
Answer: Ketchup is correct. This was long before they started to use tomatoes. Ketchup is found in 97% of the kitchens in American homes. The average person consumes about three bottles a year!
My favorite burger joint
I’m always up for a savory hamburger. To narrow down my selection of good burger joints, I checked out the latest reviews posted on GrubHub.com to find the perfect patty.
I decided to go with Milwood Pizza, and I was not disappointed. Milwood Pizza not only serves gourmet pizzas but also burgers, sandwiches, pastas, salads, soups, flatbreads and desserts. Instead of going with a traditional burger, I went with the teriyaki burger.
This half pound Angus burger was drenched with sweet teriyaki sauce and topped with grilled pineapples, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. I’d also recommend their Southwestern burger, which is topped with guacamole, Pepper Jack cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo.
Through GrubHub.com, you can get free delivery when you order any size pizza. If you have a late-night craving, Milwood Pizza offers delivery from 4 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. Mondays to Fridays, and from noon to 2:15 a.m. on weekends.
Milwood Pizza, 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL