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Tracing history back thousands of years, we learn that even the ancient Egyptians ate ground meat, and down through the ages we also find that ground meat has been shaped into patties and eaten all over the world under many different name.
1209-1121 - Genghis Khan (1167-1227), crowned the "emperor of all emperors," and his army of fierce Mongol horsemen, known as the "Golden Horde," conquered two thirds of the then known world. The Mongols were a fast-moving, cavalry-based army that rode small sturdy ponies. They stayed in their saddles for long period of time, sometimes days without ever dismounting. They had little opportunity to stop and build a fire for their meal. The entire village would follow behind the army on great wheeled carts they called "yurts," leading huge herds of sheep, goats, oxen, and horses. As the army needed food that could be carried on their mounts and eaten easily with one hand while they rode, ground meat was the perfect choice. They would use scrapings of lamb or mutton which were formed into flat patties. They softened the meat by placing them under the saddles of their horses while riding into battle. When it was time to eat, the meat would be eaten raw, having been tenderized by the saddle and the back of the horse.
1238 - When Genghis Khan's grandson, Khubilai Khan (1215-1294), invaded Moscow, they naturally brought their unique dietary ground meat with them. The Russians adopted it into their own cuisine with the name "Steak Tartare," (Tartars being their name for the Mongols). Over many years, Russian chefs adapted and developed this dish and refining it with chopped onions and raw eggs.
The Hamburger can be a great meal for more than just the kids. Take some time to think about all the possibilities the hamburger presents. A pound of coarse ground beef, a half pound of ground sweet Italian Sausage, a couple cloves of garlic and a thick slice of feta cheese and you've made a hamburger that no self respecting kid would eat and no adult would turn down. It's all in how you put it together.
Start with the patty. of course everyone has had that marketing message pounded into your head, "all beef patty", but you can really use most anything. Pork, turkey, lamb or a veggie patty will start out your hamburger on the right path. Of course beef is great too. Get the medium fat, coarse ground beef to make the perfect patty. Season with garlic, black pepper, and a touch of salt and your ready to get that burger on the grill. But please don't fry it in a pan.
Once you've decided on the patty get ready to top it off. A good bun or large hard roll will make it easy to handle and a good selection of fresh fixings, like tomatoes, pickles, lettuce will take you a long way. Try feta or provolone cheese instead of cheddar. Depending on your tastes, there really isn't anything you can't put in a hamburger. Try fresh asparagus, or a patty filled with green olives. Despite the number of hamburger restaurants out there, there are still a lot of variations that haven't been tried yet. Maybe you will find the next new burger craze. Be creative.
Where do French fries come from?
By 200 BC, potatoes had been farmed in Peru for at least 2,000 years. But the starchy tuber (a member of the Solanum family, which includes tomatoes and deadly nightshade) didn't come to the attention of the West for another 1,700 years. In 1524, Spanish invaders landed in South America and found all kinds of new things to eat, including tomatoes, peanuts, cacao beans, hot peppers, and more. A journal entry by an anonymous member of a Spanish expedition in 1536 described potatoes being grown in the Andean village of Sorocota. You might not recognize those "original" potatoes today. They were dark and small - almost as small as unshelled peanuts. They looked like dried mushrooms. Still, they were abundant and nutritious. The Spanish were impressed. Potatoes were perfect for feeding the slaves in their silver mines. They were good for ships' crews, too. And so the potato sailed to Europe.
'Do you want Belgian fries with that?" That's what you might be hearing at fast-food restaurants today if it hadn't been for World War I. The Belgians claim to have invented "French" fries, though no one knows for sure. The dish was first prepared as early as the 1700s and was simply called fried potatoes. Thomas Jefferson sampled them in Paris and brought the recipe home. At a White House dinner in 1802, the menu included "potatoes served in the French manner." But that's not how they got their name.
Their commercial success began in 1864, when Joseph Malines of London put "fish and chips" (French fries) on the menu. His success inspired others across Europe. But they weren't French fries until 1918 or so. American soldiers stationed in France gobbled up fried potatoes. They dubbed them "French fries" and liked them so much they wanted to have them at home, too. Americans still love French fries. Last year alone, more than 4.5 billion pounds of them were sold in the United States.
A Native-American chef named George Crum gets the credit for inventing potato chips. He did it by accident in 1853, thanks to a cranky customer. Railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt came to the Moon Lake House Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and ordered fried potatoes. But he was finicky. He wanted them thin, the way the French made them. He kept sending them back to Mr. Crum, complaining that they were too thick. Finally, Crum had had enough. He sliced the potatoes paper-thin, fried them to a crisp in oil, then doused them with salt. Vanderbilt thought they were great! "Saratoga Crisps" became a popular item on the hotel's menu.
Commercial sales of potato chips had to await a method to keep the chips crisp. A Mrs. Scudder came up with a waxed-paper potato-chip bag in 1926.
Even before the world knew about tomatoes, there was ketchup. The word "ketchup" comes from the Siamese word kechiap, a tangy sauce made of pickled fish. It was first prepared in the 1600s and spread through the region. In the 1700s, British sailors took it from Singapore to England. They spelled it "ketchup," and tried to duplicate it. When they couldn't, they substituted other ingredients, including ground mushrooms, walnuts, and cucumbers. The earliest recipe for "tomato catsup" didn't appear until 1792, and in 1841 Charles Dickens wrote about "lamb chops breaded with ketchup" in "Barnaby Rudge." In 1876, German-American chef and businessman Henry Heinz made the first mass-produced and bottled tomato ketchup.
Archaeologists date the use of salt as far back as 6,500 BC, to people living in modern-day Austria. They found rock salt in the mines of Hallstein and Hallstatt near Salzburg. (Salzburg means "City of Salt.") Salt was precious. It was not only used for seasoning, but also for preserving food. For centuries, salt was traded, ounce for ounce, with gold. When Alexander the Great went to India during his world conquests around 328 BC, he found five types of salt: sea salt, rock salt, red salt, black salt, and earth salt. Ancient Romans built roads to the Adriatic Sea to mine salt. Roman soldiers received special allowances, called salarium ("salt money"). And that's where our word "salary" comes from.
Tater Tots were the product of the Griggs brothers, Nephi and Golden. They started the Idaho Frozen Foods Co. in 1951 in Ontario, Ore., on the border with Idaho. One day Nephi Grigg (everyone called him Zeke) came up with a new idea for preparing potatoes. He chopped them up, added flour, seasonings, and something to bind the mixture together. He shaped it into long sticks, cut the sticks into bite-size pieces, and fried them. He called them Tater Tots.
His brother, Golden, was the salesman. From that humble beginning, almost 75 million pounds of Tater Tots are sold every year.