The hamburger has taken over the world. In just a few decades, a meal that was invented somewhere in the USA has reached every High Street in the world.
Although it’s named after the German city of Hamburg, this only refers to the meat part. Lanzarote supermarkets will often stock minced beef patties called Frikadelle for German tourists, and these are the ancestors of the burger. But it was in the US that someone first slapped a patty between two halves of a bun and created the meal that would sweep the world.
A modern burger meal is a fascinating blend of cultures, from the pickled gherkins that show the influences of German and Eastern European immigrants to the thin, crispy French fries that are actually an irresistible speciality of the Netherlands. But it’s also deeply American, seasoned with mayo, mild mustard and ketchup.
Now, burgers can be bought in hundreds of countries, and have become a part of everyday life. While kids recognise Ronald McDonald, older Britons remember the Wimpy character from Popeye and the chain named after him.
Lanzarote hasn’t missed the boat, either. This is an island where you can buy drive-in burgers, enjoy burgers at scores of bars, cafés and hamburgueserias or discover talented chefs creating gourmet burgers with the very best ingredients and skills.
Forget the big chains. You’ll almost always find better burgers in smaller, independent joints.
Always order the burger named after the establishment.
Roll your sleeves up.
Forget about knives and forks.
Make sure there are plenty of paper napkins at hand.
Veggies and vegans have long been able to enjoy burgers that have been designed for their dietary choices, but the choices now are dizzying.
All you need to make a burger vegetarian is a non-meat patty that can be grilled and garnished, and non-meat patties can be made with all sorts of ingredients. Chickpeas, tofu, seitan, quinoa, beans, soya, nuts – the list of meat substitutes is endless, and increasingly tempting, especially when mixed with spices and herbs.
Nowadays you can even find veg burgers that “bleed” like rare steak. It’s beetroot juice, of course, and it means that the only thing that’s died for your burger is a root vegetable.
Did you know?:
The Millennium Falcon spaceship in Star Wars was deliberately designed to resemble a burger.