Hello, dear reader! Are you ready to embrace the mouthwatering glory of the mighty hamburger? You better be, as we're diving deep into the delicious history of National Hamburger Day! Don't worry, we brought napkins.
It's national hamburger day on the 28th May.
As predictable as the gravitational pull around a black hole (but far less likely to swallow you whole unless you really overdo it), National Hamburger Day sizzles onto our calendars each year with 25926 online mentions, spiking on 28 May 2015. Named after the German city, Hamburg, where it was originally introduced as a Beefsteak à la Hamburg, it's been tantalizing taste buds across the globe for centuries.
The National Hamburger Day, unlike National Spongecake Day (Yes, there's a day for that too!), isn't recognized by any government bodies. Instead, it's celebrated by the people, for the people, and through the people (through their stomachs, to be precise). Where politicians and bureaucrats may falter, the People's Love for Burgers endures.
Over time, the hamburger has traveled the world in various forms. From the 'Slider' to the 'Whopper', we've celebrated National Hamburger Day with everything from fast food outlets to homemade grills. Mainly though, it’s one of the few national days that gives everyone an excuse to have a BBQ, whatever the weather!
In some grand act of unity, lovers of meatless alternatives have not been left behind. With the rise of meat-free patties, National Hamburger Day is for every carnivore, herbivore, and all the -vores in between. After all, what would a national day be if we didn’t all celebrate together?
During the 13th century, the nomadic Tartar warriors from Central Asia, known for their exceptional horsemanship, carried raw lamb or mutton under their saddles. This technique tenderized the meat, making it easier to consume on their long journeys. These patties were called 'shashlik' and were the earliest precursor to the modern hamburger.
In the 17th century, Hamburg, a bustling port city in Germany, became known for its beef. Hamburg's population consisted of many seafarers, who brought back the idea of raw or partially cooked minced beef. Locals started shaping this meat into patties, which they named 'Hamburg steak' or 'Hamburger' after their city. This marked a significant milestone towards the creation of the iconic hamburger.
In the 19th century, waves of German immigrants arrived in the United States, especially in cities like New York and Chicago. They brought with them the concept of Hamburg steak and began serving it in their restaurants. The dish gained popularity among Americans, who often enjoyed it served between slices of bread. This furthered the trajectory of the hamburger's evolution in America.
In 1885, a small lunch wagon called Louis' Lunch, owned by Louis Lassen in New Haven, Connecticut, started serving the first hamburger sandwiches. These original hamburgers were made with broiled beef patty, placed between two slices of toasted bread. This marked a pivotal moment as it established the hamburger sandwich as we know it today.
In 1921, the first White Castle restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas. It was the first fast-food chain dedicated to hamburgers. White Castle standardized the hamburger by using thin, square-shaped beef patties. Their innovative assembly line cooking method ensured fast service and helped establish the fast-food culture in America.
In 1948, the McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino, California, introduced the 'Speedee Service System.' Developed by the McDonald brothers, this system emphasized speed and efficiency in food preparation, further revolutionizing the fast-food industry. The McDonald's franchise focused on offering consistent and quickly served hamburgers, leading to their widespread popularity.
In the late 20th century, hamburgers became a global sensation. Fast-food chains like Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC, along with regional variations like the Japanese teriyaki burger and Australian kangaroo burger, proliferated worldwide. Hamburgers became a staple of both fast food and gourmet restaurants, showcasing their immense cultural impact and culinary versatility.
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