The history of the hamburger

As the name suggests, the hamburger appeared in Hamburg, Germany. It originated from German immigrants to America in the 19th century, but its basic ingredient, ground beef, had already come a long way …

The first traces of the hamburger

You have to go back to the 12th century to find its trace. At the time, Genghis Khan (1155-1227), crowned “emperor of all emperors”, decided to conquer the world with his army of ferocious Mongol horsemen. The latter, straddling small, robust ponies, stay in the saddle for a long time before they can stop eating. They therefore get into the habit of carrying minced meat, placed under the saddle to tenderize it, and easy to eat with one hand while they travel.

In 1238, the grandson of Genghis Khan, Khubilai Khan, invaded Moscow, thereby introducing minced meat, adopted by the Russians under the name of “Steak Tartare”(Tartarus being the name for the Mongols). The enriched dish with onions and raw egg, before traveling throughout Europe. It passes in particular by the port of Hamburg, in Germany, where, at the end of the 18th century, it is already very popular.

The burger takes on America

In the middle of the 19th century , many Germans left the country for America, from the port of Hamburg. Ground beef steak is the main dish served aboard the ships of the HAPAG (Hamburg Amerikanische Paketfahrt Actien-Gesellschaft) , the shipping line that links Hamburg to the United States (Hamburg America Line). At the time, the meat to salt, mixed with onions and breadcrumbs and sometimes smoked, so that to preserve during the long crossing. The hamburger therefore crosses the Atlantic with immigrants. Meat stands in New York harbor attract German sailors with the slogan “steak cooked in the style of Hamburg” .

Jewish immigrants continue to prepare it this way and the recipe is spreading in America. From New York to California via the Great Lakes, Dakota, Iowa, and Colorado, the hamburger, which reminds immigrants of their country of origin, quickly becomes a sign of adaptation to the homeland of l ‘Uncle Sam …

The workers in factory canteens also eat hamburgers. However, several Americans dispute the authorship of this brilliant idea. Anyway, as of January 5, 1885 , a Washington newspaper mentioned in its columns the word “hamburger” to designate the famous Hamburg steak.

The start of fast food

In 1931, the Popeye comic strip welcomed a new character: Wimpy , whose particular sign was to adore burgers. Its popularity is such that a chain of hamburger restaurants exist, “Wimpy’s”. In 1978, its founder died and according to his wishes to close the chain of 1,500 restaurants.

In 1940, two brothers decided to set up a hamburger sales stand in San Bernardino. Maurice and Richard McDonald have the good idea to offer self-service to their customers and quickly become famous throughout California.

In 1954, a certain Ray Kroc, an electric mincer, wonders about a large order from California. During a tour, Kroc takes the opportunity to go to San Bernardino, to visit this big customer: he then discovers the modest establishment of the McDonald brothers and his long line of customers … Impressed by the speed of the service and the low price Ray Kroc offers these two buns filled with minced steak, ketchup, and salad. He leaves with a franchise agreement authorizing him to set up a chain of restaurants which he will name: McDonald’s. The concept will eventually conquer the whole planet.

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