The First Hamburger

Discussion in 'Good Eats' started by Bengal B, May 31, 2004.

  1. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    One day in the year 1900 a man dashed into a small New Haven luncheonette and asked for a quick meal that he could eat on the run. Louis Lassen, the establishment's owner, hurriedly sandwiched a broiled beef patty between two slices of bread and sent the customer on his way, so the story goes, with America's first hamburger.

    The tiny eatery that made such a big impact on the eating habits of an entire nation was, of course, Louis' Lunch. Today, Louis' grandson, Ken, carries on the family tradition: hamburgers that have changed little from their historic prototype are still the specialty of the house. Each one is made from beef ground fresh each day, broiled vertically in the original cast iron grill and served between two slices of toast. Cheese, tomato and onion are the only acceptable garnish -- no true connoisseur would consider corrupting the classic taste with mustard or ketchup.

    More than just another eating place, Louis' Lunch has held a special place in the hearts of New Haveners for generations. When it was threatened with demolition some years ago to make room for a new high rise, scores of people from all walks of life took up the cause for its preservation. Plans for its relocation were finalized just hours before the deadline and in a thirty minute journey by truck, the pocket-size landmark was moved to its present spot on Crown Street.

    To help in the reconstruction, friends and supporters sent thousands of bricks from every corner of the globe. Each one has its own unique story and Ken Lassen proudly points them out to special visitors as he takes them on a "tour of the walls".

    It doesn't take long for a lunchtime crowd to fill Louis' as it has every working day for more than three quarters of a century. Since most of the handful of seats are quickly taken, most of the customers just hurry in the door, yell out an order "to go" and hurry out again, taking with them a little bite of history.
     
  2. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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  3. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Early hamburgers were served between 2 slices of bread. Walter Anderson is the first person to invent the hamburger bun in the year of 1916.

    [font=Verdana,Arial]The average American consumes about 30 pounds of hamburger a year.[/font]
    McDonalds hires more people each year than the U.S. government or any other company.

    White Castle...a restaurant... invented the paper food prep hat.

    The drive-in restaurant concept, where patrons are served food in their vehicles, dates back to pre-World War II. The concept reached its height of popularity in the early 1950's. The first drive-in restaurant opened in Glendale, California in 1936.

    French Fry The original name for french fries was "potatoes, fried in the French manner" that is how Thomas Jefferson first described the dish. Jefferson introduced french fries to the colonies in the late 1700s. The Idaho Potato Luther Burbank patented the Idaho potato. Tater Tots On October 21, 1958, Tater Tots were trademark registered and eating potatoes was never the same.

    The origin of hamburger is unknown, but the hamburger patty and sandwich were probably brought by 19th-century German immigrants to the United States, where in a matter of decades it came to be considered an archetypal American food." The trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded in 1935 to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In, in Denver, Colorado.

    The first hamburgers in U.S. history were served in New Haven, Connecticut, at Louis' Lunch sandwich shop in 1895. Louis Lassen, founder of Louis' Lunch, ran a small lunch wagon selling steak sandwiches to local factory workers. Because he didn't like to waste the excess beef from his daily lunch rush, he ground it up, grilled it, and served it between two slices of bread -- and America's first hamburger was created.
    The small Crown Street luncheonette is still owned and operated by third and fourth generations of the Lassen family. Hamburgers are still the specialty of the house, where steak is ground fresh each day and hand molded, slow cooked, broiled vertically, and served between two slices of toast with your choice of only three 'acceptable' garnishes: cheese, tomato, and onion.
    Want ketchup or mustard? Forget it. You will be told 'no' in no uncertain terms. This is the home of the greatest hamburger in the world, claim the owners, who are perhaps best known for allowing their customers to have a burger the Lassen way or not at all.
    Library of Congress Local Legacies Project

    In 1921, Walter A. Anderson (a short-order cook) and E.W. Ingram (an insurance executive) founded White Castle in Wichita, Kansas. It is the oldest hamburger chain. They served steam-fried hamburgers, 18 per pound of fresh ground beef, cooked on a bed of chopped onions, for a nickel.

    The Big Mac was introduced in 1968. The price was 49 cents.

    In 1999 there were more than 25,000 McDonald's in 115 countries.

    Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers comprise 71% of the beef servings in commercial restaurants. (2001)

    Burgers account for 40% of all sandwiches sold. (2001)

    8.2 Billion burgers were served in commercial restaurants in 2001.

    65% of all hamburgers and cheeseburgers are consumed away from home. (2001)


    The record for the largest hamburger is held by Rutland, North Dakota. In 1982 the town made the World's Largest Hamburger, 3,591 pounds, which was consumed by some 8,000 people.

    The Hamburger hall of fame is located in Seymour, Wisconsin.

    Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania has offered a 6 pound hamburger, named Ye Olde 96er (6 pounds = 96 ounces) since 1998. It comes garnished with 2 whole tomatoes, 1/2 head of lettuce, 12 slices of American cheese, a cup of peppers, 2 whole onions, plus large quantities of mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. No one has been able to finish one.

    Liberty Cabbage was the alternative name created during World War I, used to refer to Sauerkraut, to avoid using words from the enemies language. A hamburger was referred to as a 'Liberty Sandwich,' and German Measles were 'Liberty Measles.'

    The word hamburger probably existed by the end of the Middle Ages. In 1802 the Oxford English Dictionary defined 'Hamburg steak' as salt beef. Referring to ground beef as 'hamburger' dates to the invention of the mechanical meat grinder during the 1860s. 'Filet de boeuf a la Hambourgeoise,' was sold in Boston in 1874, while Hamburger Beef Steak appeared on the Lookout House Restaurant menu in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mid-1870s. During the last years of the 19th century ground round or hamburger became associated with a hot sandwich, and early 20th century illustrations depict hamburger served on sliced white bread or toast. 'Hamburger Steak, Plain' and 'Hamburger Steak, with Onions,' was served at the Tyrolean Alps Restaurant at the 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair.
    The modern hamburger (on a bun) appears during World War I. The White Castle restaurant chain was established in 1916 at Wichita, Kansas and by the early 1920s sold hamburgers. Some scholars say the first hamburger served on a bun appeared in 1917 at Drexel's Pure Food Restaurant, Chicago. By 1920 hamburgers on buns were sold in San Francisco and Cincinnati, and by the mid-1920s, hamburgers were recognizable to most Americans.
    University of California, Davis, Nutrition Department
    http://www.lib.ucdavis.edu/exhibits/food/index.html
     
  4. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Why is a hamburger called a hamburger although it contains no ham?
    During a trip to Asia in the early 1800s, a German merchant - it is said - noticed that the nomadic Tartars softened their meat by keeping it under their saddles. The motion of the horse pounded the meat to bits. The Tartars would then scrape it together and season it for eating. The idea of pounded beef found its way back to the merchant's home town of Hamburg where cooks broiled the meat and referred to it as it as Hamburg meat.
    German immigrants introduced the recipe to the US. The term "hamburger" is believed to have appeared in 1834 on the menu from Delmonico's restaurant in New York but there is no surviving recipe for the meal. The first mention in print of "Hamburg steak" was made in 1884 in the Boston Evening Journal.
    The honour of producing the first proper hamburger goes to Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, WI. In 1885 Nagreen introduced the American hamburger at the Outgamie County Fair in Seymour. (Seymour is recognised as the hamburger capital of the world.)
    However, there is another claim to that throne. There is an account of Frank and Charles Menches who, also in 1885, went to the Hamburg, New York county fair to prepare their famous pork sausage sandwiches. But since the local meat market was out of pork sausage, they used ground beef instead. Alas, another hamburger.
    The first account of serving ground meat patties on buns - taking on the look of the hamburger as we know it today - took place in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair. But it was many years later, in 1921, that an enterprising cook from Wichita, Kansas, Walt Anderson, introduced the concept of the hamburger restaurant. He convinced financier Billy Ingram to invest $700 to create The White Castle hamburger chain. It was an instant success. The rest of the history, we might say, belongs to McDonald's.
    And, no, a hamburger does not have any ham in it. Well, it's not supposed to. Hamburger meat usually is made of 70-80% beef, and fat and spices.
    Why is a hotdog called a hotdog?
    In 1987, Frankfurt, Germany celebrated the 500th birthday of the frankfurter, the hot dog sausage. Although, the people of Vienna (Wien), Austria will point out that their wiener sausages are proof of origin for the hot dog. (By the way, ham, being pork meat, is found in hotdogs.) According to Douglas B. Smith in his book "Every wonder why?" the hotdog was given its name by a cartoonist.
    A butcher from Frankfurt who owned a dachshund named the long frankfurter sausage a "dachshund sausage," the dachshund being a slim dog with a long body. ("Dachshund" is German for "badger dog." They were originally bred for hunting badgers.) German immigrants introduced the dachshund sausage (and Hamburg meat) to the United States. In 1871, German butcher Charles Feltman opened the first "hotdog" stand in Coney Island in 1871, selling 3,684 dachshund sausages, most wrapped in a milk bread roll, during his first year in business.
    In the meantime, frankfurters - and wieners - were sold as hot food by sausage sellers. In 1901, New York Times cartoonist T.A. Dargan noticed that one sausage seller used bread buns to handle the hot sausages after he burnt his fingers and decided to illustrate the incident. He wasn't sure of the spelling of dachshund and simply called it "hot dog."
     
  5. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Have you ever wondered where the first hamburger on a bun came from? There is a dispute about who made the first hamburger and bun in America. Most of the following stories on the history of the hamburgers were told after the fact and are based on the recollections of family members. You be the judge! The claims are as follows:
    1885 - Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin, at the age of 15, sold hamburgers from his ox-drawn food stand at the Outagamie County Fair. He went to the Outagamie County Fair and set up a stand selling meatballs. Business wasn't good and he quickly realized that it was because meatballs were too difficult to eat while strolling around the fair. In a flash of innovation, he flattened the meatballs, placed them between two slices of bread and called his new creation a hamburger. Hamburger Charlie returned to sell hamburgers at the fair every year until his death in 1951.
    The town of Seymour is so certain about this claim that they even have a Hamburger Hall of Fame. Wisconsin now claims to be "Home of the Hamburger" and holds an annual Burger Festival in August of every year with a ketchup slide, bun toss, and hamburger-eating contest, as well as the "world's largest hamburger parade." In 1989 the world's largest hamburger (5,520 pounds) was served at the festival.
    1891 - Otto Kuasw was a cook in a restaurant on the waterfront in Hamburg, Germany, made a sandwich that the sailors who stopped at the port like very much. It was made with a thin patty of ground beef sausage fried in butter. A fried egg was placed on top of the meat and then placed between two slices of lightly buttered bread. This sandwich as known to the sailors as "Deutsches Beefsteak." In 1894, sailors who had been to Hamburg and visited the port of New York, told restaurant owners about Otto's great sandwiches and the restaurants began making the sandwiches for the sailors. It is said that all the sailors had to do was to ask for a "hamburger."
    1885 - The family of Frank and Charles Menches from Stark County, Ohio, claim the brothers invented the hamburger while traveling in a 100-man traveling concession circuit at events (fairs, race meetings, and farmers' picnics) in the Midwest in the early 1880s. During a stop at t he Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York, the brothers ran out of pork for their hot sausage patty sandwiches. Because this happened on a particularly hot day, the local butchers stop slaughtering pigs. The butcher suggested that they subsitute beef for the pork. The brothers ground up the beef, mixed it with some brown sugar, coffee, and other spices and served it on a bun. They called this sandwich the "hamburger" after Hamburg, New York where the fair was being held.
    The Menches family is still in the restaurant business and still serving hamburgers in Ohio.
    1900 - Louis Lassen of New Haven, Connecticut is also recorded as serving the first "burger" at his New Haven luncheonette called Louis' Lunch Wagon. Louis ran a small lunch wagon selling steak sandwiches to local factory workers. A frugal business man, he didn't like to waste the excess beef from his daily lunch rush. It is said that he ground up some scraps of beef and served it as a sandwich, the sandwich was sold between pieces of bread, to a customer who was in a hurry and wanted to eat on the run. Kenneth Lassen, Louis' grandson, was quoted in the September 25, 1991 Athens Daily Review as saying;
    "We have signed, dated and notarized affidavits saying we served the first hamburger sandwiches in 1900. Other people may have been serving the steak but there's a big difference between a hamburger steak and a hamburger sandwich."

    In the mid-1960s, the New Haven Preservation Trust paced a plaque on the building where Louis' Lunch is located proclaiming Louis' Lunch to be the first place the hamburger was sold.
    Louis' Lunch is still selling their hamburgers from a small brick building in New Haven. The sandwich is grilled vertically in antique gas grills and served between pieces of toast rather than a bun, and refuse to provide mustard or ketchup. Library of Congress named Louis' Lunch a "Connecticut Legacy."
    1904 - Most Texans seem to think that the real beginning of the hamburger was when Fletch Davis (1864-1941), also known as "old Dave." from Athens, Texas decided to try something new in 1904. He took some raw hamburger steak and placed it on his flat grill and fried it until it was a crisp brown on both sides. Then he placed the browned patty of meat between two thick slices of homemade toast and added a thick slice of raw onion to the top. He offered it as a special to his patrons to see if they would like it. Well, it didn't take long for word to spread that Old Dave had cooked up the best darn sandwich in Texas. At the urging of his friends and family, he opened up a concession stand and began selling the ground beef patty sandwich at the amusement area, known as The Pike, at the St. Louis World's Fair Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in 1904.
    In 1983, Frank X. Tolbert wrote the following in his book Tolbert’s Texas, The Henderson County Hamburger:
    "It took me years of sweatneck research before I finally determined, at least in mine and in some other Texas historian’s estimation, that Fletcher Davis (1864-1941), also known as “Old Dave” of Athens, in Henderson County, Texas, invented the hamburger sandwich."

    In 1984, a plaque was placed on the Ginger Murchison Building, approximately on Fletch Davis' cafe site.

    1916 - Walter Anderson from Winchita, Kansas, a fry cook, developed buns to accomodate the hamburger patties. The dough he selected was heavier than ordinary bread dough, and he formed it into small, square shapes that were just big enough for one of his hamburgers. He quit his job as a cook and used his life savings to purchase an old trolley car and developed it into a diner featuring his hamburgers. In 1921, Anderson co-founded the White Castle Hamburger with Edgar Waldo "Billy" Ingram, the oldest continuously running hamburger chain.
     
  6. bayareatiger

    bayareatiger If it's too loud YOU'RE TOO OLD

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    Man, if I wasn't hungry before, I sure am now.

    I can't wait for Snorton's take on your research, BengalB....

    :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:
     
  7. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Hamburger University

    Hamburger University is a 130,000 square foot training facility of McDonald's Corporation, located in Oak Brook, Illinois. The university was designed to instruct personnel employed by McDonald's in the various aspects of the business. The university has graduated over 70,000 managers and has 30 resident professors.



    Hamburger University was founded in 1961, at a McDonald's restaurant in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Class sizes today are over 200 students per class on average.

    The current dean is Diana Thomas.

    Fast facts about Hamburger University

    • Hamburger University is on an 80 acre campus.
    • 22 full-time international resident professors teach students from more than 119 countries.
    • The state-of-the-art facility includes 17 teaching rooms, a 300-seat auditorium and four special team rooms for interactive education.
    • Hamburger University translators can provide simultaneous translation of more than 27 different languages.
    • McDonald's trains so many people each year that they've surpassed the U.S. Army as the nation's largest training organization. Restaurant employees receive about 32 hours of training in their first month with McDonald's.
    • More than 5,800 students attend Hamburger University each year.
    • There were 85 weeks of classes conducted in 2000.
     
  8. Sourdoughman

    Sourdoughman TigerFan of LSU and the Tigerman

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    Bengal B, You have it all wrong!!
    Al Gore invented the first hamburger :hihi:

    Now, this is a quality post, nothing like a sense of humor around here. :lol:
     
  9. bayareatiger

    bayareatiger If it's too loud YOU'RE TOO OLD

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    Anyone interested in a SOURDOUGH hamburger bun? :)
     
  10. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Al Gore ate the first hamburger and accidentally invented the internet when some ketchup dripped out and fell on his computer.
     

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