H is for Hash and Other Economies

Here’s a story by my sister, Karen Kolavalli, about our mother’s cooking:

“Hash isn’t something I fix very often, but when I do, it always takes me back. When I was a kid, we often had hash, usually the day after an extravagant after-church-on-Sunday roast beef dinner (which is what we called lunch in 1950s and 1960s rural Kansas).

Do you know what hash is? You may be familiar with “hash browns,” but hash is more than that. It’s made up of leftover roast beef that is finely chopped, then cooked up with finely chopped potatoes and onions. You’ve probably also heard of corned beef hash, but in our family it was roast beef. It’s fried in oil until it’s wonderfully crispy. It was served as a main dish and we kids had it with ketchup. 😉 We would have also had a tall glass of cold milk, along with bread and butter. We had a milk cow, so we had our own milk, cream and butter. Mom wasn’t a bread baker, so we had store-bought Rainbow or Wonder bread.

We loved hash, but, or course, it was really my Mom’s way of stretching what little might be left from a roast dinner for a family of 8 into one more meal. The Sunday roast was put in the oven to cook while we went to town for Sunday school and church. Hash on Monday was thrown together as a quick supper after Mom had spent the day doing the wash with a wringer washer and hanging it to dry on the lines outside. With such a large family, there was a lot to wash every week and it took all day.

Before cooking the pot roast, it gets seared in a skillet.

Before cooking the pot roast, it gets seared in a skillet.

Other washday meals might be potato soup, again served with bread and butter and glasses of milk, or beans and cornbread. The dried navy beans would have been put to soak the night before and then cooked all day with an inexpensive ham hock. Cornbread was a quick and easy bread to prepare. Sometimes we’d have breakfast for supper with pancakes and eggs, again quick to prepare, as well as inexpensive, since we had our own egg-laying chickens.

These foods are all very definitely my adult comfort foods during stressful times. How about you? Do you have any special dishes that take you back to your childhood? Foods that immediately conjure up times with Mom and Dad around the dining room table long ago?”

Gail and Clyde with their son Owen and daughter Shannon and son-in-law Larry.

Gail and Clyde with their son Owen and daughter Shannon and son-in-law Larry.

Thanks, Sis, for all the memories this brought back.


4 thoughts on “H is for Hash and Other Economies

  1. I remember hash but not from roast beef. I think my mother used ground beef, and it wasn’t fried afterwards. The meat was browned, gravy was made, some cut up potatoes, celery and onions and that would be it. It isn’t one of my favorite memory dishes. I think of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, garden string beans and fresh tomatoes. Wish I had some right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: F Is for Fifties Foods | Discovering Mom

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