It’s a special week here at the Beacon Bolt, folks! This week we’ll be celebrating one of the most iconic foods out there: the burger. Burgers can be found just about anywhere; from fast food joints, fine restaurants, county fairs, sporting events and backyards, burgers are an integral part of American culture, and a definite favorite of millions. Nothing quite compares to the experience (or taste) of having a thick, juicy patty between a bun with ketchup, mayo, cheese, bacon, or whatever it is you think makes a burger perfect. To kick off our Beacon Burger Week I have compiled some of the most noteworthy burger facts and trivia. Enjoy!
- The burger has come to be seen as an “American” food, but you can actually trace the burger’s roots back to the 12th century with Ghengis Khan and the Mongol Horde. Often eating on the go, Mongol soldiers would pack ground meat shaped into flattened patties with them to be eaten raw while the army was on the move. Not exactly how we like to eat our patties nowadays. I wonder if the Mongols enjoyed them as much as we do?
- We can thank German immigrants for the burger making its way to our shores. We get the term “hamburger” from the German word “hamburg”. “Hamburg steak”, basically low grade shredded beef mixed with spices, was popular among German sailors and lower classes, and came to America with many of those people.
- The hamburger was officially unveiled in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair. In 1916 the hamburger bun was invented, which made the hamburger into a sandwich.
- White Castle is the world’s first and oldest burger chain. Its founder, Walter Anderson, was the inventor of the hamburger bun.
- 60% of all the sandwiches worldwide are burgers.
- The burger’s alternate name, the “liberty sandwich”, was coined during WWI because American soldiers wanted to refrain from using a name that had German roots.
- Burgers don’t have to be made out of beef, there are veggie, elk, turkey, and many other options. At Twisted Root Burger Co., a restaurant chain based in Texas, you can order Kangaroo, Llama, or Beaver burgers if the fancy strikes you.
- Seymour, Wisconsin is home to the Hamburger Hall of Fame, which celebrates burger history.
- Fast food critics like to point to the fact that you can leave a fast food hamburger patty out in the open for weeks and it won’t rot. From this they claim proof that the patties are pumped full of artificial preservatives and other nasty substances. The truth is that smaller patties will dehydrate before they can mold (think jerky) and therefore be able to last a long time before they deteriorate. Larger patties, however (say, a quarter pound), will mold and become inedible.
- In Australia, the Burger King restaurant chain goes by the name “Hungry Jacks”. In 2002, Burger King restaurants in the Middle East were the target of anti-American Protests. Rather than close their restaurants, Burger King reinforced all their buildings, making them bomb proof.
I pulled these interesting facts from the sources below. Look them up if you’re curious to learn more!
MSN.com “25 amazing facts about burgers”
whatscookingamerica.com “Hamburgers – History and Legends of Hamburgers”
timeout.com “The History of the Hamburger: an American Invention”
listverse.com “10 Strange Facts about Hamburgers”