A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 04, 2009
Red Flannel Hash

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Flannel
Red Flannel Hash is a breakfast hash originally from New England that involves beets. Here is the legend:

Suspecting her husband of unfaithfulness a mining camp wife, who was also ran a boarding house, awoke in a bitter mood. When she went to cook breakfast for the miners she noticed the laundry hanging to dry in the kitchen. In a fit of anger she grabbed her husband’s red flannel long johns, ground them up and threw them into the hash she was preparing. The breakfast was served and the miners kept asking for more of that “bright red hash”. The wife had ground up her husband’s only pair of red flannels, so she substituted beet in the next batch of hash. They proved to be just as popular. 1 c. diced potato 1 med. onion, chopped 8 oz. corned beef 2 eggs Salt and pepper to taste. Slowly fry the beets, potato, onion, and corned beef until done. Fry or poach eggs and place on top. Serve immediately.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: red flannel hash
Function: noun
Date: circa 1907
: hash made especially from beef, potatoes, and beets

29 April 1872, Decatur (IL) Daily Republican, pg. 3?, col. 3:
The last thing out is “Dolly Varden” hash.  It is made of red flannel, old rubber shoes, and salt beef. Dolly used to make it when she was a girl, all except the old rubber shoe ingredient, that having been added since her day, to show the progress of the age.

19 June 1880, Indianapolis (IN) Sentinel, pg. 8 ad:
...to have a “Sun Dial” Gas Stove or let the old fool digest the red flannel hahs of a ten cent lunch foundry for the balance of the season.

Google Books
Left-Overs Made Palatable
By Isabel Gordon Curtis
New York, NY: Orange Judd Company
1902
Pg. 108:
A favorite dish with amny people is “red flannel hash,” plain hash containing a little chopped beet. Look over the meat, cutting out all the gristle and softfat. Chop it fine with some of the hard fat. Mince potatoes which have been boiled in the pot liquor. Use three times as much potato as meat. Chop with the potato a small quantity of the cabbage and some of the beets. For two quarts of potato use half a pint of cabbage and one large beet. Mingle thoroughly with the meat. Pour some milk into a frying pan and turn in the hash, using enough to moisten thoroughly. Add two tablespoons of butter and season with pepper and salt if necessary. Be sure it is heated through. Serve with brown bread and pickles.—H. Annette Poole.

25 June 1916, New York (NY) Times, pg. S4:
For there was real, “red-flannel” hash, delicious vegetable hash, and some of the cold corned shoulder with which the vegetables were cooked, and slices of cold corned beef and pickled beets.

27 March 1938, New York (NY) , “Notes for the Traveler” by Diana Rice, pg. 154:
The red-flannel hash, a glorified vegetable and corn-beef hash, takes its name from the chopped beets that give it color,...

28 October 1943, New York (NY) Times, “More About Red Flannel Hash,” Letters ot the Times, pg. 22:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:
The lyrical editorial description of “red flannel hash” moves me to protest.

it sounds delicious and is certainly red, but, I ask you, without salt cod how can it be flannel? It’s the cod that contributes that undeniably flannel texture, for better or worse.
(...)
MARGARET P. SHAKESPEARE.
Northampton, Mass., Oct. 25, 1943.

29 October 1943, New York (NY) Times, “More Red Flannel Hash,” pg. 18:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Fortresses fly in vain if the noble American dish of red flannel hash be fallen to the low estate set forth by your editorial of Oct. 25.

Its origin? That never-to-be-forgotten institution, the New England Boiled Dinner! Cull from the remains thereof, for the dish was generously filled with this in mind, potatoes opalescently colored and lusciously flavored by a mixture of juices; beets, red and enticing; and a few golden carrots. Grind them, not too fine, in the food chopper. Put them in an iron spider, and warm them to a turn with a discreet use of the pot liquor.

Serve piping hot with johnny cake or salt-rising bread and genuine, old-fashioned horseradish.

Of course, if a few leaves of the cabbage remain, they never come amiss, rewarmed in the liquor of the feast. But bacon and onion—a fig for you!
E. M. MARSHALL.
Sharon, PA., Oct. 26, 1943.

31 October 1943, New York (NY) Times, “Red Flannel Hash Seemingly a Dish of Infinite Variety,” pg. E11:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:
For Heaven’s sake, in what isolated corner of New England did you find the recipe published for red flannel hash? Or were you simply fishing for the real recipe to replace the parody you gave?

Red flannel hash is always an aftermath of a New England boiled dinner (corned beef and cabbage to New Yorkers), which always includes beets, carrots, turnop, cabbage and potatoes with the corned beef. The hash is the clean-up meal. It is correctly made of 50 per cent potatoes, 25 per cent corned beef and 25 per cent beets—all chopped by hand in a wooden bowl.

Small portions of the other vegetables may be added if desired—each housewife has her own recipe, which is always modified by the quantity of vegatables left. Add a few thin bits of raw onion—moisten with stock in which the meat was originally cooked—fry in bacon fat in an iron skillet and you have a dish for the gods, whether it be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper.

Forget the bacon, forget the 85 per cent beets. Try it this way and learn why any Yankee would rebel at your plagiarism!
HUGH C. EATON.
New York, Oct. 28, 1943.

Google Books
Red-flannel Hash and Shoo-fly Pie:
American Regional Foods and Festivals

By Lila Perl
Published by World Pub. Co.
1965

Google Books
Real American Food:
From Yankee Red Flannel Hash and the Ultimate Navajo Taco to Beautiful Swimmer Crab Cakes and General Store Fudge Pie : Jane and Michael Stern’s Coast-to-coast Cookbook

By Jane Stern and Michael Stern
New York, NY: Knopf
1986

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, March 04, 2009 • Permalink