One hundred and three hamburgers were consumed by one person in just eight inutes! Twenty-three-year old Joey Chestnut set that world hamburger-eating record in 2007. That’s a lot of beef to eat in one sitting, even considering the burgers were of the slider variety. I like hamburgers as much as the next person, but one per meal is enough for me.
Wonder where hamburgers got their name, or where they come from? Your bet may be as good as the next person’s as to who invented the hamburger. Its origins are hotly contested, and claims range from medieval Mongolia, to Hamburg, Germany, to New York, Texas, Ohio, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. Some of the controversy resolves when a distinction is made between a hamburger sandwich and a hamburger steak. Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York carried hamburger steaks on its printed menu as early as 1837. Some say they were meant to attract German travelers who arrived from the port city of Hamburg where a minced meat steak was common fare. But the waters get murky when you add bread or buns into the mix, with many claiming to have made the first hamburger sandwich. Until someone is able to produce some definitive proof of creation, the hamburger sandwich’s origin will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of our day.
The classic hamburger is made with ground or minced beef and served on a bun with the condiments of the consumer’s choice. These can include mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and mushrooms, and the list goes on. They are commonly served with French fries. But some people prefer sides of potato salad, mac and cheese, or macaroni salad.
These days all manner of burgers are available as creative chefs put their personal twists on this old standard. Like Greek food? Make a gyros burger. Deli food? Make a Rueben burger. Have dietary restrictions? Make a turkey or veggie burger, or serve it sans bun as a naked burger. These sandwiches make the perfect 15-minute meal.
If you love burgers—and who doesn’t?—put a smile on your face because it’s National Hamburger Week. To quote a noted seller of burgers, be sure to “have it your way!”