History lesson

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orzobino
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2004/09/08 10:47:35 (permalink)

History lesson

I was watching the food channel and they were talking about hamburgers and apparently in the late 19teens there was a ground beef scare and people quit eating hamburgers and it was white Castle that brought the country back on track..thats why they used white buildings and cooked the burgers in front of the customers...the world owes white castle.....
#1

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    carlton pierre
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    RE: History lesson 2004/10/14 22:32:49 (permalink)
    If it truly was White Castle, you must be referring to digestive track.

    carl reitz
    #2
    Starlord
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 16:15:29 (permalink)
    The reason White Castle came to be:

    They chose to model the building on the old Chicago Water company building, which does look like a medieval castle. This was to convey the idea of strength and permanence. White was chosen to signify cleanliness and purity. Put them together, voila, White Castle.

    When I worked there, the entire building was completely cleaned every 24 hours. There were several signs around the place: If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.
    #3
    Scorereader
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 16:51:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by orzobino

    I was watching the food channel and they were talking about hamburgers and apparently in the late 19teens there was a ground beef scare and people quit eating hamburgers and it was white Castle that brought the country back on track..thats why they used white buildings and cooked the burgers in front of the customers...the world owes white castle.....


    I find that incredibly hard to believe. I need more proof before I buy into THAT tale.
    I'm not saying it's b.s., but I'm not giving it credence either.
    #4
    Pwingsx
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 17:13:40 (permalink)
    I thought it was fallout from the book Sinclair Lewis wrote about the slaughterhourses that people began mistrusting ground meat.
    #5
    Pwingsx
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 17:14:49 (permalink)
    Ooops, forgot to add, then White Castle came along and really did market themselves on the cleanliness and idea of royalty and purity.
    #6
    Greyghost
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 17:29:24 (permalink)
    I concur with Orzobino. White Castle did do a lot to make hamburger more accepted. There was an image problem as Pwingsx correctly states because of Sinclair Lewis's book The Jungle.

    Back then hot dogs were the preferred fast food and it was not until the efforts of White Castle and later White Tower, that things began to turn around.
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 17:31:28 (permalink)
    I sure do appreciate White Castles attitude toward cleanliness.

    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #8
    BLAPPER
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 18:01:11 (permalink)
    The author of "The Jungle" was Upton Sinclair not Sinclair Lewis
    #9
    Greyghost
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 18:09:55 (permalink)
    BLAPPER:

    You are entirely correct. I was about to edit my post, but you beat me to it.
    #10
    Pwingsx
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/30 23:43:23 (permalink)
    Color me embarrassed. I obviously never read the book.
    #11
    jack38
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/31 00:22:19 (permalink)
    I spent some time in Wichita KS and was informed by the locals that White Castles
    stated in Wichita. They also stated that they no longer have any White Castles.

    #12
    roossy90
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/31 04:28:57 (permalink)
    http://www.whitecastle.com/_pages/timeline_20s.asp
    follow the time line....
    #13
    Niagara
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/31 09:51:42 (permalink)
    The Kansas State Museum of History in Topeka has a fast food exhibit that includes White Castle stuff, and has an replica of a diner interior. It's pretty neat.

    Unfortunately, the last White Castle I know of in Kansas was on Metcalf in Overland Park, and closed several years ago.

    But, if you're in Salina, you can go to Cozy Inn, which has been serving sliders since 1922 in the same location, and looks like what White Castle must have looked like in the '20's.
    #14
    Scorereader
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/31 10:55:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by orzobino

    I was watching the food channel and they were talking about hamburgers and apparently in the late 19teens there was a ground beef scare and people quit eating hamburgers and it was white Castle that brought the country back on track..thats why they used white buildings and cooked the burgers in front of the customers...the world owes white castle.....


    after further research, your information is true, depending on where one gets the information.

    Now, specifically, there is no historical documentation of a meat problem during WWI. (since, as you will read later, the fear of certain meat at the beginning of the 20th century caused by an outcry from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Book, led to new meat handling laws in 1906, well before WWI)

    One reason hamburgers were less popular during WWI era, was because of it's name. Anti-German sentiment led to a reduction in the sales of hamburger. Some places changed the name to "salibury steak"

    According to wikipedia:
    Due to widely prevalent anti-German sentiment in the USA during the First World War, an alternative name for hamburgers ("salisbury steaks") became more common for the duration. Even after the war, hamburger's popularity was severely depressed...

    however, it goes to say:
    ...until the White Castle chain of restaurants created a business model featuring sales of large numbers of small hamburgers (later sometimes called "sliders", "grease grenades", "gut bombs" and other dysphemisms, though "slider" is now a generic term for a small hamburger) in the mid-1920s.

    Other historical sources state: At the turn of the last century, despite Old Dave's success in St Louis [at the 1904 World's Fair] the hamburger was looked down upon by the majority of Americans as low grade meat likely to be richer with E coli than nutrients. Pork was the number one household meat; hamburger patties were struggling on the bottom rung along with two-day-old shrimp.

    In this case, there is no meat scare, per se, but just a general fear of ground meat. E Coli was identified in 1885, and ground meat was often feared, since meat was the primary carrier. The age of the meat was the primary question when it came to ground meat.

    Admittedly, Upton Sinclair's Book "The Jungle" had an adverse affect on meat sales. But not just ground meat, rather all meat from the US. Following the book, in order to calm public opinion and demonstrate the cleanliness of their meat, the major meat packers lobbied the Federal government to pass legislation paying for additional inspection and certification of meat packaged in the United States. The meat packers efforts, coupled with the public outcry, led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which established the Food and Drug Administration.

    Still, by WWI, the major fear regarding ground meat was not how it was handled, but the age of the meat.

    In the early 20's White Castle put the meat up front, not to show that it was well cooked, but to show how fresh the meat was. According to BBC historians: Edgar Waldo 'Billy' Ingram and J Walter Anderson, confidently promot[ed] the idea that hamburger meat was both clean and safe by moving the kitchen from its hiding place at the back of the shop to the front, in full view of the patrons so that they could see how fresh the raw beef was. The shop boasted fresh raw hamburger delivered twice a day and an experiment that showed that hamburger had nutritional value.

    So, no meat scare during WWI. Mostly likely a combination of these effects: fear of ground meat being ground up to cover its age and anti-German sentiment were the reasons for the hamburger's backseat to the hotdog.

    But, my finding in this reasearch was that White Caste did indeed have a prime influence in the US hamburger culture.

    Interestingly enough, "White Castle suffered greatly when World War II erupted. Part of this was due to the rationing of sugar and beef; Ingram did nothing to help his business by adamantly refusing to hire women or black workers. Although much later he relented to both, his obstinacy where TV advertising, suburban expansion, franchising and french fries were concerned had cost Ingram his lead in the hamburger business."

    We all know who took over the reigns in the top spot in the 1950's.




    #15
    seafarer john
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    RE: History lesson 2006/08/31 18:31:08 (permalink)
    What there was a shortage of during WWI was sugar. A local wholesaler, feeling sorry for my grandparents children, gave them a 50 # bag of sugar in 1918 as a Xmas gift- this largess continued (despite the children being grown and gone) until the end of WWII ! (Sugar rationing be dammned!)

    Cheers, John
    #16
    Rowsdower98
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/11 22:27:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jack38

    I spent some time in Wichita KS and was informed by the locals that White Castles
    stated in Wichita. They also stated that they no longer have any White Castles.



    I believe that White Castle started in Chicago, although Wichita did give us Pizza Hut and my personal favorite taco joint, Taco Tico.
    #17
    Big Sausage
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/11 22:45:42 (permalink)
    Does anyone know why White Castle won't franchise out west ? I would think a restaurant in Arizona would be a gold mine. A lot of displaced mid Westerners out here, I crave these little nuggets so badly I could pay two griller's salary each month. As a bonus it would help me with my constipation.
    #18
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/12 10:10:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wjakubin

    Does anyone know why White Castle won't franchise out west ? I would think a restaurant in Arizona would be a gold mine. A lot of displaced mid Westerners out here, I crave these little nuggets so badly I could pay two griller's salary each month. As a bonus it would help me with my constipation.

    White Castle doesn't franchise at all.
    #19
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/12 10:14:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowsdower98

    quote:
    Originally posted by jack38

    I spent some time in Wichita KS and was informed by the locals that White Castles
    stated in Wichita. They also stated that they no longer have any White Castles.



    I believe that White Castle started in Chicago, although Wichita did give us Pizza Hut and my personal favorite taco joint, Taco Tico.

    Nope. The first White Castle was in Wichita.

    http://www.whitecastle.com/_pages/timeline_20s.asp
    #20
    kland01s
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/12 11:30:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wjakubin

    Does anyone know why White Castle won't franchise out west ? I would think a restaurant in Arizona would be a gold mine. A lot of displaced mid Westerners out here, I crave these little nuggets so badly I could pay two griller's salary each month. As a bonus it would help me with my constipation.


    The last time I flew from Chicago to the southwest, someone on board had a load of fresh White Castle, the smell was not pleasant. I tried one recently for the first time in 30+ years and really regreted it, the onions do not agree with me at all.
    #21
    Rowsdower98
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    RE: History lesson 2006/09/13 15:01:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowsdower98

    quote:
    Originally posted by jack38

    I spent some time in Wichita KS and was informed by the locals that White Castles
    stated in Wichita. They also stated that they no longer have any White Castles.



    I believe that White Castle started in Chicago, although Wichita did give us Pizza Hut and my personal favorite taco joint, Taco Tico.

    Nope. The first White Castle was in Wichita.

    http://www.whitecastle.com/_pages/timeline_20s.asp

    I stand corrected.
    #22
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