“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius” ~ Matthew McConaughey
The exact origin of the beloved hamburger (or just burger, as one would nickname a close friend), isn’t quite written down with hard facts, which is sad, since it is so popular worldwide. One belief is that the concept of ground, minced beef was introduced by a tribe called the Mongols; who’s mission it was to conquer Asia. They used to ride with the grounded meat safely nestled between the horse’s back and the saddle (yes – that is next level commitment) using the friction and pounding action of the riding to tenderize the meat so they can eat and ride simultaneously (because when trying to conquer the world, nobody has time to stop and eat). It is said that the concept trickled its way to Russia then eventually to Hamburg, Germany, where Hamburg steak tartare was beginning to trend in much later years (around the 1800s). From here on is where the facts become fuzzy. Some believe that the German immigrants in America tried to make a living by opening restaurants and serving their Hamburg steak tartare, however the Americans did not buy into the idea of raw meat, which sparked the idea of cooked steak. Another theory is that German immigrants started street vendors and selling their steak to factory workers, but found that hot Hamburg steaks was difficult to eat with your (dirty) hands, thus to make eating more convenient they placed the steak between two slices of bread.
Some Americans believe that the owner of Louis’ Lunch, Louis Lassen, introduced the concept of the hamburger in the 1900s whilst thinking on his feet when a hurried customer requested something that he could eat while on the run. Louis cleverly served him broiled steak served between two slices of toast, hence the idea of the hamburger was born. Louis’ Lunch still exists today, run by Louis Lassen’s great grandson and still serving their hamburger [sandwiches] between two slices of toast with a choices of onion, tomato or cheese. Nothing more. They strongly believe in less is more, if the meat is cooked well, there is no need for fancy condiments.
Whether you are adventurous or a traditionalist, the hamburger has an option to suit every type of taste and diet preference. The hamburger stays with the trends, whether it is keeping it simple to suit rough economic times, or going gourmet to impress. In the past few years, the lamb burger has made its mark on the culinary scene because of its distinct flavour, limitless pairing options and never disappointing juiciness [thanks to the natural fat of lamb meat.]
The hamburger in the culinary world is like a pair of jeans in the fashion world, it will never go out of fashion, just the way in which it is presented/styled change from season to season. This year we will be visiting some of the best burger restaurants, seeing what the Lamb burger trend has to offer in 2017, simple and tasty or gourmet and good, going big or going small.
Keep an eye out for reviews.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fellow foodie friends, Marina and Lizanne are “Lambs Cooking Mutton”! Armed with their blog posts and a frequent feature in the “Weg and Go” magazines they are on a mission to make cooking with lamb inspiring and creative but also less intimidating for the modern young lady or gentleman! They will also be travelling across SA to bring you news and reviews on South African meat festivals and restaurants where winning lamb and mutton dishes are served.
Although Lizanne is a designer by day, and Marina a MSc Nutrition student on the side, their roles are ironically switched when it comes to cooking with lamb. Lizanne is always looking for ways to cook and eat healthy and will also keep you up to date on how to keep your lamb dishes as healthy as possible. Marina on the other hand loves creating absolute indulgent and creative lamb dishes that have no mercy on your diet. But between the two of them they will provide you with lamb dishes for every occasion!