Hemingway’s Hamburger: Papa’s Favorite

Earlier this year, I was perusing a Boston Globe story about some Ernest Hemingway papers from the writer’s years in Cuba that had just been donated to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

A book editor who’s on the board of the Finca Vigía Foundation in Boston, which has been working on preserving Hemingway’s Cuba documents and bringing them to the United States, had told me of the story and I could not wait to read it. I’ve long been a Hemingway fan — an admirer of not just his work but also his appetite for life, food and drink.

So it was unsurprising that one line in the story about what the new papers contained struck me: “And the more mundane, like his instructions to the household staff, including how to prepare his hamburgers: ground beef, onions, garlic, India relish, and capers, cooked so the edges were crispy but the center red and juicy.”

Hemingway’s ideal burger? I had to find out more.

Many weeks and a few burgers later, I wrote about my quest to recreate Hemingway’s hamburger in The Paris Review.

I won’t go into details — you can read more there. But for the recipe and another glimpse of the burger, click right here …

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On Governors Island: Water Taxi Beach


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It can be hard not to think you’re having the best meal in New York City when you have your toes in warm sand, a hot dog in hand and a front-row seat to a sweeping view of New York harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline.

Even if the hot dog is perfectly ordinary — which it was — there’s little that can beat the experience of lunching at the new Water Taxi Beach on Governors Island on a summer Friday.

Read: When the rambunctious crowds aren’t there and the place isn’t teeming with kids.

Not that Water Taxi Beach, which officially opened July 11, is only about its location. It serves basic, somewhat inexpensive, boardwalk food done nicely — the burger patty didn’t taste like it’d been defrosted just minutes before and the fries would not have been out of place on a steakhouse plate.

Having been to my fair share of beaches, I’ve found that these qualities in boardwalk food, sadly, are a rarer find than one would think.

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