Posts Tagged With: sandwich

HANGTOWN FRY.

Blogging about Jackson history yesterday put me in mind of Placerville, which was known as Hangtown in the old days. And, I had a visual reminder as well, this coin.

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Many stories exist on how this name was acquired, the most famous story involved a colorful event that occurred in January of 1849. A gambler named Lopez gained a lot of attention for his big winnings at a local saloon. After he retired for the evening, several men tried to overpower him. Lopez fought back, and with the help of others, the robbers were captured. During their “flogging”, three of the robbers were also accused of being wanted for a murder and robbery.

With no more evidence than that, a short 30 minute trial took place and a unanimous “guilty” verdict was given. The crowd demanded that the men be sentenced to “death by hanging” and the rest was history. The famous hanging tree once stood in Elstner’s Hay Yard, next to the Jackass Inn. Today, the original stump from the old tree remains in the cellar of “The Hangman’s Tree” tavern on Historic Main Street.  (Information from Placerville Historical So.)

By other accounts, there were plenty of hangings in Hangtown over gold disputes and disreputable characters, gamblers, con men taking advantage of local miners claims.

  By 1850, the temperance league and a few local churches had begun to request that a more friendly name be bestowed upon the town. The name was changed in 1854 when the City of Placerville was incorporated. At its incorporation Placerville was the third largest town in California. In 1857 the county seat was then moved from Coloma to Placerville, where it remains today.

There you have it, but my own memories of moving to the Mother Lode was eating my first Hangtown Fry. It was a delightfully, greasy sandwich filled with fried onions, green peppers and oysters to which you could add steak sauce or Worcestershire and lettuce on a hard french roll. Yum. I’ve made them at home. The key is not to overcook the oysters.

But, I’ve learned since there is a legend behind the Hangtown Fry.

Legend has it that a 49’er hit a glory hole, an incredibly rich pocket of gold nuggets. He walked into the El Dorado Hotel restaurant in Hangtown, now Placerville California, and asked the waiter what was the most expensive item on the menu. The waiter answered that would be one of three things, oysters, which were tinned and shipped all the way from Boston, Bacon, which was scarce, and Eggs, which were also scarce and hard to get to the Motherlode without breaking in a bumpy stage-coach ride.  The prospector answered, fix them all on one plate and bring it to me.

Another story claims it was a prisoners last dinner and he chose items hard to get to delay his hanging because it took several weeks to get oysters. Though available in San Francisco bay, they would spoil and had to come around the horn in cans.  So was born the ‘Hangtown Fry’.

It was a San Francisco Restaurant that named it and kept it on their menu for 160 years. I don’t even know if you can buy one in Placerville. But, there are many variations on that dish, as omelet and a sandwich. Keeping the oysters tender. Coat them in flour, saute in butter, then pour the eggs over last. All manner of herbs can be added. And, restaurants continually refine and add to the Hangtown Fry.

There you have it folks. Enjoy.

 

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PICTURES, ONE AT A TIME.

Picasa claims it solved its picture loading problem on March 26th. It isn’t fixed. No auto load. After considerable effort, I was able to load my Easter Photos. Or, at least that is what I entitled the folder. I took pictures the day before Easter and the day after. I was elated when I saw them loading. I erased them from the camera, and then?  Only the first days pictures loaded into the folder. So, my Easter Sunday pictures are gone forever. Bummer.

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Kind of past the point, but I got pictures of the kids coloring eggs.

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And son-in-law Cedric making the beautiful Easter Bread he baked on Sunday.

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Ken and Virginia discussing the bike route they planned for Easter morning.

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The bouquet of lilacs that hid a purple egg.

I dug up an older photo of an Elks dinner I attended.

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The Chaplain was fascinated by my Faberge Egg Purse.

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And I made a sandwich that tasted so good, I made another and took a picture. I sautéed a Portobello mushroom in a scant touch of oil. Both sides, flattened it with a spatula til it was good and hot and juicy all the way through.  I put a half slice of good sour dough french bread on top of the mushroom covered it for a minute to warm it. Then I put a 1/4 inch thick slice of mozzarella cheese on top, covered it again until it was soft and melty. Scooped it out of the pan intact and covered it with a handful of water cress, the hydroponically grown kind from the store. It would be better with the spicier type you can pick yourself in the creek. Yum. I liked it so much I tried it again with sesame seeds in the cheese and added mustard. It tasted like a hot dog, the mustard overpowers the subtle flavors.

Got my taxes delivered to the tax man, yesterday. Brian, my computer guru has been sick all week, so I’m hoping within the next few days he can help me repair this indispensable torment of a computer and figure out how to get Picasa working again.

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