May is National Hamburger Month, so I thought you might be interested to know a little history.
Tracing history back thousands of years, we learn that even the ancient Egyptians ate ground meat, and down through the ages we also find that ground meat has been shaped into patties and eaten all over the world under many different names.
In the late eighteenth century, the largest ports in Europe were in Germany. Sailors who had visited the ports of Hamburg, Germany and New York, brought this food and term "Hamburg Steak" into popular usage. To attract German sailors, eating stands along the New York city harbor offered "steak cooked in the Hamburg style."
According to the Library of Congress, Louis' Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, is the original American Hamburger, being served since 1895.
Burgers may be classified as two main types: fast food hamburgers and individually prepared burgers made in homes and restaurants. The latter are traditionally prepared "with everything", which includes lettuce, tomato, onion, and often sliced pickles. Coleslaw and french fries usually accompany the burger. Cheese (usually processed cheese slices but often Cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, or blue), either melted on the meat patty or crumbled on top, is generally an option.
Condiments might be added to a hamburger or may be offered separately on the side including mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup.
Other toppings include bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms, cheese sauce and/or chili (usually without beans), fried egg, scrambled egg, feta cheese, blue cheese, salsa, pineapple, jalapenos and other kinds of chile peppers, anchovies, slices of ham or bologna, pastrami or teriyaki-seasoned beef, tartar sauce, french fries, onion rings or potato chips.
Standard toppings on hamburgers may depend upon location, particularly at restaurants that are not national or regional franchises. A "Texas burger" uses mustard as the only sauce, and comes with or without vegetables, jalapeno slices, and cheese.
In the Upper Midwest, particularly Wisconsin, burgers are often made with a buttered bun, butter as one of the ingredients of the patty or with a pat of butter on top of the burger patty. This is called a "butter burger".
In the Carolinas, for instance, a Carolina-style hamburger "with everything" may be served with cheese, chili, onions, mustard, and coleslaw. National chain Wendy's sells a "Carolina Classic" burger with these toppings in these areas.
In Hawaii hamburgers are often topped with teriyaki sauce, derived from the Japanese-American culture, and locally grown pineapple. Waffle House claims on its menus and website to offer 70,778,880 different ways of serving a hamburger.
In portions of the Midwest and East coast, a hamburger served with lettuce, tomato, and onion is called a "California burger". This usage is sufficiently widespread to appear on the menus of Dairy Queen. In the Western U.S., a "California" burger often means a cheeseburger, with guacamole and bacon added. Pastrami burgers may be served in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In Minnesota, a "Juicy Lucy", or "Jucy Lucy", is a hamburger having cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts, resulting in a molten core of cheese within the patty. This scalding hot cheese tends to gush out at the first bite, so servers frequently warn patrons to let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before consumption.
Do you cook burgers at home or do you usually eat them at restaurants? What do you like on your your burgers?