Hamburger vs hamburg

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Jul 14 21:34:41 UTC 2001

In a message dated 07/14/2001 3:45:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU writes:

> And where does Salisbury steak fit into the picture?

Far from being a euphemism for "hamburger", Salisbury Steak was invented by
Dr. James Salisbury, a Civil War-era doctor and a pioneer in bacteriology (he
did work on germ causation of disease before Pasteur and Koch, but failed to
make any important contributions to the field.)  Salisbury also had a theory
on diets, which included that properly prepared meat was necessary for
health.  He invented the Salisbury Steak as---it is hard to picture this
nowadays---a health food.

It is not clear how much connection there is between the Salisbury steak, the
hamburger patty, the hamburger-on-a-bun, and other ground beek recipes.  The
use of the word "hamburger", at a time when the Salisbury steak was
reasonably well known, suggests that our modern hamburger developed and
became popular through a folk process that had little if anything to do with
Dr. Salisbury.  However, this is only my guess.

             - Jim Landau

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