Ernest Hemingway devoted entire paragraphs in his novels to detailed descriptions of food — and turns out he was just as particular about his chow in real life.
The author’s hamburger recipe was just released by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library’s Hemingway Letters Project, and it’s a doozy.
“Papa’s Favorite Hamburger” (referring to Hemingway’s nickname) calls for nine ingredients to be mixed into lean ground beef — including Spice Islands mei yen power, soy sauce, garlic, India relish, capers and wine — before forming it into “fat, juicy patties” and frying them in oil so the final product is crispy brown on all sides and “the middle pink and juicy.”
You’ll see hand-written notes all over the recipe, including one calling for grated cheddar to be added to the patty blend.
Sandra Spanier, general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, told the BBC that some of the Asian ingredients in Hemingway’s recipe followed his love of Chinese foods.
The burger, she added, shines a light on Hemingway’s characteristic “gusto.”
“It’s indicative of his enjoyment of the pleasures in life,” and shows off his wide range of tastes, from expensive to common, she said.
Our favorite line of the recipe: “There is no reason why a fried hamburger has to turn out gray, greasy, paper-thin and tasteless.” Amen, Ernest. Check out the full recipe below:
Ernest Hemingway Papers Collection, Museum Ernest