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What happened to hash browns?

I’m rereading Pearl S. Buck’s 1931 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Good Earth. This book was probably my introduction to China, picked from my grandmother’s bookshelf when I was a little girl. It was many people’s introduction to China, and perhaps even colors what some older people think China is like now. A fun thing to read as we finish updating Encyclopedia of China articles. What’s struck me about it is how much the focus on farming and connection to the soil would have resonated with middle Americans like my grandparents. Perhaps these last days of the presidential campaign has also made me think about middle American values, and the sturdiness and determination of our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations, who survived wars and pandemics and the Depression.

This appreciation of middle America made me even crosser when I was served, yet again, a palid mound of damp and greasy potatoes with my ham and eggs, as I stopped for breakfast en route to the airport. What has happened to old-fashioned American hash browns? Even in England they now serve something called a hash brown at breakfast – a triangular fresh-from-the-freezer chunk of processed fried potato. I haven’t tasted this, sticking to old-fashioned grilled tomatoes and mushrooms with my bacon and eggs. But at least in England a hash brown is brown.

3 thoughts on “What happened to hash browns?

  1. Hi Karen,

    Just wanted to say that I’ve started reading your blog. I’m wondering if you have heard about the book, “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business”. I heard the guy (Chris Flett) on the Today Show and thought you probably have already heard of him. I’m wondering what your thoughts were. He seems to be really taking on the ‘Old Boys Club”. I just emailed him, but haven’t heard back.

    Anyway, keep up the great writing.



  2. Hi Karen,

    I’ve been doing some additional research on the author, Chris Flett, that I talked about on my last comment. His company is “GhostCEO” ( and his book is a bestseller. I found it on Amazon here. Anyway, he was in the NY Times last Sunday under the “Career Couch” and he makes reference to women’s blogs like yours so I thought you might like to connect. I’d like to see you interview him and see what he’s all about. I saw on another blog he was a guest blogger. His email is:

    Best wishes,


  3. These comments by “Bihter” on behafl of and Chris Flett, are a sad example of pseudo comments by marketing people–this person has posted the same comments on many other blogs. It’s really spam, but I’m leaving it just so I can say how unpleasant–and useless–such marketing is. Bihter and, and Chris Flett, will never get my business, that’s for sure, and I’m happy to see this comment crawled by Google. Inappropriate and quite lame, that’s my comment on their PR strategy–whereas the companies that respond when I post about them at least sound like they have read what I wrote. I’m still keen on Xobni, by the way, a lifesaver with all the hundreds of author emails we’re juggling in our work on the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China.

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