Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goldrush Hangtown Fry

Hangtown was the first name for modern Placerville California during the gold rush in the 1850’s. The town earned its infamous name of "Hangtown" for the overzealous use of hanging as a means of justice. 
The Hangtown fry is a meal that dates from those times. There are a couple of legends told about how the Fry came about… One story is that of a gold digger who, in 1849, strikes it rich, walks into a fancy restaurant, and demands from the bartender the most expensive meal the cook can make. The bartender summons the cook, who ponders the request and then explains that eggs, bacon, and fresh oysters are the most expensive ingredients he has in the kitchen. The miner tells the cook to fry all three mixed together... and the Hangtown Fry is born!
Another story involves a man convicted of murder in 1849. He's waiting to be hung when asked what he wants for his last meal. The man thinks a bit before giving his request and then decides he wants an omelet of eggs, bacon, and fresh oysters, ingredients that are very expensive and hard to get in the diggings and delaying his hanging. The story continues that during this weeklong delay, the condemned man plans and carries out his escape and is never heard from again… and the Hangtown Fry is born!
As can be seen from the pictures, there are many different versions of the famed Hangtown Fry and they're all good! I enjoy the dish at every restaurant that offers it.
Who knows how the Hangtown Fry originally developed, but it’s still available in a few places in California, so If you get a chance, try it… it’s hearty, original food from the gold rush… and it’s good!


  1. I love the gold rush era. I panned for gold in the American River. Didn't find any, but it was fun. Would love to get back there some day.

  2. that food looks great! Hearty and rugged, just what they needed for the day.