America Just Got a Little Freaked Out By the Holiday Tradition of ‘Cannibal Sandwiches’ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I'm very confused by a tweet that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services tweeted out telling their residents that eating raw ground beef sandwiches is potentially dangerous.
The tweet that was sent out on Saturday afternoon read,
For many #Wisconsin families, raw meat sandwiches are a #holiday tradition, but eating raw meat is NEVER recommended because of the bacteria it can contain. Ground beef should always be cooked to 160 degrees!
This isn't a new trend what-so-ever. It even has a name, "Cannibal sandwiches," what you might call tartare And while it's hard to figure out just how popular this trend is, the Guardian reports that they found a story from Wisconsin Public Radio back in 2019,
It is not clear exactly how popular the dish is, but Bunzel’s Meat Market in Milwaukee told Wisconsin Public Radio in 2019 it goes through more than 1,000lb of raw beef and 250lb of raw onions just for the sandwiches during the holiday period.
I'm still trying to figure this whole trend out. In the comments of the original tweet, people say that it's a German and Belgium tradition, but I know someone of German descent, and they've never heard of this. There are a few comments from people growing up in both Wisconsin and Michigan and not having heard of it, but then others are talking about how it's all about the cut of meat and the spices you use to season the raw hamburger.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, cannibal sandwiches are definitely a thing,
An appetizer of raw, lean ground beef served on bread (especially rye cocktail bread) with sliced onions, salt and pepper. Also known as "tiger meat," "steak tartare," or simply "raw beef and onions," the sandwiches have traditionally been served at holiday parties and other festive gatherings in the Milwaukee area.
This is so weird because really I've always been told NOT to eat raw beef. We even shamed one of my aunts who sometimes liked to take little pieces of raw beef while we were making hamburgers. And even now, knowing that this is a Wisconsin trend, I'd still shame her if she grabbed some raw beef to gnaw on.
This is one trend that I definitely think I'm okay saying, "Nah" to.