Whether grilled, broiled, fried, baked, or picked up at a nearby fast-food restaurant, hamburgers are one of the most popular foods in America.
Our beloved hamburger has been around for more than 100 years. According to "The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, by John Mariani, one of the first known mentions of a "hamburg steak" in print was in 1884 in the "Boston Evening Journal." The term "hamburger" appeared on a New York Delmonico's restaurant menu which was believed to have been printed in 1834. In Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book (1902), the hamburg steak is described as beef put twice through a meat grinder and mixed with onion and pepper.
By 1912 ground meat patties were being served in buns, and according to "The American Dictionary of American Slang", the suffix "burger" came to mean "any hot sandwich served on a bun, often toasted, with many condiments...."
White Castle opened their first "hamburg stand" in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas, and the popularity of the hamburger grew as Americans began to travel by car. In the 1950s the McDonald's chain began, spawning even more competitors.
Also according to "The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink", Americans eat three hamburgers per week per person! That's about 38 billion annually, or 59 percent of all sandwiches consumed.
Shown in picture at right: Hamburg Steak