Dictionary.com Word FAQs
What is the origin of Salisbury steak? How about hamburger?
Salisbury steak is pretty much a fancy hamburger. Salisbury steak is the namesake of James Henry Salisbury (1823-1905), a doctor known for his comments on diets and nutrition during Civil War times. He recommended that people eat hamburger three times a day (a friend of the Atkins diet) chased by cups of hot water, especially for soldiers who were suffering from "camp diarrhea". He was a staunch advocate of shredding all food to make it more digestible. The term Salisbury steak was first recorded in 1897 but really came into full usage during World War I when patriotic Americans wanted a substitute for the German word hamburger. Hamburger was originally Hamburger steak (or Hamburg steak) as it was created in the city of Hamburg, Germany. (In 2003, the cafeteria menus in the three US House of Representatives office buildings changed the name of french fries to freedom fries, in a culinary rebuke of France stemming from anger over the country's refusal to support the US position on Iraq.)