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Its history and the two sauces that you can make at home and that are a must-have in your sandwich!


In the 90s when the large American-style junk food multinationals had not yet landed in Florence, the only place where you could go to eat a hamburger as a teenager was "Italy & Italy" in front of the train station.



Well I haven't been there for years because my parents didn't agree with my desire to eat junk food, especially when they would also have to finance it! I, who did not have any money of my own, was content to take a bite of the sandwich from a generous friend. So my adolescence passed, until one day with my grandfather's ten thousandths, I ran to buy myself the famous American sandwich ... how much disappointment !!! The sandwich was not as it seemed in the picture,  it was almost like cardboard and tasted like frying oil!


I went home and with the help of my father we prepared the best burgers in the world, and since that first time,  one day a month is dedicated to American dinner.


The "hamburg steak", already in 1700 was the main dish in the port of Hamburg where for the first time the minced meat steak was given a precise name. And since the city was the most important port in Europe, thanks to the sailors and to German emigrants, the proto-hamburger arrived in the United States where in the early twentieth century the hamburger took its present form.


Our family hamburger tradition includes some fundamental steps:


  • We buy the meat from a local  butcher and the burgers always weigh 150 gr.
  • We like to cook our burgers ti medium!
  • We buy the sandwich bread, or burger bun, as the Americans say,  from a baker who makes them fresh delicious and they don't taste like alcohol
  • For those on a diet you can avoid the sandwich and just eat the meat with sauces and vegetables
  • The essential sauces are: mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup
  • Caramelized onions are needed, of course, because we are food lovers!
  • The cheese, for those who want it is the stringy type - emmental
  • plenty of salad and tomatoes
  • My partner likes to add gherkins but I disapprove!


Here are two very quick and tasty recipes to make at home to enjoy your hamburger.


Homemade ketchup:


350 gr tomato sauce

2 tbsp of tomato paste

half a glass of good red wine vinegar

pepper as needed.

cinnamon to taste

a pinch of chili pepper

a hint of spicy paprika

2 bay leaves

1 clove of garlic

10 g of cornstarch

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste.

1 tbsp sugar

I quickly fry the bay leaves and the garlic in the extra virgin olive oil and then remove them. At that point I add all the ingredients except the cornstarch. I cook for 30 minutes and at the end I add the cornstarch and I finish cooking for a few minutes.

I leave to cool and put in the jar in the fridge.


Caramelized onions:


2 onions

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp of brown sugar

pinch of salt

2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar


I cut the onions into thin slices and toss them in a pan with oil and salt. As soon as they soften I add, balsamic vinegar and sugar and leave to cook for a few minutes. Excellent sauce for cheeses too!