Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anne's Hamburgers

Anne's Hamburgers, from Missouri, are actually very good. They have such small amounts of additives relative to the meat that one wonders how the additives can make a difference. The recipe calls for 1/2 pound of ground chuck and 1/2 pound of neck meat. Neck meat? What neck? Whose neck? If you Google neck meat, the approved way of finding out what something is, you get quotations from what I call Stupid Guy movies about bruising neck meat when being put in a headlock. I think it's pork, actually. I omitted the neck meat.
It has one egg, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 tablespoon bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Mix it up and fry it in a pan. Like I said, the additives are so small relative to the meat, that I don't see how they possibly could make a difference in the hamburger, but they do make a nice juicy hamburger.
On the opposite page are two recipes that made my mouth water. Yum, yum. Corned Beef in a Pot, and How to Corn Beef. Now, I have made corned beef innumerable times but I have never corned it myself. I am looking forward to doing it.
Corned beef was one of the culinary wonders of my childhood, second only to its product, corned beef hash with poached eggs on them. To me, this was an ambrosial dish, and exciting because it involved eating eggs for dinner. We lived a culinarily restricted life up there on the farm. My mother, the former New York debutant, was what could be described as a good, plain cook. Chops, roasts, broiled chicken, frozen vegetables, and nothing the least little bit ethnic, or containing, God forbid, garlic.
Actually, come to think of it, my mother did slice garlic cloves in quarters and stick the pieces into the skin of a leg of lamb. But the first time I remember cooking with it was when I made spaghetti sauce from scratch, and had to cut up and cook in butter a clove of garlic. The recipe came out of a Betty Crocker Children's Cookbook. I must have been about 12. My mother looked with disgust at my efforts at mincing a clove of garlic snorted, "You'll reek," and reminced it.
My eating experience was so restricted that I was 17 or 18 and in college when my boyfriend, now my husband, took me to a local Italian restaurant and ordered ravioli. "What do you want to order that for?" I inquired incredulously with visions of Chef BoyRDee swirling in my head. As she got older, my mother did loosen up a bit cooking wise, but we never had anything remotely like Italian spaggetti.
The result of all this was when I did discover some pedestrian staple that the rest of the country had eaten every Saturday night, I went nuts. I remember discovering baked beans at a country club buffet for the Forth of July. "Could we have them again?" I pleaded. No. Ditto fish sticks. I thought fish sticks were amazing.
Anyhow I'm looking forward to corning my own beef.

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