Featured Menu Item of the Week

May is National Hamburger Month!


During the time of Genghis Kahn (1167-1277), the Mongols would often ride for days without rest in pursuit of their next conquest. To enable a meal on the go and negate the need for setting up camp to cook, meat scraps would be placed under their saddles. As they would ride, the meat would be tenderized between the saddle and the horse. When the Mongols invaded Russia, this style of non-cooking was noticed and adapted by the Russians, calling it Steak Tartare. (Tartars is what the Russians called the Mongols.) Around the 1600’s, Germany began to conduct trade with Russia, and one of the things the Germans picked up was Steak Tartare. This became very popular with the Germans. Upon returning to the Port of Hamburg, the addition of actually cooking the shredded meat patties was incorporated.

New York Harbor was a BUZZ in the late 18th Century

To attract German sailors at the New York Harbor, vendors began to sell “Steak in the Style of Hamburg.” This was the first introduction of the chopped beef patty to the United States. History up to this point is fairly clear, but how the Hamburg Steak evolved into the burgers we know today is a topic of debate.

hamburgerOne of the oldest stories is from 1885 Charlie Nagreen, a 15 year old from Seymour Wisconsin, saw that his meatballs were not selling at the county fair. He decided to make them more portable by flattening them out and placing them between two pieces of bread. In 2007, Wisconsin Legislature declared Seymour, Wisconsin as "Home of the Hamburger."

There are many stories similar to Charlie Nagreen’s, and most are from the period of 1885-1904. In 1904, the hamburger hit the scene at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. It was considered a “new sandwich” as a New York Tribune writer published when covering the fair. This “new” sandwich became widely accepted by Americans by the mid 1930’s, partly through the help of the popular comic strip Popeye. The character Wimpy was well known for his line “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Hamburgers are a popular part of American cuisine

What summer cook-out would be complete without the smell of hamburgers cooking on the grill? You don't have to travel very far down any Main Street in America before you see the importance the hamburger plays in our culture. It is the "poster child" for entrepreneurism in the United States thanks to Richard and Maurice McDonald who started their first restaurant in 1948.

HamburgerFrom fast food restaurants, old fashioned diners, and even upscale restaurants, the hamburger has been topped with just about every condiment imaginable. Whether you like your hamburger with lettuce and tomato and French fried potatoes, mushrooms and bleu cheese, or just a slice of cheese melted over the top... there is no doubt that the hamburger is very adaptable. It will be part of the American diet for a long time.

Celebrate National Hamburger month with us!

Join us at the UC Food Court for Lunch on Tuesday, May 3rd or at Tobey-Kendel Dining Room for Lunch on Friday, May 6th. If you can’t make it in on either of those days to enjoy your burger fix... stop by Holmes Dining Hall where hamburgers are offered Monday through Thursday this week at The Grille station!

Chef EssigLook for other menu selections offered in the dining rooms this semester, and don’t forget to look at the weekly menus on the Dining Services website often to find out what other fabulous menu items await you this week!

Happy Dining!
Chef Aran Essig, CEC, CCA
(Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator)

Want to know what's being served in the dining rooms? Call the FoodLine (970.351.FOOD) for daily menus or look at our weekly menus online. Not signed up for the Faculty/Staff Payroll Deduction program yet? Learn more about the program here.