We love Jacques Pepin's "Heart and Soul," and all the memoires he evokes. Today, he reminisced about making hamburgers with Julia Child. Then, he reproduced the recipe. He began by grinding his own hamburger from brisket. That's how my grandmother used to do it. For the first time in years, I remembered standing on a chair next to my grandma Marie while she turned the handle on the old silver colored meat grinder she used. She used the meant for keftathakia, or Greek meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, stuffed peppers, and of course, hamburger.
I love his stories of cooking for Howard Johnson's. It makes me miss their fried clams, the special cookies with the Swiss Chocolate Almond ice cream, the orange sherbet float with a scoop of lime sherbet in the middle, their cheesy dinner sweet rolls, their fried chicken, so much more. They carried Dakin dream pets in their gift shop, and in a restaurant near Wheaton, IL, I saw Peggy Nisbet dolls for sale. Their candy counter was legend, and I remember the great white chocolate lollipops that had designs in milk chocolate on the front.
Now, of course, everything is different. Our remaining Howard Johnson's building is now a Mexican restaurant. Our other restaurant building is gone. The Plaza HJ Hotel has been torn down. And me? I woke up one day and realize my time and my life were not my own any more. I'm not sure when that happened, or when everything fell to me. The caretaker's life is a grim one, indeed. We always know what the end of the story will be. Meanwhile, we cope with our memories, and try not to lose our minds.
Howard Johnson's Menu, Public Domain
Public Domain Public Domain
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