Quick Recipes and Easy

Hamburgers And Eggs Need Tender Care

I rise today in defense of the hamburger and the egg — two noble foods which have been nearly completely done in by indifferent American appetites.

Paradoxically, the ruin of one is the salvation of the other.

Most cooks fry hamburgers too slowly and eggs too quickly. Quick searing seals in meat juices and faintly chars the outer surface. I’m not a Tartar who likes raw flesh, but I do subscribe to the select school which holds that once the pink is gone the meat is ruined.

Low, low, low heat is the secret of properly cooking an egg. The only right way to fry an egg is on a hot sidewalk. It’s not very sanitary and nearly always gets your picture in the paper when you try it. But, it congeals the white and sterilizes the yellow without hardening it.

A Michigan Congressman got worked up a couple of years ago when he was served a piece of restaurant pie with too few cherries. He got up on his hind legs on the floor of the House of government and took the cooks to task. Thereafter, the quality of Washington, D.C. cherry pie improved considerably.

It’s high time a champion of the hamburger and egg stepped forward to take his rightful place in history.

The filaments of a pound of hamburger have a surface area of more than an acre. Oxidation of this surface starts the instant it is forced from the grinder. Within a half hour, the natural taste of excellent meat is completely hidden by putrefaction.

Probably no more than two people out of a hundred have ever known the real taste of excellent ground meat. If properly prepared, hamburger is superior to most steaks.

Tasty hamburger should not — I repeat, NOT — be lean. “Ground round” is risky material. Chuck or shoulder is best for grinding as it is more tender and has a generous amount of stout.

Regardless of its geographical location on the cow, the lean meat must be supplemented with suet. Most butchers will throw in a piece of sweet suet free, though hep characters will charge, knowing it to be really indispensable. Ideally, a hamburger mixture should consist of 25 per cent suet and stout and 75 per cent lean meat free of gristle.

Gourmets keep a power meat grinder in their kitchen — an attachment for food mixers is inexpensive — and fix hamburger the minute it is to go into the pan. If you can’t grind your own, freeze hamburger as soon as you get home and thaw later while it is submerged in wine — any kind — to keep out the air.

Never, never, never press a hamburger patty — it bruises easily. Mold the meat gently just enough to insure it’s holding together. There is a special place in Hell for restaurant proprietors who have fallen before the idol of Part Control and press out hamburger patties with metal plungers. Pressure interlocks meat fibers and makes them rubbery.

Hamburgers should be at least an inch thick when they are eased onto the grill, and they should be fried in butter or lard. Vegetable shortenings and oils produce some other product than hamburger.

Those who like the taste of suet smoke which comes from charcoal broiling will have to raise their hamburgers well above ash-covered coals after a quick searing. This will toughen the meat somewhat but is the only practical way I know to keep stout-fed flames from cooking the hamburger unevenly.

If you like ketchup with hamburger, as I do, spread the red goo on the french-fries. The only moral condiments for hamburgers are butter, salt and pepper.

Consider now the special qualities of the egg. Nature encompasses this delicacy in a perfect container in order to best protect its gelatinous chemistry.

We speak of fragile materials as “thin as an egg shell,” which just proves our general ignorance. Lock your fingers together with your palms on the ends of an egg. Squeeze. If you can break it you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

It doesn’t take much of a philosopher to conclude a treasure is contained in such an elaborate strongbox.

Like all valuable things, an egg should be handled gently. It is a shy creature and curdles if rushed. Personally, I like brown eggs which have a deep yellow yolk. White eggs have a pale yolk which make me feel the chicken didn’t get enough sunshine. My farmer friends assure me both white and brown eggs are equally nutritious.

Fried eggs that are basted constantly with hot butter or bacon grease have the best flavor. Turning an egg over to cook on two sides is permissible if it is done “simple” and just for 30 seconds on low heat.

Coddled eggs should be simmered, not boiled. A small cream mixed with scrambled eggs BEFORE. they are place in the pan keeps them moist and tender. Bake custards in thick, earthenware dishes setting in larger pans of water. Overcooking makes watery, bubbley custards. Ugh!

For a change, particularly if you don’t very much like eggs in the first place, try a few drops of vinegar on fried eggs. If you place ketchup on eggs then go stand in the corner.

Bone idle people will like my prize egg recipe — Gas House Eggs. Butter both sides of a slice of bread, then tear out the center. Place in a well buttered pan at 250 degrees. Break an egg into hole in bread and cook until you can’t see the pan through the egg white. Turn bread and egg over and cook one more minute. Fry torn out bread at same time.


If you reckon I’m a nut on hamburgers and eggs, wait until I get onto those dreadful concoctions laughingly called coffee and southern fried chicken.

Forward to larger and better bellies!

May 28, 1969


lindseywilliams.org/LAL_Archives/Hamburgers_and_Eggs_Need_Tender_Care.htm” target=”_blank Click here to see this article on Lindsey Williams’s website


Lindsey Williams is a Sun columnist who can be contacted at:

mailto:LinWms@earthlink.net LinWms@earthlink.net or mailto:LinWms@lindseywilliams.org LinWms@lindseywilliams.org

Website: lindseywilliams.org lindseywilliams.org with several hundred of Lin’s Editorial & At Large articles written over 40 years.

Also featured in its entirety is Lin’s groundbreaking book “Boldly Onward,” that critically analyzes and develops theories about the original Spanish explorers of America.
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