hamburg(er)s (was: Chile on eggs?)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Jul 13 18:01:50 UTC 2001

In a message dated 7/13/01 11:55:16 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK writes:

> When I was a kid, we never
>  referred to 'burgers'--it was always 'hamburgs', frequently applied in the
>  alliteratively and metrically pleasing phrase 'hamburgs and hot dogs'.  Is
>  this regional or just old?  The meat (not in patties) can be 'hamburg' as
>  well.  DARE says nothing.  AHD4 says 'also hamburg', and notes that
>  'burger' is a much later (than 'hamburger') addition to the vocab.  I
>  suppose 'hamburg' is a shortening of 'Hamburg steak' instead of
>  'hamburger'.  Any other insights?

Lizzie Black Kander, writing as Mrs. Simon Kander
 _The Way To A Man's Heart: "The Settlement" Cook Book_ Milwaukee: The
Settlement (now the Milwaukee Jewish Community Center), undated but probably
1901.  Reprinted by Applewood Books under ISBN 1-55709-436-5 as "originally
published in 1903".


Take one pound of raw flank or round steak.  Salt and prepare as desired.
Cut off fat, bone and stringy pieces.  Chop it very fine.  Chop onions very
fine and mix with meat.  Season to taste.  Make into round cakes a little
less than one-half inch thick.  Have ready a frying pan with the drippings;
when hot, put in the steak and cook brown.  Serve hot on hot platter,a nd
garnish with celery tops or parsley, and two or three slices of lemon on
meat. Pour the fat the the steak was cooked in over the meat.

The sixth edition (probably 1912) of the Settlement Cook Book has an almost
identical recipe on page 116, still labelled as "HAMBURG STEAK"

Neither edition says anything about putting the patties on a bun.  As far as
I can find, neither edition uses the words "hamburger" or "burger".  For the
ADS-L Caloric Canine patrol, sorry but I could not find any mention of
frankfurther/weiner meats.

I was born and raised in Kentucky.  The ground-meat-patty on a bun was always
a "hamburger", never a "hamburg" or a "burger".  Of course there were
"cheeseburger" etc, and a local chain called "Ranch House" sold Ranchburgers.

I first recall meeting "burger" in the monthly cookbook/product evaluation
magazine put out by Consumers' Union and my immediate reaction was "what do a
bunch of effete Easterners know about all-American cooking?"  Despite 17years
in Washington DC and 15 in New Jersey, I still find stand-alone "burger"
somewhat jarring, although I am not bothered by restaurant names such as
"Burger King".

I have met "hamburg" often enough not to be surprised by it, but not often
enough to have a feel for where it gets used.


 About isotopping analysis, DARE can sometimes be of use.  For example, it
would be interesting if someone could check DARE for the phrase "green chili"
(either spelling).  I have never met that expression outside Denver, Colorade
(in 1975)
Distribution of that phrase may say something about distribution of people of
Mexican ancestry or about distribution of real (as opposed to commercialized)
Mexican cooking in the US.

    - Jim Landau

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