We get quite a few e-mails at A Hamburger Today, but we thought we'd highlight this one, first because it's from overseas (proving that burgerloving is a global phenomenon) and because it points out that during the last couple of weeks, we've talked about sliders without having defined the term:
First off, I have to say I LOVE AHT quite a lot. The writing makes me laugh and the burgers make me absolutely starving.
I'm a Brit living in the UK, however, which brings me to why I'm writing. We don't have a clue what sliders are, nor tiny burgers (although it doesn't take a great leap of intellect to work out that tiny burgers are, well, small burgers.)
But would it be possible for you guys to give us Brits a clue about what all these burger things are? Our experience of burgers is limited in this country, so we're not up to date with the cutting edge burgerology. Hell, its rare enough to actually find a pickle in a burger over here, let alone get a choice of burger buns.
Keep up the eating! Rich
Well, Rich, a slider is just as you guessed: a miniature hamburger, the patties of which generally weighing in somewhere around 1 oz. (for metric-minded readers, roughly 28.35 grams). Why are they small? That's just the way White Castle started making them, probably to keep the cost down, even though customers would end up eating more than one burger and thus negate the perceived value.
Why sliders? We had always heard that the nickname came about because the burgers were so greasy and small that you could just swallow them whole and they'd just "slide" down your throat. Other folks claim that the moniker stems from the burgers' method of locomotion on the other end of your alimentary canal, cha-cha-cha.
No matter what the origin, the term, as spelled with a y, was eventually trademarked by White Castle. From the book Selling 'Em by the Sack:
Over the years, customers coined a multitude of derisive or sarcastic terms for the company and its hamburgers, including porcelain palace and sliders. (After successfully dodging the term slider since the 1930s, White Castle finally embraced it and featured it in its advertising but changed the spelling to Slyder for copyright reasons.) These commonly used nicknames in themselves are enough to keep many queasy diners at bay. Interestingly enough, White Castle aficionados use these slang terms with great affection, not deterred by the criticisms of the weak stomached.
So there you go, mate. Hope that clears things up for you. Now go have yourself some sliders and chips!