Hash. The immaculate brunch plate: potatoes, onions, seasonings to your liking, veggies, meat, and eggs. Anytime I see hash on a brunch menu, I order it. There are a few things in life that are my life’s quest–finding the best New England Clam Chowder, finding the best molten chocolate cake, finding the best biriyani in America, and finding the best hash in town.
Hash originally came about as next day’s breakfast from leftovers and while it remains this, has also become a sophisticated dish in high-end restaurants. Additionally, during World War II, hash was made popular by families who didn’t have much money; a poor man’s meal in England. The word hash is derived from a French word that means to chop. Basically, all your favorites from the night before chop up add some onions, potatoes, and whatever else put them in a cast-iron skillet and cook away.
As our Autumn mini holiday, N and I chose to go to Burlington Vermont. Due to our insane schedules, we had no time to actually plan our activities for this trip until we arrived in Vermont. So we awoke thursday morning, famished from a late night of traveling. Within 40 minutes of awakening, we sat down at a community table at the Penny Cluse Cafe. I got a cup of coffee and looked over the menu. I had settled on polenta and eggs, until I looked up at the Specials Chalkboard. It said “Roast Turkey Hash”–my favorite three words together. I ordered it instantly and waited allowing the excitement to build in my mouth. The plate arrived looking like it had lived a long life on the grill–with just the right amount of browning on the potatoes. I dove in like an Olympic swimmer at the start of a race.. The potatoes were a perfect blend of soft and crunchy. I ate the plate in it’s entirety and had already put together the ingredients I needed for hash the morning after this year’s Thanksgiving.
Then, Saturday morning, the temperature outside slowly dropped below 50 degrees, the clouds strolled in for a weekend stay and I sat down for my favorite poor man’s plate with my man. We were at brunch at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill (Thanks to a high school friend’s recommendation!). I took one look at the menu saw Hash & Eggs and knew what I was having. This hash had local beef, onions, herbs, potatoes and was packed with flavor. The beef was a blend of pieces crusted with flavor to pieces that were medium rare aka filled with textural flavor! The farm fresh eggs perfectly poached and sprinkled with basil mixed with olive oil. We cleaned our plates completely satisfied.
A perfect beginning of a winter’s day.
Now that I’m in my early to mid thirties, the lessons don’t come as easily as they did before. Instead, maintaining the lessons I learned is the new. Every vacation I take, I have my mom inside me screaming to do everything that the town has to offer and spend each day planned from morning till night. The new, thirty-something adult, says to her: it’s vacation, I’m a woman of leisure. Rest, relax, enjoy. Thank god for the new woman growing inside me because that’s exactly what we did without any pressure! N was under the weather and needed some extra sleep time and instead of getting restless like I used to in the past, I allowed him to sleep and I read for a few hours each morning. We had luxurious breakfasts, strolled hand-in-hand down Church Street, sampled local fudge and starred in our own Rom-Com.
When I was younger, vacations were a luxury; we didn’t have enough money to do it all. Therefore, when we did go, we were under pressure to do it all and wear ourselves out. I’m grateful that my vacations are no longer the poor man’s meal, but instead are a graceful blend of past and present experiences.
Our new October-ish tradition underway. This year Burlington, next year Key West!