7. Oldest Food Staple: The Hamburger
Though the original burger, or “hamburgs” as they were originally called, were nothing more than the basic patty, even minus the bun– fairly unrecognizable from the apple-wood smoked bacon and blue cheese-adorned dishes of today– New York City ports of the early 1800s claim this American classic as their own. As the story goes, what’s now considered perhaps America’s most classic dish started as a way to give homesick German sailors a taste of home– home being Hamburg, Germany along the North Sea.
Not to usurp the legacy of Eggs Benedict, we’re placing New York City’s rather charitable invention of the hamburger in its own category of oldest New York City cuisine staples. The first time the burger was noted on on an actual menu wasn’t until 1873 at Auguste Ermisch’s German restaurant a good 50 years after its port appearance, according to Andrew F. Smith in Hamburger: A Global History.
However, we’d also like to give a special shoutout to the oyster, which more than likely, was being shucked and quite possibly taken in shooter form by the Native Americans long before the the Big Apple was a seedling.