31 August 2013

Defining a "burger"

It depends on which side of the Atlantic you live on, according to separated by a common language:
The British focus on the bread: a burger is a cooked thing served in a round bun... So, order a chicken burger at Nando's or Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and you'll get what Americans would call a chicken breast sandwich. For Americans, a burger is a (chiefly AmE) patty made of (AmE) ground/(BrE) minced meat, so we can be heard to express surprise when the chicken burgers we order in the UK are chicken breasts. (Not necessarily disappointed, but surprised. One doesn't hear chicken burger that much in the US, but turkey burger is fairly common--and always ground/minced.)...

In fact the 'burger' is so much associated with the meat that (orig. AmE) hamburger can also be used in AmE to refer to ground/minced beef even before it's cooked. Hence Hamburger Helper, and its 'Add hamburger' in the top right corner of the package.


  1. My wife spent a little time in England and ordered burgers a couple times when out eating and it was always ground meat, the odd thing was they put an egg on it eaxh time and she hadn't seen that even listed on the menu and has always wondered if it was a fluke or something normal over thher considreing she ate at arange of estanlishments.

    I must admit calling chopped/ground meat "hamburger" before its made into a patty drives me crazy, even worse is when someone shortens it to "hamburg".

  2. Speaking as a Brit, "a burger is a cooked thing served in a round bun..." -- maybe that's a regional thing. I've never heard of that and am most familiar with the (supposedly) American definition.

  3. Brits call a beef hamburger a beef burger, and sometimes call a ham sandwich a hamburger.


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