Monday, October 17, 2011

Fancypants Hash

Before I could post about this, I needed to conduct a little research so that I could back up a seemingly offensive claim with actual data. The claim: corned beef hash traditionally/historically is eaten by middle-to-lower class people. Before you get all in my face about being classist, let me say that I was making this assumption based on the fact that you can get it at most corner stores for less than $3. And let's be real, the greasy canned variety just doesn't look like rich people food:

Sorry, but Warren Buffet is not eating that for breakfast. Don't get me wrong -- it tastes freakin' delicious, almost good enough to justify the intestinal distress that usually follows its consumption.

My hunch was correct -- according to Wikipedia, corned beef hash became popular during WWII when food was rationed and fresh, high quality meat was hard to come by. Corned beef hash was survival food, a good way to get some protein that would also fill you up. It's literally meat and potatoes, working folks' food.

Not anymore.

Now on brunch menus, there will almost always be some kind of fancy hash. Like the above pictured duck confit hash. At the restaurant where I work, we had braised lamb hash on the menu this past Sunday. Hash has gotten mighty big for its britches, if you ask me. It's come a long way from its unassuming beginnings:

This beef short rib hash is almost too pretty to eat:

Here's my main question: Why do we feel the need to dress up our hash? Are we ashamed to admit that something that looks (arguably) gross

tastes amazing?

I for one would like to return hash to its true roots. No more highfalutin hash! Hash for the 99%! #occupybrunch!

Friday, October 7, 2011

What brunch and Burger King have in common

More than any other restaurant meal, brunchers love to modify and customize their order. Instead of looking at a brunch menu and thinking, "Hmmm, what sounds good to me?" they look with an eye toward "what could I change about this dish to make it EXACTLY what I woke up in the mood for today?"

I work in the restaurant industry and I know this to be a fact. The modifications ("mods") on brunch tickets are OUT OF CONTROL. It's one thing to sub your home fries for french fries, or even a salad (though you know my thoughts on that travesty) -- it's another thing to ask if instead of mushrooms and goat cheese in your omelet, you can have tomatoes, zucchini, and smoked salmon. WTF, people. Do you see a "build-your-own" option under the description of our delicious omelet? I don't think so. There's an IHOP in Cambridge that will be happy to put up with your shit. Though I doubt they have smoked salmon. Or zucchini, for that matter.

I wish we could just play Sinatra's "My Way" on a loop, since that is definitely the theme song of brunch. A brunch anthem, if you will. But instead, we'll probably just roll with some Feist, a band I used to like until a friend insightfully categorized them as "brunch rock."

And now, just for fun.....the "My Way" lyrics, reimagined for my brunch purposes. Enjoy.

And now that brunch is near
My hangover is really hurtin'
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my order of which I'm certain

I've brunched a life that's full
I changed each dish, gotten sauce on the side, babe
And more, much more than this
I ate it my way

Some chefs- there've been a few
Who hesitated to follow my vision
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I modified each charted course
Each careful bite along the byway
And more, much more than this
I ate it my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all
And I stood tall and ate brunch my way.