Thursday, March 12, 2009

A History of Hash

Maybe that looks good to you. Maybe not. It's a hash made with andouille sausage and sweet potatoes. I think it looks good. When hash is prepared well, it can be a wonderful example of comfort food.

The recipe for this hash accompanies this article in the Washington Post. The article written by Scott Reitz also provides a brief but interesting history of hash:

The name first shows up in English in the mid-17th century, derived from the French word "hacher," which means "to chop."

. . . In the 19th century, restaurants serving inexpensive meals became known as hash houses. Canned corned beef was a mainstay for British soldiers during both world wars.

. . . At the close of the 19th century, here in Washington hash was making headlines. Maggie Maloney, the cook for influential Ohio senator Mark A. Hanna, made a renowned corned beef hash for the regular breakfasts he hosted for friends, the president and political adversaries.

Political dignitaries angled for breakfast invitations as Hanna added leaves to his morning table. On more than one occasion, the New York Times reported, Maloney's hash "brought the light of reason to recalcitrant legislators."

There are several links to hash recipes embedded in the article. One thing that Reitz did not mention (and it struck me as an unpardonable omission) was the fact that the Plaza Hotel's famous chicken hash was the centerpiece dish served at the Black and White Ball hosted by Truman Capote in the 1960s.

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