The slider, a small version of a hamburger, was born in the 1920’s at the first burger chain.
Sliders have been enjoying a lot of time in the spotlight in recent years. It isn’t hard to understand why they’ve become so popular; like their larger counterpart sliders offer endless variations. But the truth is that sliders have been around for a long time. They were first made back in 1921 when then the hamburger chain White Castle opened. Walter A. Anderson and Edgar Waldo “Billy” Ingram founded White Castle in Wichita, Kansas. The two men set out with the goal to re-gain the faith of American consumers who were scared to eat beef after reading the 1906 novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This popular book exposed the downright disgusting sanitation and safety practices in the meat packing industry. Anderson and Ingram wanted to give the public a feeling of cleanliness, which was reflected in the design and name of the restaurant.
White Castle’s signature item was the slider, made from a tiny square burger patty cooked on top of a bed of finely chopped onions and topped with a pickle slice. They cost just five cents each. It is believed the term slider came from the Navy where greasy burgers were called sliders because they could slide around so easily. Some burger purists say that a true slider is only made this way (bun, patty, onion, pickle) and that anything else is a considered mini hamburger. But of course today the term slider is used to describe lots of mini sandwiches and you can find them topped with everything from fried chicken to pork belly.