bacon and books

 

Ernest Hemingway wrote classic novels about love, relationships, travel, drinks, and food.  While he is a fascinating author and brillant writer, here is Hemingway on his book reading list of classic books:

In Arnold Samuelson’s fascinating memoir, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba, the author discusses his first meeting with Hemingway.  When they sat down to chat, Hemingway insisted on sharing a list of books (and short stories) that stood the test of time.  Here’s Hemingway’s recommended reading list to Samuelson (from Open Culture), including his own A Farewell to Arms:

  • “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane
  • “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  • Hail and Farewell by George Moore
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Oxford Book of English Verse
  • The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
  • The American by Henry James

Hemingway was an outdoors man who loved to eat good food and imbibe in cocktails.  Here are Hemingway’s recipes for burgers and bacon wrapped trout:

From Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan for the Paris Review:

PAPA’S FAVORITE HAMBURGER:

There is no reason why a fried hamburger has to turn out gray, greasy, paper-thin and tasteless. You can add all sorts of goodies and flavors to the ground beef — minced mushrooms, cocktail sauce, minced garlic and onion, chopped almonds, a big dollop of piccadilli, or whatever your eye lights on. Papa prefers this combination.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground lean beef
  • 2 cloves, minced garlic
  • 2 little green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, India relish
  • 2 tablespoons, capers
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, Spice Islands sage
  • Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning — ½ teaspoon
  • Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder — ½ teaspoon **
  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork
  • About one third cup dry red or white wine.
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

What to do:

Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad. Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible. Now make four fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny. Have the oil in your frying-pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes. Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.

** Spice Islands discontinued its production of Mei Yen Powder three years ago. If you don’t have any in your pantry, here’s how to recreate it:

9 parts salt

9 parts sugar

2 parts MSG

If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon Mei Yen Powder, use 2/3 tsp of the dry recipe (above) mixed with 1/8 tsp of soy sauce.

Hemingway’s Bacon Wrapped Trout

While the Paper and Salt blog has a great, updated version adapted from Emeril Lagasse, I enjoy reading the recipe from Hemingway’s voice.

From his essay “Camping Out” published in Toronto Daily Star, Hemingway’s description of how to fry trout in the woods:

A pan of fried trout can’t be bettered and they don’t cost any more than ever. But there is a good and bad way of frying them.
The beginner puts his trout and his bacon in and over a brightly burning fire; the bacon curls up and dries into a dry tasteless cinder and the trout is burned outside while it is still raw inside. He eats them and it is all right if he is only out for the day and going home to a good meal at night. But if he is going to face more trout and bacon the next morning and other equally well-cooked dishes for the remainder of two weeks he is on the pathway to nervous dyspepsia.

 

The proper way is to cook over coals. Have several cans of Crisco or Cotosuet or one of the vegetable shortenings along that are as good as lard and excellent for all kinds of shortening. Put the bacon in and when it is about half cooked lay the trout in the hot grease, dipping them in corn meal first. Then put the bacon on top of the trout and it will baste them as it slowly cooks.

 

The coffee can be boiling at the same time and in a smaller skillet pancakes being made that are satisfying the other campers while they are waiting for the trout. With the prepared pancake flours you take a cupful of pancake flour and add a cup of water. Mix the water and flour and as soon as the lumps are out it is ready for cooking. Have the skillet hot and keep it well greased. Drop the batter in and as soon as it is done on one side loosen it in the skillet and flip it over. Apple butter, syrup or cinnamon and sugar go well with the cakes.
While the crowd have taken the edge from their appetites with flapjacks the trout have been cooked and they and the bacon are ready to serve. The trout are crisp outside and firm and pink inside and the bacon is well done–but not too done. If there is anything better than that combination the writer has yet to taste it in a lifetime devoted largely and studiously to eating.

 

Looking for a literary evening? Fry up some trout and grab a copy of Dubliners!

 

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