burgers the hemingway

I made the Ernest Hemingway Burger Recipe. Apparently they found this gem in his files stored in Cuba, recently acquired by the Kennedy Library.


I encourage you to read all about the literary nuances of this recipe on other internet corners. I just want to talk about the lowly process of gathering the ingredients and making a burger. First, you’re gonna need some stuff that you don’t have.


If you’ve never paused to consider Hemingway and his brand loyalty, now’s the time. You need THREE “Spice Island” mixes to satisfy this creative work: Beau Monde, Sage Powder, and Mei Yen. I found the specific brand instruction a bit curious but it turns out that Spice Island is the largest manufacturer of spices in the world. They’ve been grinding out the spice from their mothership in Iowa since 1941. Hemingway would have liked that sort of thing, that they were proven and reputable. Spice Island discontinued Mei Yen a few years ago so you, my dearest dilettante, will need to concoct your own.


Grab that bag of MSG from your cupboard, the one you’re saving for special occasions, and put 2 teaspoons of the MSG into 9 teaspoons of both salt and sugar. Shake it all together. You’ve made Spice Island’s Mei Yen seasoning.

You also need capers, 2 tablespoons of capers. So many capers they will take the appearance of green peas in your finalized patties. Capers. Hemi liked the capers.

“Indian Relish.” Don’t let Papa talk over your head, he means chutney. Get some chutney.


Mix with your hands because that’s what Hemingway would do. On a similar note, you only used a 1/3 cup from that bottle of wine, pour the rest down the drain. You don’t want to actually be Hemingway. He was sort of a lush. Make an excellent salad while everything marinates.


Timing, in fiction and life, is everything. 4 minutes on one side, flip patty, increase heat for 1 minute, decrease heat for 3 more minutes.

Be precise.


This burger is very SAGEY. Lots of umami and just slightly spicy from the chutney. Crispy on the edges. Rugged yet refined.



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