My dad and I were talking about this today and I couldn’t help myself but to start pondering it. Have you ever wondered why the American cheeseburger normally comes with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle? Although this combination does taste good together, where did all this start and is it really necessary? Some of the things we put on our burgers is very unhealthy, like the cheese, mayonnaise and let’s not forget the extra serving of grease. Let’s explore this a little further…
Where did the Hamburger come from
Ok, now this is a mystery to everyone. There are actually many claims to fame on who actually invented the hamburger. Some say they were first served at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Supposedly they used the beef as a substitute for pork when they had run out. Others say it was served as an easy to eat snack food at the Seymour Fair in Wisconsin. As far as I can tell the earliest mention of a hamburger dates back to somewhere around the mid 1880’s.
One story I remember, not sure where I heard it, but it had something to do with a tavern owner in Hamburg, Germany that created the hamburger to feed hungry soldiers. They had entered his tavern looking for something to eat, but he didn’t have a kitchen and normally didn’t serve food there. So all he had were some meatballs and bread from his own lunch. So he took the meatballs and squished them between two slices of bread in order to feed the soldiers.
I don’t think anyone will really ever know the true origin of where the hamburger was first discovered. Mainly because it isn’t that creative of an invention in my opinion. How many times has someone in the past picked up a piece of meat with a slice of bread and ate it. This could of been happening hundreds of years before anyone formally gave it a name. But anyway, the main point of all this is wondering why they normally come with all those vegetables on them.
Why is there a Garden on our Burgers
The earliest mentions of hamburgers do not suggest that they involved all these vegetables and condiments on them. Most commonly an American hamburger will be dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and cheese. Sometimes there may be bacon or jalapenos on there as well. Then you have the bread, or buns that are dressed with condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard and sometimes ketchup.
Now I understand that it adds depth to the taste of the burger. Just plain meat and bread is kind of, well, plain. It’s possible that the vegetables were added in order to cut through all the fat that is in the beef. Or possibly to add at least a little healthy component to an otherwise non heart wise meal.
Maybe folks just wanted to make it an all-in-one meal. You get all the four food groups in one easy to carry sandwich. That actually seems like the most likely scenario. But why not just order a burger and a side salad some ask. I suppose if you’re going to take the time to sit down and enjoy a meal you could do this. But in today’s fast paced world, there usually isn’t time for all that.
The Modern Cheeseburger
With today’s fast food chains on top of the world there’s really nothing you can’t find in a burger. There are singles, doubles, triples and even those challenges that have these huge hamburgers that will win you money if you can finish them. This is all bordering on gluttony and can make you very ill by eating that much.
At Oscar’s Diner in Telford, Shropshire, UK they are serving a 2 lb. 8 oz. hamburger that has a staggering 4,200 calories! All this for $24 USD. If you can finish that burger, along with a milkshake, fries and coleslaw within 45 minutes, guess what you get. You will win a free meal, T-Shirt and a photo on the wall saying you did it! Wow now that’s really worth the gut busting experience and the hours you’ll be spending in the bathroom afterwards. They actually had a customer that accomplished this task in seven (7) minutes, can you believe that?!?
Well, the intention of this post was not to make everyone hungry, so if I did, sorry. But I would really like to hear everyone’s ideas as to why we put all these goodies on our burgers. These were the only reasons I could come up with, but I’m sure my readers will get quite inventive on this one. 😀 So please leave a comment and let me know your take on this…