I have the recipe for Ernest Hemingway’s favorite burger
The seventh entry of the sixth volume of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, published in 1966, is for “hamburger.” It features a short article, bordered in magenta, called “Hail to the Hamburger,” by Mary Hemingway. She writes:
Here are some of Ernest’s and my favorite ways of dealing with ground beef and some hamburger ideas, which I invented to fortify us for tramping through sagebrush after pheasant, partridge, or ducks, or, after such hikes, to console us for not having shot our limits.
At about nine-thirty this evening, I suddenly realized I was reading the hamburger recipes of Ernest Hemingway’s wife.
So you want to know how to make Ernest Hemingway’s favorite burger? Here it is! I haven’t yet tried to make these myself, but I’ll post again if I do. They sound a bit iffy to me. They sit on the counter at room temperature for an hour before you cook them! But what’s art without danger?
Wild West Hamburger (Papa’s Favorite)
- 1 pound lean beef, ground
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed-herb seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- 2 spring onions or shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 heaping teaspoon India relish
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 egg, whipped in a cup
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons oil for frying
Mary Hemingway’s cooking instructions are wordy, so here’s my abridged version: You mix the dry ingredients with the meat, then you mix in all the wet ingredients. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour.
Shape the mixture into four patties. Heat oil in a pan. For each patty, drop in the patty, then turn the heat down. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Turn heat on high. Flip the hamburger patty and return pan to heat for 1 minute. Lower heat and cook an additional 3 minutes. Supposedly this method makes burgers that are crispy on the outside but juicy and pink on the inside.
Makes 2 Hemingway-sized servings.