Food - Drink
Salisbury Steak's Historic Connection To The Civil War
ByCHRIS SANDS
We may associate Salisbury steak with school lunches or TV dinners, but this dish has surprising historical origins. Dr. James H. Salisbury, a physician for the Union Army during the American Civil War, was one of the first to promote the idea that our health depends heavily on the foods we eat, leading him to create the dish that bears his name.
During the Civil War, disease, especially dysentery, killed more men than combat did, and Dr. Salisbury believed a poor diet was to blame. His prescription was 100% lean beef formed into patties, which he gave to soldiers to improve nutrition and digestion; nowadays, Salisbury steak is allowed to contain up to 25% pork, according to the USDA.
Salisbury steak's resemblance to the hamburger also created an interesting moment in U.S. warfare history. During World War I, anti-German sentiment led the U.S. Army to eschew hamburgers in favor of the Salisbury steak, which was served to American troops throughout the war — just as Dr. Salisbury intended.