Remember Hamburger Pie?

July 26, 2016


A huge box just arrived on my doorstep, filled with old cookbooks.  A friend was cleaning out his mother’s collection, and sent me so many treasures.

One of my favorites is this Better Homes and Gardens compilation from the fifties. Cleverly bound into a three-ring binder, it is filled with blasts from the past.  I’m happy to say that my mother never cooked up a single one of these dishes.

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  • Tom Steele says:

    Lord knows there were–and are–a vast number of ghastly cookbooks published, most with a kind of flippant pride. I’ve got a dozen or so in my collection, and when I need a good laugh, I pull one out. One of them calls for cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup in nearly every recipe! The inclusion of such an ingredient is an immediate tip-off to me that I’m in the bumbling hands of a pretty rank cook.

  • kay says:

    Oh, Ruth! My mom cooked out of that book, and I do too. Tamale Pie was a household standard. It really is tamale-like, with a sort of picadillo filling. Thanks for the blast from the past!

  • Regine Ibold says:

    There are upgraded versions of that hamburger pie in my opinion. And better-looking. Such as David Waltuck’s Cottage Pie in his excellent Staffmeals cookbook. Not quite for the carriage trade as Peg Bracken used to say but mighty fine comfort food.

  • Angela says:

    I wouldn’t be too excited about the other two, but c’mon! Tamale Pie is absolutely legit. When I make picadillo I double the portion, freeze half, and know that tamale pie is an easy leap from there.

  • Joella West says:

    Yes of course, that book is on my shelf too, courtesy of my mother. And yes, we ate tamale pie, which was considered a special treat, but it was a different recipe. Ground beef and green olives, and all ingredients mixed together before baking. What you always wanted was those fantastic crispy corners! The recipe was passed along to my kids, but neither of them has ever made it. Times change.

  • Mark. says:

    At least one recent edition of Joy of Cooking has a surprisingly good recipe for Tamale Pie — not all that much like the one here, mind you. Also it has a recipe for tuna casserole that begins with essentially making condensed cream-of-mushroom soup from scratch.

  • Joy Kramer says:

    My sister’s cookbook (BH&G) fell apart so I gave her mine and then missed it, so I got another old one. There are things in there that are just right. Not so sure about your choices above. Hamburger pie just has a fancier name now. You got a goodie when you got that box of old cookbooks. What fun!

  • Debbie Quinn says:

    Love old cookbooks! This sent me running to my collection to check on the use of canned soups, BHG, Good Housekeeping, Joy of Cooking, etc. The soups were still going on in the 80s and longer! My 85yo Mom still uses them. Note: The raisins were dropped from the tamale pie in the 80s.
    I bet your Mom would have raised these dishes to a whole new level!
    Thanks for posting. 🙂

  • Candace Reed says:

    My mother owned this cookbook (or its predecessor) in the early, EARLY ’50’s. (She mostly baked from it, and the baked goods recipes are still solid, by which I mean they work, not that they’re stone hard.) When I was about 3 years old, I decided to rearrange the recipes (courtesy of the ring-bound character of the book) and took everything apart. Obviously, she was pretty upset, and just gathered everything up and stuck it back together. From then on, finding a recipe was a true challenge as she never took the time to properly put it back in order, and every time I opened it, she reminded me that I was the one who had so carefully “rearranged” it.

  • Victoria says:

    BH&G Cookbook was my Mom’s favorite and only cookbook for years and she was the best cook in the world. She gave me a copy when I got married but it was quickly replaced by newer cookbooks coming out in the eighties and I gave it away. Wish I still had it (and my Mom).