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A Hamburg Welcome

Hamburger Day

May 28

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

~ Popeye Comic Strip, J. Wellington Wimpy, 1931

Welcome, dancers with this round the room reel, which may put you in mind of either a trip to Hamburg or a delicious hamburger! Whether classic or veggie, everyone loves the idea of holding a delicious burger in a bun. The origin of the modern hamburger is hotly disputed by food historians, but the city of Hamburg is often credited due to its traditional seasoned chopped beef dishes, frikadellen or buletten. Like many place-named foods, one of the earliest references to the hamburger’s ancestor appears in an English cookbook from 1763. In her "Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy," Hannah Glasse describes how to make a "Hamburg sausage," which later became known in its flatter form as "hamburger steak. Interestingly, the infamous Wild West town of Tombstone, Arizona—site of the famous 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral involving Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons—is linked to an early description of the hamburger in sandwich form. In 1896, the Tombstone Prospector newspaper reported that Bisbee residents rejoiced at the arrival of a lunch wagon offering pies, hot "tomales," hamburger sandwiches, and other delicacies, "fully guaranteed to be free from all bad effects in the way of nightmares, indigestion, etc." The modern hamburger in a bun is credited to fry cook Walter Anderson in 1916. Starting from a luncheon wagon, he moved on to hamburger stands and eventually to White Castle Burgers. Today, hamburgers come in signature styles from various countries and cities, including Hamburg, bringing the bun full circle. 🍔

A Hamburg Welcome

Should you want to do a deep dive into the origin of the popularity with the hamburger, you could easily go back to ancient Rome!


Centuries before the 20th century hamburger and all its variations, there was isicia omentata. Seasoned with white wine and fish sauce, the ancient Roman recipe could be history's earliest example of a hamburger, according to IFL Science. 


The cookbook Apicius, which dates from the fourth or fifth century and was likely named for Marcus Gavius Apicius, who chronicled the extravagant diets of early Rome's upper class, contains a minced meat patty served with a bread roll, a sort of deconstructed burger.


The meat was flavored with ingredients like pine nuts, peppercorns, and a fermented fish sauce called garum.  The roll that came with it was soaked in white wine!


Today variations of the hamburger appear everywhere, with even the development of the Haggis Burger, a recipe from Gary Maclean, National Chef of Scotland, should you want the drive-through equivalent of a fast food Burns supper!  Don't forget the neeps and tatties chips with that.


For a list of the best hamburgers in Hamburg, click the Helden & Co. hambuger!



A Hamburg Welcome

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

A Hamburg Welcome

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