Talk:Hash (cooking)

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 Definition Fried meat dishes containing small pieces of meat with similarly-sized pieces of potatoes, spices, and other ingredients. [d] [e]
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 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English

Ground, not minced?


Hamburgers can be ground and browned. A Sloppy Joe is neither browned nor minced. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:33, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

It's all a matter of user definition. See for instance, this very recent exchange on Ro's page, down at the bottom of the Goodnight Nurse section: It has a link to the NYT article about a famous English chef and his "mince".... Hayford Peirce 18:04, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
If we can't argue safely about things...that are not in very small doses...what can we argue about? :-)
Now, another religious war is about the cooking utensil. For a great number of dishes, I use heavy enameled cast iron, Le Creuset that I bought in a better economy — yes, they do mean lifetime warranty. Hash, however, is one of the things that I find cooks best in plain cast iron. Stainless steel, copper, etc., just don't work, although I have some commercial grade, very thick anodized aluminum that can work.
The cast iron, of course, has to be extremely well seasoned to avoid sticking. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:50, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I have some LeCreust stuff that I bought 20 or 30 years ago when it didn't cost $500 for a modest-size pot. Use it all the time. Also have three cast iron pans that I *never* wash (rinse only) that are pretty well seasoned -- use them for various things. My old New England nanny used one (which she called a "spider") for her hash but it almost always stuck -- so she just scraped up the crust. These days I cheat -- use a heavy teflon pan for hash. Key secret: use some Crisco for the lubricant -- get it fairly hot but not smoking. Cover and cook. Remove carefully. Add a *little* more Crisco, melt it, return turned-over hash to brown the second side. This method works pretty well and gives a really deeply browned crust. At least *mostly* it does.... Eat with Quince jelly (if you can find it -- very difficult) and lavishly buttered English muffins. Yum!
I've heard a cast-iron griddle pan (i.e., with no sides) called a spider, although I usually call it a griddle. Mine has a groove around the periphery to catch fatty runoff, but, since I primarily use it for making South Asian breads like paratha, I don't usually need it.
Yes, very heavy nonstick will work. Unfortunately, my favorite mail-order supplier of restaurant-grade pans that were heavy, not pretty, but cheap enough to discard after several years stopped carrying then; they are basically a uniform and restaurant clothing place. Apparently, there are at least three grades of nonstick coating, one of which is commercial but still won't last forever.
I like to be able to stick the hash pan under the broiler, which good nonstick can take. The most common problem there, however, is that it can't have a plastic or wood handle.Howard C. Berkowitz 19:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I believe that a *true* spider was/is actually a cast iron pan with sides *but* with three or four little legs on the bottom, I can't remember how long they're supposed to be. I have a iron crepe pan that I use only for crepes and never even rinse -- just wipe with a paper towel. Even the first crepe comes out beautifully on it. Ditto for a heavy 2'x 1' griddle with some sort of surface coating, for pancakes only, just wipe clean. And, as you say, handles are the problem for putting under the broiler. My GF wanted to bake something the other day that was in a pan with a wooden handle. She wrapped a wet dishtowel around the handle and that seemed to work -- I think it was only for 30 or 40 minutes, though. Or maybe less. I'll have to think about partially broiling my next hash.... Hayford Peirce 20:02, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
While I'm not sure what to title it, there's an article floating about on pots and pans, cooking vessels, or something along those lines. My New Professional Chef, from the original CIA (not those newcomers, by a few months, in the Washington area) starts with an excellent explanation of more European style cookware. That taught me a good deal about the nuances of what I had, in a carefree used, called "frying pans", with the reasons for different angles on the sides, etc.
That reference is merely a starting point, given the range of national and regional cooking equipment. Vaguely apropos, someday I want to present a particularly self-righteous European with a Continental breakfast: raw fish. No, I don't mean sushi and sashimi. Raw fish, Antarctic style, served by properly dressed penguins. I do know the leader of the current South African overwinter expedition; perhaps I should suggest that to him.
What's the right name for things in which one cooks food? In my old custom kitchen, I finally divided the utensils into "things that pick up and turn solid food", "things that scoop up food" and "things food goes through (strainers, mills, etc", as opposed to "sharp things that go through food." Howard C. Berkowitz 22:04, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Spiders -- non-edible variety

From someone's site:

There is a certain amount of confusion regarding the name for that three-legged, long-handled frying pan we call a "spider." Collectors of kitchenware tell us that its shape evokes the arachnid-high stilty legs holding up a round black body. With a bit of a stretch, the long handle appendage is also somehow lifelike. The opening at the shaped tip of the handle, usually a hook or a rattail, suggests an eye. The organic nature of the image is carried into its name, as was typical of early technology terminology. It’s like the common use of the word "dogs," (originally work animals,) and the terms "firedogs" (andirons,) or "spit dogs" (mechanical spit turners.)

Surprisingly, the term spider is American in origin, according to both sides of the Atlantic: The Dictionary of Americanisms (1951) and The Oxford Dictionary agree. The earliest reference offered is an American advertisement: "The Pa. Packet (1790) announced that "William Robinson, Junr...Hath for Sale...bake pans, spiders, skillets." Note the distinction between spiders and skillets (long-handled, legged stew pots.) By applying a certain logic to Robinson’s advertisement, the spider, being neither a bake pan nor a stew pan, is by default a frying pan. And so it seems to have been, according to clues in the pots themselves and in the recipes.

One can speculate that they evolved from the frying pans one finds in early paintings, where high-legged frying pans are scarce. They clearly show the elements of earlier Dutch cast-iron frying pans (no legs) used for pancakes, for example, or seventeenth-century ceramic, three-legged rounded pipkins. Perhaps these inspired what would become the eighteenth-century American forged, stamped, or spun sheet iron spiders with welded legs and a strap handle.

By mid-nineteenth century, cast-iron frying pans, flat bottomed, slant sided, and still three-legged, assumed the earlier name and were also called spiders. The new cookstove had influenced new pot designs. Legs were eliminated and rounded bottoms were flattened. This was a death knell for the lovely bowl-shaped spiders; deep frying and simple warming were now the province of deep-stamped iron fryers and saucepans. In their pared-down form, spiders continued to function as shallow frying pans but under a variety of old names-pans, frying pans, and skillets. And although they were now legless, they sometimes kept their old name-spiders. ___________________________________________________

So it looks as if my old nanny wasn't unique in calling a frying pan a spider, and she wasn't even a graduate of the CIA, although she was sure an excellent farm-lady-type cook.... Hayford Peirce 22:18, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Apropos of not too much, I do know someone who is an alumna of both CIAs. Apparently, chefs have a built-in cover that lets them travel extensively. She does make me nervous, in that while she has preferred knives for throwing and food preparation, she can throw kitchen knives with frightening accuracy.
According to the Culinary Institute of America, the angles of the sides of low, flat pans vary with such things as how food is removed (e.g., an omelet slides over the sides), whether one wants to keep the food in braising liquid or have liquids drain away (i.e., cooking on the sides of a wok or sauteuse), etc. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:25, 8 November 2008 (UTC)