One of the joys of a good walk is how the fresh air gets the brain cells working.
When I wander I start to wonder, deep stuff like if we get apples from an apple tree and gooseberries from a gooseberry bush how come we get beef from a cow?
Well, it transpires it’s all down to the roots of the English language and the difference between workers and rulers.
Much of the English language has anglo-saxon origins. Then after the Norman Conquest of 1066 French influence began to appear.
The peasants still used the Germanic word “cu” to describe the live beasts they worked with whereas the nobles, who ate the resultant meat, used the culinary French term buef. This also explains how sheep becomes mutton, pig becomes pork and deer becomes venison.
Over the centuries beef has continued its influence on language.
We are as English as roast beef, the French refer to their cousins over the Channel as “rosbifs” and our most famous cricketer became known as Ian “Beefy” Botham.
To have a beef with someone suggests disagreement and there are two interesting contenders for where this comes from. The first emerged in London in the mid 19th century where the term “Hot Beef” was used by market traders as cockney rhyming slang for “stop thief”.
Across the pond a little later the term to have a beef with someone is said to refer to disagreements between farmers and cattle ranchers over the fencing of land on the US plains.
As well as influencing language, beef has continued to hold a special place at meal time – though now it is not simply the preserve of wealthy nobles.
You can still spend a fortune on the finer cuts, such as Chateaubriand, if you wish, but one innovation, the beefburger, has made cow meat available to the masses.
Since the first burger-based restaurant opened in London in 1954 – a Wimpy bar in central London – the UK’s love of the fast food classic has mushroomed.
Now there are thousands of restaurants, greasy spoons, takeaways, street stalls, pop-ups and drive-throughs that offer variations of the burger, some with actual meat and some ‘sans’ meat, and all with their own suggestions for accompanying pickles, relishes, secret recipe sauces and other toppings.
You can buy a burger for little more than a pound or spend far more on the increasing number of upmarket individually crafted posh burgers. You can buy them raw from a supermarket or butcher or make your own at home (see below).
The popularity of the burger has inevitably led to its own national day on 26th August. A fitting reward for food that now transcends class, influencing not only the way we eat, but the way we speak, literally!
Smashed cheese burger, Korean fried chicken burger, onion rings and fries
- 6-8 Brioche, milk or corn buns
- 6 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 500g Fatty beef mince
- 4 King Edward potatoes
- 2 Large white onions
- 6 tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp. Ketchup
- 1 tbsp. Worchester sauce
- 1 Ice gem lettuce
- 1 Beef tomato
- ½ Bottle of siracha chilli sauce
- ¼ Jar of Honey
- 2 tbsp. Gochujang
- 3 tbsp. Sesame seeds
- Salt & Pepper
- Cheddar cheese slices
- 1 Carton of buttermilk
- 2 tsp. Onion powder
- 2 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. Garlic powder
- 400g Plain flour
- 400g Onion ring batter
Smashed Cheeseburger with fries and onion rings recipe:
First, start by washing you potatoes and cutting them into fries. I personally leave the skins on, but you could peel them if that’s your preference. Then, place them in water for 20 minutes, this helps clean any starch they have. Cleaning the starch off the potatoes creates a crisper chip. Then, drop them in a preheated fryer at 150 degrees for 5 minutes. After that, turn up the fryer to 190 degrees, dry the fries and set aside for later. For the burgers, season the mince with salt and pepper and form into loose balls. Toast the buns and make a sauce with the mayonnaise, ketchup and Worchester sauce. Wash your ice gem lettuce and slice your tomatoes. Once everything is prepped, heat a pan on medium high heat until smoking, place your mince balls in the pan, and squash with a potato masher until thin. After 4 minutes, flip the burgers, and place the cheese slices on top. Cover with a lid for a further 3 minutes, then remove from the pan. Sauce your buns on both sides, add your lettuce and tomato then your patties. Whilst your burgers were cooking, that would be the perfect time to drop your fries into the 190 degree fryer for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp. Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside your burgers! If you are wanting onion rings, simply mix the onion ring batter and water together until batter like consistency. Slice the white onion, dredge in flour then batter, and fry at 180 degrees for around 4-5 minutes.
Korean Fried Chicken Burger Recipe:
For the chicken, marinade it in the spices and buttermilk for a minimum of 6-8 hours. For best results, ideally leave it overnight for a total of 12 hours. Once marinated, get rid of any excess buttermilk, dredge in flour and spices the fry in oil at 170 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked inside. If unsure, use a thermometer to check. Make a sticky sauce by combining the siracha, honey, gochujang and sesame seeds together, once the chicken is out the fryer and still hot, immediately toss this into the sauce, and coat the chicken fully. Toast the buns again and add your salad and tomato.