Definitions

Hangtown fry

Hangtown fry

[hang-toun]
Hangtown fry is a type of omelette made famous during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. The most common version includes bacon and oysters combined with eggs, and fried together. The dish was invented in Placerville, California, then known as Hangtown. According to most accounts, the dish was invented when a gold prospector struck it rich, headed to a local hotel, and demanded the most expensive dish that the kitchen could provide. The most expensive ingredients available were eggs, which were delicate and had to be carefully brought to the mining town; bacon, which was shipped from the East Coast, and oysters, which had to be brought on ice from San Francisco, over 100 miles away.

Later variations on the dish include the addition of onions, bell peppers, or various spices, and deep frying the oysters before adding them to the omelette.

According to the El Dorado County Museum, "No dish epitomizes California and its Gold Rush more than Hangtown Fry. It was created at a location central to the Gold Rush at the same time the great state was being born. And, like the miners who worked the river banks and hillsides, and the population that followed, it is a unique blend of many things, both those produced locally and those that have arrived from elsewhere."

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