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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:41 pm

• hamburger •

Pronunciation: hæm-bêr-gêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Ground beef. 2. A round patty of ground beef, usually though not necessarily served between two slices of bread or in a bun with condiments (mustard, ketchup, pickles or relish, tomatoes, and lettuce are among the favorites).

Notes: Today's Good Word long ago fell victim to 'folk etymology', a misanalysis of a borrowed word that makes it more recognizable. Even though it originates as the German derivation meaning something from the city of Hamburg (Hamburg-er), English speakers immediately perceived the word ham in it and began replacing that word with so many others that burger finally became a word on its own.

In Play: I only wish I had a nickel for every hamburger that will be cooked and consumed in the US this Fourth of July. The all-American hamburger is by far the favorite food for celebrating US Independence Day, despite its origin (see the Word History).

Word History: In the 13th and 14th centuries Turkic tribes known as Tatars roamed across the plains of what today is Russia. They were known for chopping meat (probably because it was tough), mixing it with spices (to hide any spoilage), and eating it raw. This idea gravitated to the German town of Hamburg, which became famous for its beefsteak Tatar, ground beef served with onions and spices without benefit of the flame. When this 'Hamburg steak' reached the US, it was generally served cooked. The term Hamburger steak first appeared in the January 5, 1889 edition of the Walla Walla (Washington) Union. The steak was soon dropped, but it wasn't until the 1930s that the word cheeseburger appeared and by 1939 hamburger had been shortened to burger. At that point, a flood of compounds with this new word began to appear: fishburger, turkeyburger, baconburger, and so on and on and on. (Today's word is courtesy of Dr. Goodword, himself a Lewisburger celebrating our nation's birth in his hometown, Lewisburg, PA, USA.)
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Re: Hamburger

Postby tapoensgen » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:59 am

Today's word history appears to me very flimsy at best. The Tatars or Tartars where not a people at all. The term refers to an area within the Mongol Empire (so not Russia) inhabited by a number of peoples - Turkic, Mongol and Cossack. They, and indeed other horse people where known for softening meat under their saddles, but there is no evidence that they were necessarily known for chopping it, which was established culinary practice well before Genghis Khan incorporated Tartary into his empire. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the somewhat unremarkable idea of chopping meat had gravitated to Hamburg, a port know more for its fish cuisine. You could also safely assume that ingenious Germans had long figured out that meat could be chopped. Indeed, Steak Tartare (in the UK we use the French spelling with an extra "e") is a distinctly French recipe and was exported to Germany probably by Napoleon. Steak Tartare's etymology is unclear, as it appears to have emerged as a variant of the Steak à l'Américaine, served with Sauce Tartare (or Tartare Sauce to us English speakers). Interesting that the French adopted and I dare say improved what they thought of as an American dish - chopped steak with spices. Therefore, it is spurious to suggest that Hamburg was the origin of the Steak Tartare, indeed it was not nor has it ever been famous for it. Chopped meat in various shapes, both flat and as balls, spiced or plain and boiled, grilled or fried was around in Germany and Scandinavia long before the discovery of America, and it is still popular in those countries with many names other than Hamburger (despite MacDonalds's best efforts). It is much more likely that perhaps an immigrant (butcher) from Hamburg made the German meat patties (they would be called "Frikadellen" in Hamburg) popular in New York, whence they spread.

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Re: Hamburger

Postby MTC » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:05 am

According to ChaCha, an online answer service, "There are roughly 38 million 356 thousand 164 burgers eaten daily in the United States." Doing the math, if Dr. Goodword "had a nickel for every hamburger that will be cooked and consumed in the US this Fourth of July," he would have added $1,917,808.20 (38,356,164 X .05) to his bank account, (probably a lot more considering hamburger consumption increases by multiples on the Fourth) certainly enough to retire on a remote, palm-fringed paradise where, swinging in his hammock, kissed by tropic breezes and island maidens, he would not have to listen to the trollish rantings of posters like tapoensgen.

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Re: Hamburger

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:11 am

All of which is a good way to introduce
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Hamburger

Postby Slava » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:10 pm

In a defense of the Good Doctor, I must point out that hamburger was first treated in 2000. While the post should have been edited and updated over the years, I expect way back then, a nickle might just well have made the grade.
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