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Turns out, the hamburger is as rich in history as it is in flavor

Savor these juicy facts about one of the world's most iconic foods.

history, food, hamburger, inventors, community
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Delicious history.

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It's something so simple, yet something so good — two tasty buns around mouthwatering meat.

Yes, it's true: Hamburgers are wonderful. But what exactly makes them so wonderful? With so many parts and so many variations, it’s hard to know precisely why this dietary delight has become such an iconic part of our culture.

Over the centuries — yes, centuries — the hamburger has evolved from an umami underdog to a ubiquitous food staple all across the globe. And at the center of that strange journey is some surprising insight into humanity itself (and also a tasty meat patty).

Here are seven fascinating facts from across the years and continents that will make you appreciate the burger for more than just its taste.


1. The hamburger was invented in New Haven, Connecticut.

It was 1900 when Danish immigrant Louis Lassen first took the trimmings from his trademark steak sandwiches (which he also helped pioneer), packed them into patties, and placed them between two slices of toast from his sandwich wagon. The family still runs Louis’ Lunch Shop on Crown Street today and still serves the sandwiches on toast with no option for ketchup.

As someone who was born and raised in New Haven, I can assure you that this is 100% unequivocal truth. Even the U.S. Library of Congress has it on record!

sandwich, trademark, mobile food, health

Louis Lassen stands at the counter of the Lunch Wagon in New Haven, Connecticut.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Unless it was not invented in New Haven at all.

Perhaps it was Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, that actually invented it. He supposedly started cookin’ up those patties in the late 1880s, then brought his treat to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where it gained global attention.

Or it could have been Charles and Frank Menches of Hamburg, New York, who ran out of sausage at a fair in 1885, so they packed together ground beef with coffee, brown sugar, and other brown spices to mask what was otherwise considered “lower class” meat.

Some people even give credit to Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin, who began serving flattened meatballs on bread in 1885, even though that’s pretty clearly a “meatball sandwich” and not a “hamburger.”

Maybe it all began at root beer-maker Oscar Weber Bilby’s Fourth of July party in 1891, right in Oklahoma — the heartland of America.

As you can see, there's some question as to which of the 50 states can actually claim credit for this distinctly American delicacy. Unfortunately, people didn’t keep very clear records of these things back then, so it’s kind of hard to determine which one was the real pioneer.

national landmarks, state law, America, culinary

A large statue commemorates the lover for a burger.

Photo (cropped) by WIMHARTER/Wikimedia Commons.

3. But we do know that the first record of a hamburger-like recipe was from 1758.

"The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy" by Hannah Glasse — the most popular cookbook in England for more than a century — was well-known in the American colonies too.

The cookbook was updated many times after its initial publication in 1747, but it was the 1758 edition that first made mention of a “hamburg sausage” — a combination of ground beef and spices that was cured and then served roasted on a single piece of toast.

recipe, hamburgers, history, documents

Everybody benefits with a cookbook.

Image (cropped) via W. Wangford/Wikimedia Commons.

4. The hamburg sausage wan't quite a sandwich. But neither was the "hamburg steak," another cousin of the burger.

Obviously, the question of “what defines a sandwich” has resulted in much debate. But one thing we can all agree on is that it requires some kind of casing in order to qualify as a “sandwich” ... right?

While Glasse’s hamburg sausage could have arguably been an open-faced sandwich, the popular hamburg steak was definitely not a sandwich. The German dish gained popularity in the 18th century and comprised of, um, well, a patty of ground beef packed together — sometimes with spices or onions or egg — and then cooked and served. Which, come to think of it, does sound a lot like a hamburger without the bun.

(Some would argue that a hamburger without a bun is not technically a hamburger, but that's a philosophical discussion for another time.)

middle east, cuisine, world views, studies

That doesn't look like the burgers I know.

Photo (cropped) by 1971Marcus/Wikimedia Commons.

5. Come to think of it, no one’s really sure who invented the sandwich either.

This may not sound like an important part of hamburger history, but bear with me. You’ll see how it connects.

Credit often goes to John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who allegedly needed some way to contain his food so that he could continue playing cards with his friends without making a mess or needing utensils.

But he was hardly the first to think of such a thing — Hillel the Elder was known for eating flatbread sandwiches as far back as the first century, and of course, many Middle Eastern and Eurasian cultures made use of the pita to contain all kinds of tasty treats, including — wait for it — minced meats.

Now do you see where this is going?

art, food, historical data, research, marketing

There are many components to this flatbread burger.

Image via Pixabay.

6. That’s right: The hamburger goes all the way back to Genghis Khan. (Sort of.)

Look, there’s a lot of world to conquer, OK? And when you were part of Khan’s Golden Horde, you didn’t have a lot of time to stop and eat between invading 2/3 of the planet. Khan’s soldiers would sometimes stay on horseback for days at a time, which wasn’t really conducive to eating soup either.

They found a way around the problem by thinly slicing meat and packing it together into portable patties that could be taken on the road and eaten as needed. Sometimes they were boiled, sometimes cured ahead of time, and more often than not, they were just eaten raw (but, contrary to popular belief, they were not placed under their saddles and cooked by butt-heat friction).

historical figures, art, Mongolia, war

A statue for the likeness of the historical Genhis Khan.

Image from Pixabay.

In one part of the world, this minced meat may have evolved into kebabs, which of course were then contained in the aforementioned pitas. Genghis’s grandson Kublai Khan is believed to have passed this raw meaty snack on to the Russians, who called it “steak tartare,” reportedly after their name for the Turco-Mongol peoples.

It would only be a matter of time before Russians shared the recipe with Germans, who gave it a twist of their own and turned it into hamburg steaks.

7. But the absolute oldest reference to a burger-like food comes from fourth-century Rome.

The ancient Roman Empire contributed a great many things to the modern world — including, believe it or not, fast food in the form of the ready-to-go thermopholia markets (literally “a place where something hot is sold”). According to a fourth-century cookbook, some of these thermopholia sold a packed patty known as Isica Omentata, which was made from minced meat, pine nuts, fish sauce, wine, and other spices. You can even find some modernized recipes and make your own Roman patties the next time you’re in the mood for a gladiator match!

cookbooks, Roman Empire, history, nutrition

The Roman Empire created some unique architecture.

Photo by Jebulon/Wikimedia Commons.

The hamburger’s globe-trotting history shows us exactly why people around the world love those meaty buns.

(Besides the fact they’re delicious, I mean.)

The real power of the burger is much more primal than that. Bread and meat are dietary staples of every culture since pretty much the dawn of civilization as we know it. It only makes sense to bring them together in such a simple way. And as technologies continued to evolve, of course we’d use them to perfect this quintessential combination, which would, in turn, give rise to the modern burger as we know it.

sculpture, diets, fast food, farming

A representation of a hamburger with cheese.

Image via Pixabay.

That’s why the hamburger’s winding journey from Rome to Mongolia to Russia to Germany and, finally, to the United States is such a telling story: It shows how separate cultures have so much in common across time and space. In that regard, it almost doesn't matter who was first to slap that patty on a bun or what inspired them do it — because the impulse was intrinsically human. Which means, yes, the hamburger has the power to unite us all, no matter where we come from, like one big global barbecue.

But also, they're delicious.

This article originally appeared on 03.22.18

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.


In a video titled "Spicy cats," which has more than 74 million views on TikTok, we begin with the cutest cat sneeze ever. Then we hear Mr. Kitters' meow as we walk with him through the grass before the scene switches to a thrilling, yowling cat chase he witnesses across the yard (while tucking himself even more securely under the bush he's in).

The best is seeing his kitty paws as he walks and then digs in the mulch. And there's apparently something very exciting that needs to be pounced on right along a chain link fence.

Watch and enjoy:

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Spicy cats 🌶️ #fyp #cat #meow

The commenters made their delight known.

"I love how he saw the cat fight and was like that's not my business today," wrote one person.

"WHEN HE DIGS WITH HIS LIL PAWS," declared another.

"People: Cats only meow at humans." Mr Kitters -Meows at everything-" wrote another.

And of course, countless people responded simply to the sneeze with "Bless you."

Mr. Kitters has other POV videos as well. This one demonstrates how chatty he is and shows his black cat buddy as well.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

“What do you want?” “Nothing!” #fyp #cat #meow

It really sounds like he says, "Let me in," doesn't it?

And this "extreme sports" video is riveting.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Extreme sports 💀 #fyp

It's funny how something as simple as putting a camera around the neck of a cat can draw in tens of millions of people. We're all so curious about the lives of the creatures we see every day, and the adorable quirkiness of cat behavior is a big part of why we keep them as companions in the first place. Seeing the world through their point of view is just one more way we can enjoy and learn about our pet friends.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Kelsey Wells at three different weights.

It's super easy for most people to get hung up on the number on their scales and not how they actually look or, most importantly, feel. People often go on diets in hopes of reaching an ideal weight they had when they graduated high school or got married, but they're often disappointed when they can't attain it.

But a set of photos by fitness blogger Kelsey Wells is a great reminder for everyone to put their scales back in storage.

Welles is best known as the voice and body behind My Sweat Life, a blog she started after gaining weight during pregnancy. To lose the weight, she started the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) training program and after 84 weeks she shared three photos on her Instagram account that prove the scale doesn't matter.


The photos showed her at her start weight (144 pounds), the weight she hit two months after giving birth (122 pounds), and current weight (140 pounds). Now she weighs exactly what she did when she started the program but her body is entirely different.

Here's an excerpt from Wells' Instagram post:

SCREW THE SCALE || I figured it was time for a friendly, yet firm reminder. YOU GUYS. PLEASEEEEEE STOP GETTING HUNG UP ON THE NUMBER ON THE STUPID SCALE! PLEASE STOP THINKING YOUR WEIGHT EQUALS YOUR PROGRESS AND FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING PLEASE STOP LETTING YOR WEIGHT HAVE ANY AFFECT WHATSOEVER ON YOUR SELF ESTEEM, like I used to.
To any of you who are where I once was, please listen to me. I am 5' 7" and weigh 140 lbs. When I first started #bbg I was 8 weeks post partum and 145 lbs. I weighed 130 before getting pregnant, so based on nothing besides my own warped perception, I decided my "goal weight" should be 122 and to fit into my skinniest jeans. Well after a few months of BBG and breastfeeding, I HIT IT and I fit into those size 0 jeans. Well guess what? I HAVE GAINED 18 POUNDS SINCE THEN. EIGHT FREAKING TEEN. Also, I have gone up two pant sizes and as a matter of fact I ripped those skinny jeans wide open just the other week trying to pull them up over my knees.?? My point?? According to my old self and flawed standards, I would be failing miserably.


This article originally appeared on 10.26.17

via Pexels

What's the most relaxing song in the world?

Stressed? Of course you are. Luckily for you, and the entire U.S. population, scientists believe they may have identified the most relaxing song in the world.

Music has forever been associated with bringing about relaxation, happiness, and serenity — whether it's a Gregorian chant or some Enya accompanied by a glass of merlot.

Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom think they have found the one song that relieves stress and soothes our souls more than any other.


Mindlab International, a market research firm, conducted a study a few years ago in which participants completed difficult (and possibly stressful) puzzles while their brain activity was monitored. To study its effect, music was played while they completed the puzzles.

One song stood out above the rest. "Weightless" by Marconi Union (listen below), an English ambient music band, induced a 65% reduction in stress among participants, according to Inc. And DailyMail.com reported that the song was 11% more effective than most other songs — by such musicians as Adele and Coldplay — in reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing speed.

The 2011 song was created by the band, along with the British Academy of Sound Therapy, to do just that — relax listeners.

If you prefer something with lyrics, try Enya's "Watermark" or "Pure Shores" by All Saints, which were also proven to be relaxing,

Music therapy is considered to be a natural therapy important in alleviating stress. Because stress is an important cause of other deadly illness, fighting it is key to maintaining good health. Numerous studies have shown how damaging stress can be to our bodies and our brain. So don't let it get out of control. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the music.

This article originally appeared on 11.03.16

Pop Culture

She re-created famous fashion ads to make a great point about diversity

"The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too."

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

A classic pose.


From a young age, Deddeh Howard was enthralled by fashion and its role in culture. Unfortunately, she was never really able to see herself in it.

"Something that always bothered me when you see these amazing images [was] that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them," Howard, who grew up in West Africa but now resides in Los Angeles, wrote at her blog, Secret of DD.

"Black girls are almost invisible," she wrote.


So Howard created "Black Mirror," a photo series in which she re-creates famous photos with herself in place of models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bundchen, and others.

Howard's partner, Raffael Dickreuter, shot the series. As its title suggests, it holds a "black mirror" up to the fashion world. The project's goal is both to make people notice the lack of diversity in the fashion world and to provide inspiration to other non-white models.

Deddeh Howard, Gucci, fashion world, diversity

The shades of Gucci.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

superstar, glasses, education, celebrity, representation

Glasses make you wiser.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Kendall Jenner, Calvin Klein, underwear models, black models

The original sexy.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Of the models featured on the fall 2016 runways, 75% were white. There's a major need for a diversity boost.

Sometimes, that lack of diversity can be downright embarrassing. Earlier this year, one fashion show featured models walking to Beyoncé's "Formation," a song Essence described as a "wholly and undeniable a tribute to Blackness — particularly Black girl power." The problem: The show didn't feature a single non-white model.

ethnicity, equality, Guess fashion

Guess who rides motorcycles.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

David Yourman, high fashion, racial inequality

Classy and feminine.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Louis Vuitton, handbags, upper class,

A bike ride with expensive accessories.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

lingerie, Victoria\u2019s Secret, feminine

The lingerie pose.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Dolce & Gabbana, little black dress, stars

Thinking "Breakfast at Tiffanys” maybe?

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Diversity, representation, and visibility play key roles in shaping ambition and self-acceptance in the real world.

It's important to be able to see yourself in the world, and it's important to know that someone who looks like you can succeed.

"The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too," Howard wrote on her blog. "For that reason diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think."


This article originally appeared on 12.08.16

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.


This article originally appeared on 06.30.22