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Hamburger: A Global History (Edible) Hardcover – 1 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books; 1 edition (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861893906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861893901
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Smith knows his hamburger history . . . and his synopses of the rise of the great burger chains, and their global impact, provide an interesting point of view on the effects of globalization in the modern world.'

'amusing and informative' --Oxford Times

'The Edible Series contains some of the most delicious nuggets of food and drink history ever. Every volume is such a fascinating and succinct read that I had to devour each in just a single sitting . . . food writing at its best!' --Ken Hom, Chef and author

About the Author

Andrew F. Smith is a hamburger aficionado who teaches culinary history at the New School in Manhattan. He is the author of thirteen books, including The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food (2006), and has edited The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recommended by a friend and chef, I decided to buy this book as I am a keen burger blogger I really enjoyed it, it's well written and covers in great depth the history of the hamburger.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hamburger, a global history, is exactly what the title is all about. It also contains some hamburger recipes like the New York favourite the Five Napkin Hamburger.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Small book... 1 Feb. 2009
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on
Format: Hardcover
but with a big heart. The story of the hamburger starts out in Europe, comes to American, where is it developed, changed, made into the hamburger we know and love, then it spreads out into the world. That is why the subtitle is - A Gobal History. From Northern Germany it migrated to America where it appeared on the menu in German restaurants yet, after Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition in 1876, it soon became a common food item on all menus.
And the rest is history. McDonalds, Burger King, Wedny's, Wimpy, Big Boy, and, of course, White Castle. Hamburgers went well with fries or cola or onion rings but no matter what the side dish hamburgers had become king. BOW BEFORE THE BURGER!
Still, I prefer hot dogs.
Anyway, this book is small but holds a ton of information and I suggest it for anybody who enjoys food and the history behind it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
another fun installment in this series 1 Nov. 2013
By lindapanzo - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a really interesting look at the origins of the burger but with an emphasis on burger chains, including early ones such as White Castle and later ones, too, of course. A fun installment in a great series.

I would recommend this as a short, fun read. Lots of good pictures, too!!
new technology creating new food 6 May 2015
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book sometimes feels a bit too much like a laundry list for my tastes. It goes into more detail than I would really like about the not-very-exciting history of individual chain restaurants.

Having said that, I still learned quite a bit from this book, primarily about how technology shaped burgers and fries. Until the 1870s or so, ground beef was a labor-intensive (and thus expensive) food. What changed? The growth of commercial meat grinders made ground beef much cheaper, and as a result the "Hamburg steak" (aka ground beef) become a common restaurant dish. Industrialization and urban growth created a demand for fast food among workers who could not go home for mid-shift meals, and as a result "lunch wagons" arose to serve them; they turned the hamburger "steak" into a sandwich in order to make it easier for workers to handle.

And until the mid-20th century, french fries were not really "fast food" because deep frying required cooks to be careful if they did not want to be injured by boiling grease. But in the 1950s, foolproof, safe fryers were invented, and so fast-food restaurants added fries to the menu. Fast food became even faster in the 1950s, when the (then) new McDonald's restaurant saved time and labor by creating an assembly-line system for food preparation.
Hamburgers 101 28 Jan. 2015
By lyndonbrecht - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun book. It's breezily written, nicely illustrated and a quick read. It is more substantive that a first glance might indicate. It's from the Reaktion Books series titled Edible, and one of the better of the series (which is generally delightful). It is written more or less to a formula used in the series, but a formula that works and works well. The writing is witty and informative.

The book mainly traces the development of the hamburger as a phenomenon of American culture and how it has gone worldwide. I especially enjoyed finding out about the history of companies such as White Castle and McDonald's, and how American companies have adapted the product to new markets in China, India and elsewhere. This book forms a case study in the origin, development, and marketing of a product that has become an American cultural mainstay--and how it is becoming internationalized.

I could do without the last section on hamburger recipes, but some readers will find it interesting. It's worth a read for anyone interested in the history of an American icon.
Factually entertaining 10 July 2014
By Mike D'Oliveiro - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simple, straightforward and factually entertaining book about the history of this icon. I love the photos that added richness in the historical detail.
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