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Americans/ love to eat hamburgers -- chopped or ground beef/ served on bread. Many restaurants/ in the United States/ say hamburgers/ are their most popular food. But no one/ really seems to know/ who made the first one.

History expert Linda Stradley/ published a hamburger history/ on the Web site/ What’s Cooking America. She says/ sailors/ who visited the German port city of Hamburg/ in the eighteen hundreds/ learned to enjoy ground meat/ known as Hamburg steak. The German settlers/ in the United States/ served ground beef/ and called it/ hamburg steak/ after the German city.

But she says/ the invention/ of the modern American hamburger/ is in dispute. She says/ one problem/ is the definition. Is it a hamburger/ when the meat/ is placed/ between two pieces of bread? Or must it be/ in a kind of bread/ called a bun? Either way, she tells/ about a number of people/ who claim/ to have served the first hamburger/ in America. Here/ are some of them.

The people/ of Seymour, Wisconsin, say fifteen-year-old Charlie Nagreen/ sold the first hamburgers/ in eighteen eighty-five/ at a local fair. The town/ holds a yearly hamburger festival/ to honor him.

People/ in Akron, Ohio, agree that the hamburger/ was invented/ in eighteen eighty-five. But they say/ the inventors/ were Frank and Charles Menches. They say/ the brothers/ put the meat/ between two pieces of bread/ at a traveling fair.

Other claims/ include the family/ of Louis Lassen. They are still making hamburgers/ in New Haven, Connecticut. And people/ in Athens, Texas, say Fletch Davis, who owned a restaurant, sold the first hamburger.

The modern hamburger/ became popular/ after it was served/ at the Saint Louis World’s Fair/ in nineteen-oh-four. But the Bilby family/ in the state of Oklahoma/ says their grandfather Oscar/ served the first hamburger thirteen years/ before that. They claim/ he was the first/ to put the meat/ in a bun.

Because of this claim, the governor of Oklahoma/ declared the city of Tulsa/ to be the birthplace/ of the hamburger. But the Library of Congress/ has honored Louis Lassen/ as the inventor/ of the hamburger.

As recently as last month, language expert Barry Popik/ wrote about the issue. He says/ that states/ should drop claims/ to be the home/ of the hamburger/ because no one/ really knows/ who served the first one.
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