PARIS REVIEW RECREATES HEMINGWAY’S HAMBURGER

At Paris Review Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan has a wonderful account of digging into new personal papers from Hemingway’s home in Cuba that have been recently archived and catalogued at the JFK Library in Boston.

On avocados: “We like avocados but we don’t want them every day. … When you serve an avocado, do not also serve tomatoes, radishes, or peppers. The avocado is enough for us.”

On the Hemingway cow: “All milk is to be used for the cats.”

A recipe for soup lists abalone, bean curd, smoked turkey, clam broth, onion, and shredded lettuce as ingredients. Instructions for Chinese vegetables have words underlined for emphasis and advise using “poco” soy sauce.

An April, 1957 order to Maison Glass, a gourmet emporium in New York City, requests that tins of whole guinea hen, whole pheasant, cèpes, and lobster bisque along with dozens of jars of preserves such as rose petal jelly and pricey bar le duc be sent to Finca Vigía “by Air Express as you usually do.”

. . . Among his papers, the burger that captured my imagination was one of his more pedestrian recipes—it was no vichyssoise or white grape soup. But I needed to taste it.

It started off simply enough: ground beef, India relish, capers, and green onions, mixed with various spices, egg, and wine. (The recipe is very specific about the brand of spices; Spice Islands appeared to be the Hemingway spice brand of choice.)

Mei Yen powder, however, tripped me up. Perhaps it was a popular spice in the 1950s but in 2013, it was nowhere to be found; it turns out it was discontinued three years ago. But after some conferring with the good people at Spice Islands, I had a recipe for recreating that.

Maison-Glass-order-Edit-2
Follow the link to get the recipe.

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About Marc Brazeau

Free lance cultural attaché. Writing at REALFOOD.ORG.

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