Photographs by John Burgess Santa Rosa Press Democrat
A little history about burgers. According to Alan Davidson in his wonderful encyclopedic book The Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford University Press 1999), the word “hamburger” first showed up in print around 1890. Cooked, flavored patties of meat however date a long way back and appear in many cuisines. It’s thought that the port of Hamburg in Germany and its Hamburg Steak, enjoyed by sailors there who introduced it to others in their travels, is probably the birthplace for burgers as we know them today. Their fate was sealed when “hamburgers” served in a bun were introduced at the St. Louis World Fair of 1904 and the rest is history.
Burger purists will insist that burgers are only made from beef and that using any other base ingredient puts it in a different category. I don’t agree and all you have to do is look in current cookbooks and, in the market, to find burgers made from fish, birds, and increasingly popular vegetable/vegetarian versions.
Here are some non-beef versions that are worth exploring.
PORK BURGERS WITH SLAW
SHRIMP BURGERS WITH PEACH AIOLI
KIDNEY BEAN BURGER
PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM BURGERS