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Hamburger

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Hamburger

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:29 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 tomorrow in his hometown, Lewisburg, PA, USA.)
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Re: Hamburger

Postby William Hupy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:02 am

I am loathe to contradict the good doctor. Please forgive me. I am hoping this will provoke further discussion on the topic, if anyone is interested. Previously it was my impression that spices were used to mask spoiled meat. However, why would reasonable people use very expensive spices to season spoiled and cheap cuts of meat? Just sayin'.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:45 pm

What is the proper pronunciation of Tatars? Must distinguish them from French fries.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:08 pm

Without refrigeration, meat spoils quickly, especially in the summer time. So it was not a choice of cheap cuts of meat versus prime cuts. They all got rank, and some spices lessened the taste of spoilage. Perfumes were used to lessen human body odor for unwashed bodies for the same reason. Many things in antiquity stank. I would be loath to return to the simpler life. There is enough stink in the world now without returning to the malodorous past.

As for Tatar, I believe the Good Doctor is using a correct but unusual spelling of what is usually spelled tartar when referring to raw chopped steak.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby David McWethy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:57 pm

If my esteemed Lexiterian peer Mr. Hupy is "loath to contradict the good doctor", he can imagine how I feel--having the hubris to contradict the fount of all that is good and true at least twice, with the first being: that the tie between the name of the ground-meat food product and its association with a specific city in Germany being generally considered to be an urban legend, with such a prestigious source as the Encyclopedia Brittanica noting that:

The origin of hamburger is unknown, but the hamburger patty and sandwich were probably brought by 19th-century German immigrants to the United States (not just immigrants from Hamburg); http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... /hamburger,

The good Professor Hudson correctly points out that
the Good Doctor is using an accurate but ususual spelling of what is usually spelled "steak tartare" when referring to highly seasoned ground beef eaten raw http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/steaktartare
And as for the correct pronunciation of "Tatars/Tarters", according to Wikipedia:
The Tatars...(historically spelled Tartars), is an umbrella term for Turkic peoples [citations]...[from] the territory of the former Russian Empire
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatars, with "tartar" reserved for "an incrustation on the teeth consisting of plaque that has become hardened by the deposition of mineral salts (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tartar)


The second direct contradiction--which surprises me the most, that no one else has caught it--is Dr, G.'s reference to himself as a "Lewisburger" celebrating our nation's birth tomorrow in his hometown, Lewisburg, PA, USA.: Clearly--at least according to Merriam-Webster, he is a Lewisburgher (defined as an
inhabitant of a borough or a town a member of the middle class; a prosperous solid citizen
or, as the heavy mantle once placed on my shoulders signified, "a man of consequence in the community"--which would not then (either symbolically or in fact; neither then nor still not, when coupled with a dollar, buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks).
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Re: Hamburger

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:18 pm

So Tatar is properly pronounced "Turks."
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Re: Hamburger

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:27 pm

-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Beefsteak Tatar

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:16 pm

Currently this phrase is spelled without the R (Beefsteak Tatar) 298,000 time and with the R (Beefsteak Tartar) 140,000 (though Google seems to prefer the latter). The former is more in keeping with the origin of the phrase.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby David McWethy » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:24 pm

It would be interesting (although of questionable heuristic value) to see Google metaphysically duke it out with the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, over the “Beefsteak Tatare” vs. “Steak Tartare” question.

The latter (source-cited in my previous post) defines "Steak Tartare" as “highly seasoned ground beef eaten raw” while both “Beefsteak Tatar” and “Beefsteak Tartar” search terms produce only a
“The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above”

response.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:26 am

Then there is tartar sauce which is, to my knowledge, not put on Beefsteak Tatar however one spells it. it is great on fried catfish and shrimp.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby Bazr » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:47 pm

So we come down to the fact that 'steak tatar' is the raw version of a hamburger pattie.
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Re: Hamburger

Postby David McWethy » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:16 am

Yup (at least that's my understanding). The ones I've seen OTHERS eat had a raw egg in a slight depression in the meat. So in the unlikely case that Steak Tartare stood between me and starvation, I'd make darned sure that the meat and egg were the freshest and of the highest quality possible, to reduce the level of salmonella or e. coli bacteria in the meat.
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