History of the hamburger
Dishes and preparations similar to hamburger are known – and in fact, from which this very well-known dish is believed to have emerged – from the time of the Roman Empire. There are also records of dishes prepared by mincing the meat of cattle in Turkish and Mongolian cultures. These preparations were intended to make more edible those parts of the animal that were of lower quality, as was the case with the steak tartar.
The modern version of the hamburger
With the improvement of food handling processes at an industrial level and the progressive introduction of machinery, different types of meat, animal parts and other tissues were combined and hamburger meat was produced in large quantities. The word hamburger comes from the name of the German city of Hamburg, which was one of the most important commercial ports in the world from the 15th to the 19th century. The Germans have a dish that is the origin of the hamburger in its modern version: the one known as frikadelle. In fact if you visit the city today you will still find fast food stalls selling frikadelle on every corner. The frikadelle thanks to the commercial contacts arrived to the American continent and the Americans baptized the frikadelle like “American steak Hamburg style”, evolving etymologically until the current denomination of “hamburger” (hamburger or burger in English). The first hamburgers as we know them today began to be sold in the U.S. in 1834, at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York.