Friday, June 15, 2012

Your Hamburger: 5,000 Years in the Making

Let us take a look at the hamburger with all its garnishes. Where did they all come from?

The Roman's were already serving meat patties at street side shops, with chopped garlic added. A hamburger steak sandwich was on the menu of the Tylorean Alps Restaurant at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Hamburger referred to a style of meat preparation from Hamburg, Germany. 

Walter Anderson, a cook at White Castle, invented the hamburger bun. White Castle was the first to sell the hamburger as we know it, beginning in 1921. 

Lettuce was domesticated in Egypt and was under cultivation by the mid-Bronze Age. You could have stood in a lettuce field and watched The Great Pyramid rise in the distance. The Romans spread cultivation of the plant.

Tomatoes come from Peru, as does the potato for French Fries. Spanish explorers brought them back to Europe in the 1500's.

Ketchup is based on a Malay sauce. The tomato and sugar were added to the recipe here in America. A recipe similar to today's sauce appears in a cookbook written by Thomas Jefferson's cousin. The Heinz company began to produce ketchup in 1876.

Onions probably were domesticated in Mesopotamia. They were probably an early root crop, since they store well.

Pickle comes from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. The word pickle is first used in English in 1400 C.E. Cucumbers were traded from India to Mesopotamia, in the Bronze Age, between such cities as Mohengo Daro and Uruk.  Pickles were first made in Mesopotamia over 4,000 years ago. When Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, he reopened the trade with India. Cucumber seeds traveled along the trade route. Their cultivation was spread to many countries by the Roman Empire. The Dutch connection with Malaysia spread spicy sauces and pickling techniques in Europe during the Renaissance.

Enjoy your hamburger. It took 5,000 years for all the ingredients to come together on your plate.

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