FAMOUS FOODS FROM FAMOUS PLACES have intrigued good cooks for a long time ? even before fast foods of the 1950's were a curiosity. When cookbooks offer us a sampling of good foods, they seldom devote themselves to the dishes of famous restaurants. There is speculation among the critics as to the virtues of re-creating, at home, the foods that you can buy ?eating out?, such as the fast food fares of the popular franchise restaurants. To each, his own! Who would want to imitate ?fast food? at home? I found that over a million people who saw me demonstrate replicating some famous fast food products on The Phil Donahue Show (July 7, 1981) DID ? and their letters poured in at a rate of over 15,000 a day for months on end! And while I have investigated the recipes, dishes, and cooking techniques of ?fine? dining rooms around the world, I received more requests from people who wanted to know how to make things like McDonald's Special Sauce or General Foods Shake-N-Bake coating mix or White Castle's hamburgers than I received for those things like Club 21's Coq Au Vin.
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HAMBURGERS AND FRIES
WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT HAMBURGERS without talking about the most successful of the fast food chains — McDonald's! It's the only company in the fast food industry that has succeeded in cornering the market on family food and fast service restaurants — the world over! McDonald's was the trend-setter; the hometown hospitality example in the industry. They took meat and potatoes and turned it into a billion-dollar enterprise.
Hamburgers, French fries and milkshakes were making their menu debut at "drive-in" restaurants, where car hops took your orders and returned with trays of food that hooked on to the window of your car. Kids cruised these places in their parents' Edsel, Hudson and Kaiser-Fraser sedans back then. Hamburger "joints" were less than desirable to most people who appreciated good food and a pleasant dining-out experience. But, these drive-ins had one interesting thing in common that appealed to the public — they were AFFORDABLE!
It was 1954 and Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, was 52 years old. Hardly the time in one's life when they'd start to think about launching a new enterprise, but rather a time when most began to think about retiring! On one of his sales trips, Ray Kroc, a Dixie Cup salesman, met the owners of a thriving hamburger restaurant in California. Eventually, Kroc purchased the business from Maurice (Mac) McDonald and his brother, Richard. Mac & Dick had a fetish for cleanliness. Their place in San Bernardino was spotless! And much like Ray Kroc in his own experience years later, they weren't too keen about teenagers. They avoided catering to the teenage market exclusively because kids loitered, were noisy and threw food around. The McDonald's concept was for "the family!" McDonald's wasn't the first company to create a fast food concept; but, by far, it was the most recognized and the most profitable in the industry. While fast food has taken it on the chin for every conceivable infraction of culinary achievement that the critics could possibly contrive, McDonald's still came out on top!
THE BIG MATCH ATTACH — This is the double-decked, at-home-hamburger recipe that promises you will shock the socks off everyone who tries your improvisation of the famous "Golden Arch's" very own "Big Mac".
All you need for one 'Big Match' is: 2 all beef patties, "Special Sauce", lettuce, cheese, onions, pickles & 2 sesame seed buns. Sear both sides of the 2 patties in a bit of oil on a hot griddle, cooking to medium-well. Place each patty on the 2 bottom halves of the buns. To each of these, add a tablespoon of Special Sauce (see below), lettuce, cheese, onions and pickles to taste. Assemble one atop the other and add one of the bun tops to the top of that. Serve at once to anyone having a Big Match Attach!
THE BIG MATCH SPECIAL SAUCE
1 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together with a spoon, as listed. Makes 2-cups sauce. Keeps up to a week or so if refrigerated & well-covered. Do not freeze this.
WHITE CASTLE — In 1916, Walter Anderson started his career in the restaurant field by opening a rented, re-modeled streetcar and giving the food industry its very first "fast food" place. In 1921, he ran into some difficulties when he tried to lease another place to expand his operation. So, he turned to a Realtor by the name of Billy Ingram, who secured the needed lease for Anderson, and soon became partners with him in the hamburger restaurant. Eventually, the operation became entirely Billy Ingram's, and today White Castle is a respected name that represents "quality" in the food industry.
Originating in Wichita, Kansas during "The Depression", Ingram so-named his operation "White Castle" because it stood for purity, cleanliness, strength and dignity. He was a business man with high ethics. He was responsible for many changes in the business that initiated health inspections, to ensure that all restaurants complied with what Ingram personally felt was a responsibility to the customer. He invented utensils never used, such as the spatula and the grills that are still considered the most practical equipment.
White Castle has no special, secret recipe — but, the technique used to prepare their small hamburger is unique and unequaled by competitors. You must like onions to appreciate White Castle patties. The quality of the beef they specifically use that we couldn't possibly equal it with what we buy in the supermarkets; so, I set to work to try to enhance the ordinary "ground chuck" available to us with a few ingredients that create a recipe reminiscent of Ingram's "White Castles."
A letter of appreciation from Gail Turley, Director of Advertising and Public Relations with White Castle Systems in their Columbus, Ohio headquarters reflected the feelings not often expressed by the major food companies, whose products I attempt to imitate with "make at home" recipes. "On behalf of White Castle System," the letter said, "We are honored that you deemed the White Castle Hamburger worthy of an attempt at replication of the early days of White Castle and Billy Ingram..." And she enclosed a check to cover the cost of purchasing 15 copies of my first Secret Recipes Book to distribute to their Regional Managers. A far cry from the reaction I received from Orange Julius and Stouffer's, who threatened legal action against me.
WHITE TASSLE BURGERS
Supposedly, the original beef mixture used in the famous White Castle patties during the early 30's was of such high quality that there was no way to equal it [50 years later.] Today we send beef to the market much younger, before it has aged. Young beef has less fat, which Americans want. The marbleizing fat in older beef is what gives it flavor. To compensate for this, it seemed to me, ground beef's flavor could be enhanced by adding another pure beef product — strained baby food. It worked!
3-ounce jar baby food, strained veal
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 12 rectangular, thin patties. Fry briskly on a hot, lightly oiled flat grill, making 5-6 small holes in each patty with the end of a spatula handle. After turning patties once, place bottom half of bun over cooked side of patty and place the top half of the bun over the bottom half. Fry quickly to desired "done-ness" and remove. Add pickle slices and a few tablespoons of chopped, grilled onions to each serving. Makes 1 dozen burgers.
COUNTRY CLUB BURGERS
I don't know why, but so many country clubs can easily fracture a simple hamburger! They serve them too thick to ensure that they are properly done, turning them out either too rare or too well-done and, therefore, dry. Or they have no flavor. Well, when I complained to one manager about the texture and flavor of the burgers they served, and offered him a suggestion for improving them, he took me up on it. I developed a recipe for marinating the patties and shaping them differently. The first day that he added these to the menu, he said he had more compliments than he could keep track. Here's that recipe (makes 15patties.)
5 pounds ground round
In a roomy mixing bowl, combine everything as listed, working ingredients together well with your hands. Separate mixture into 15 6-oz patties, 1-inch thick and as big around as the bun you'll be using. I use a 1-cup measuring cup and pack it firmly, 2/3 full. Place each patty into a sandwich-sized plastic food bag. Sprinkle both sides liberally with season salt AFTER you have placed it in the bag.
THEY FREEZE WELL up to 6 months. Store them in coffee cans with tight-fitting plastic lids or in store-bought plastic freezer containers. Thaw patty at room temperature before searing on a hot, lightly oiled grill to desired doneness. To sear properly, use 1-tsp oil and 1-tsp margarine for each patty; melting it and getting the grill hot, but not hot enough to burn the margarine. Don't use butter with oil because that changes color too quickly with heat. Make a small slit in the patty as it sears on the second side, to check the color of the meat. You can also broil the patties on a rack in a shallow pan, placing them about 3" from the broiler heat, allowing about 5-minutes on each side (or as you desire doneness.)
ANOTHER LITTLE TIP: if you like the patties pink in the center and "done" everyplace else, place a chip of ice in the center of the patties before cooking them. Keep the chip about the size of an M&M candy. It melts as the patty cooks, keeping the center from over-cooking.
PATTY MELT - COUNTRY CLUB STYLE
An old-fashioned restaurant favorite is to serve seared hamburger patties on open-faced, grilled rye or pumpernickel bread with a slice of American, cheddar or Swiss cheese, broiler-melted over the top. Add some sauteed onions and a spoonful of hamburger sauce or bleu cheese dressing just as you go to serve it. You can also garnish the plate with a dill pickle spear and a few olives on top of a small ruffle of lettuce. Use an ice cream scoop to dip out a nicely rounded mound of macaroni or potato salad along-side the sandwich, as well, and sprinkle with a little paprika. Now you have a sandwich equal to what is being served in the best country clubs around!
Detroit, Michigan (circa 1940's and 1950's) — The proprietor of a popular lunch spot had his bakery supplier rush over an order of rolls for his burgers, only to find that they had delivered the wrong kind — they had delivered hot dog buns! There wasn't time to have the order corrected, with the place already filling up for the lunch hour rush. So, "instead of raising the bridge, he lowered the river." Once again, a mistake that could have been a set-back to someone else, became a step forward for this fellow. He shaped his burgers to fit the buns and his "Frank Burgers" became not only an instant success, but also his trademark.
I still re-create these at home, using the same mixture I use for "White Tassel Burgers" (see Index), but I add to it one beaten egg. Then, I shape the meat mixture to resemble hot dogs and brown them like sausage links in a little bit of oil in a shallow skillet. To this, add just enough water to the skillet until it's about 1/2-inch deep in the pan and cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Turn burner heat to low to keep it simmering gently for about 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove them from the pan onto toasted hot dog buns. One recipe of "White Tassel" plus the egg makes about 8 "Frank Burgers".
THE BEST RECIPE for making a proper hamburger is to use the right kind of ground beef. I use what is called " hamburger" for everything BUT hamburgers! In sauces and meatloaf this grade of ground beef is fine; but, as a patty, it has too much fat and gristle, and less flavor than ground round. Ground beef or hamburger is less expensive than ground round, but there is no bargain in the waste in it.
If you want to know exactly how good the quality of the ground beef is that you're buying, try this test: Pack about 1 cup of ground beef into a 2-cup Pyrex measuring pitcher. Seal it in foil and place it on a cookie sheet on the center rack of your pre-heated, 350-F oven — bake it for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and uncover the pitcher. You should see that some liquid has come to the top of the beef. If you allow it to cool about 30 minutes the liquid will separate so that the liquid fats rise to the top and the liquid mixture of the water and juices form a second layer underneath. If you have more than 1" deep of liquid on top of the meat (or the equivalent of a 1/4-cup combined liquid,) complain to your butcher! In the old days, when ethics were not practiced seriously in the meat business, it was not unusual for ground beef to be packaged with the addition of water, which gave added weight and only surfaced when it was cooked. You must conduct this test before you freeze the beef, however; because once the beef has been frozen, the ice crystals will convert to more water in the thawing process.
To make hamburgers the way they do at your favorite places, you must have a flat grill. Skillets do not produce a decent burger. After much experimenting, I finally bought the next best thing to a grill — a 10x10, flat griddle with a 1/4-inch rim, a handle and a no-scratch surface (that requires very little oiling) that you can place on a burner on the stove. (Teflon and Stone-Ware make good ones.) I use it for nothing but hamburgers. It's dishwasher safe and stores nicely in the cupboard without using as much space as the skillet. The reason skillets don't produce good hamburgers is that the collar (or rim) around the skillet traps the steam from the meat and "fries" the patties rather than "sears" them. You want to keep the grill hot, but not too hot, and barely oiled. Apply a few tablespoons of corn oil to the hot surface of the grill (or griddle pan) and wipe up the excess with a paper towel. When a few drops of water "dance" on the surface, the heat is just right for adding the patties — don't crowd the patties either, keeping at least 2-inches between them and turning them only once, salting only the seared sides. Kosher salt and Sea Salt are best to use because the iodine in table salt makes the meat tough and evaporates the liquids and natural juices too quickly.
"NOBODY DOES IT LIKE McDONALD's CAN" - [was] the popular television jingle that advertised some of the best French-fried shoestring potatoes to come down the pike in a long while. The French did not invent French fries — American fur trappers did. Potatoes were not well-thought of in the early days of this country. But, fur trappers would melt down bear grease in large open kettles over their campfires and, when the grease began to bubble, they'd spear chunks of their dressed game meat, roots and potatoes on the end of a sharply pointed stick, setting them in the hot grease to cook to the individual's liking and then eat off the stick — much like modern-day shish kabobs or fondue.
TO MAKE FRENCH FRIES at home - long, white Russets work best! Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Place cut sides on a cutting board and remove a thin slice from each end, as well as from the rounded long-sides. You now have sort of rectangle blocks to work with. Slice these into 1/4-inch thick strips and place in a deep refrigerator container. Mix 1-quart water with H cup vinegar and pour over potatoes, repeating this process until you have enough to cover the potatoes. Cover and chill for several hours to draw out the starch that makes a fried potato hold the grease and become limp.
After chilling, drain them well on paper towels. Drop a few at a time, using a French-frying basket, into 425°F oil that's at least 4" deep. A good combination is 1-pint corn oil to 1 cup Crisco, using as much as is needed for the amount you are preparing, keeping it 4 inches deep; and, if the oil is not hot enough, the fries will turn out greasy. Let the potatoes "Blanche" in the oil rather than fry completely, removing them after just one minute. Drop them on a cookie sheet and put in your freezer for 10 minutes. Return them to the oil to fry until golden brown and drain them well on paper towels. Salt them as you wish, which also helps to evaporate any excess grease on the finished potatoes. Most of the salt will fall off when the fries are transferred to serving plates.
¼ cup sea salt
Combine all the ingredients and store in a grinder or put through the blender on high-speed until finely powdered. Makes about 1/2-cup mix. Keeps indefinitely at room temperature.
CELERY SALT MIX
Combine 1/2-cup table salt with 1/2-cup dehydrated celery leaves and 1/4-cup celery seed in a blender on high-speed until powdered. Makes 1 ¼ cups. Keeps for ages at room temperature.
Excerpted from "Gloria Pitzer's Cookbook — The Best of the Recipe Detective"
Copyright © 2018 Gloria Pitzer, Laura Emerich.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
HAMBURGERS AND FRIES, 10,
SALADS AND SALAD DRESSINGS, 26,
CHILI & MEXICAN FOODS, 49,
PIZZA AND PASTA DISHES, 72,
CHICKEN & OTHER RELATED DISHES, 86,
FISH AND CHIPS AND OTHER RELATED DISHES, 105,
SOUPS, SAUCES AND SIDE-DISHES, 116,
BREADS, PANCAKES ... AND OTHER BAKED-GOODS, 141,
SANDWICHES AND SPREADS, 183,
CAKES, FROSTINGS AND BROWNIES, 192,
COOKIES AND CANDIES, 214,
PIES AND PASTRIES, 237,
ICE CREAM SPECIALTIES, 252,
OTHER DESSERTS, DRINKS & SNACKS, 264,
"DIETING" DISHES, 283,
BEHIND THE SCENES, 292,
RECIPE INDEX, 307,