James H. Salisbury (1823-1905) was an English physician who promoted a diet of ground beef, which was just common hamburger, but dressed up with brown gravy to make it more appealing. The name steak was an elegant designation for ordinary meat, but one that looks more inviting on a menu and makes the dish more palatable.
Dr. Salisbury, a dietician specialist, maintained that his suggested diet would cure hardening of the arteries and colitis and a number of other ailments, including anemia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. The diet had many followers. His patties, usually twice the size of a hamburger, were mixed with eggs, milk, and bread crumbs, making the dish very tasty. But whether this high-cholesterol concoction would cure you or kill you is a question for trained physicians to ponder. The Salisbury faddists are no longer heard from, but the «steak» is still a good seller in restaurants and cafeterias around the country.
Perhaps Dr. Salisbury’s chief failing was «oversell». Not satisfied to have people eat his «steak» occasionally, even regularly, he urged everyone, with a fanatic’s zeal, to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.