Hash browns are best eaten for breakfast in a New York City diner, with eggs over-easy and crispy bacon.
I have tried to recapture the experience here in Australia at Maccas……take my advice and just don’t do it.
By the way, in case anyone is confused, hash brownies are a different thing altogether. 😎
Now the term hash had yet another meaning in times gone by. The earliest Oz mention I can find of a dish with that name was in 1904, from the Berrima Gazette……. amongst various other papers;
A very good hash, a dish indeed fit to ‘set before the King,’, is made as follows: – Cut the meat to be used up in small squares and put them in a brown jar with a cover. Add some stock, two or three onions cut in slices, a piece of mace, some salt, about half a teaspoonful of black pepper, and a good dredging of flour; also a dessertspoonful of sugar, one of catsup, and one of sauce, some pickled walnuts, and a good teaspoon of their vinegar. Stew this slowly for two or three hours in the oven, and serve in the brown jar hidden in a serviette.
Hmmm, maybe hiding the brown jar out in the bush somewhere would be a better idea. 😎
Here is a far simpler and perhaps more palatable version from The Essendon Gazette in 1914;
Hash – Equal parts of meat and potatoes, chopped fine and well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put in enough hot water to cover the bottom of a skillet; add one tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted, add the hash. Let it simmer until it has absorbed all the water and formed a brown crust. Do not stir it. Fold like an omelette.
That sounds like something I might actually enjoy. Presumably the potato was added raw.
The dish always had the unfortunate connotation of ‘re-hashed’, leading to the following, rather lame joke;
And from The Week in Brisbane, December 1923;
A man was taking dinner at the home of a friend. The dinner consisted chiefly of hash, and on being offered some he refused. The host, not wishing to see his guest go hungry, insisted that he take some. Upon that the guest replied that he never ate hash, not even at home. ‘Why is that?‘ asked the host. ‘Well”, answered the other, ‘I never eat it at home because I know exactly what’s in it, and I don’t eat it away from home because I don’t know what’s in it.’ 🤣
My favourite hash story is from Lithgow, west of the Blue Mountains. It was published in the Sydney Morning herald on February 3 1950;
FOUR BURNED WHEN HASH BLEW UP
LITHGOW, Friday – Members of a shooting party in the bush near Lithgow were slightly burned when a billycan of hash blew up on a fire and showered them with gravy, vegetables, sausage meat, and pieces of cooked rabbit. They are Noble Stephenson, 18, Stan Shleibs, 22, Stan Winterbottom, 15, and Don McDonald, 19, of Lithgow. Stephenson, who was cook, forgot to take the lid off the billycan and it exploded under intense heat.
I am writing this piece as Christmas approaches, 🎄🎄hence my inclusion of a rather wonderful, post Christmas Day breakfast hash. It looks so festive with those cherry tomatoes.