Udon with Hambagu Sauce


Not one to let a good hambagu languish in the fridge, nor one to eat the same meal day after day, I added a bit more beef stock to the pan, mashed the pattie to thicken the sauce, and boiled up some udon for a quick supper after work. Though it was made from leftovers, it was good enough to fool myself!

My mother regularly served leftover-lunches. She had refrigerator dishes for saving the food after a meal; they were square or rectangular in pastel yellow, green, and perhaps blue, with clear-ridged glass tops to keep food from drying up in the fridge. I remember her taking out an array of these containers which contained a dab of mashed potatoes, a lone pork chop, slice of meatloaf, casserole, broccoli, a ladle of stew, bits of this and that too small for a family meal, but too good to toss out. They went into the oven to warm (or burn around the edges); we kids could pick and choose what to put on our plates. No arguing about who got what, “Just keep your eyes on your own plate.” It usually worked out, and she’d make pudding or brownies, or let us have ice cream afterward.

I saw my daughter’s kindergarten teacher the other day. J. and I used to joke that the dot’s teachers left the profession after teaching her! The nursery school teacher retired, as did her kindergarten, first and second grade teachers! Ms. W is in her 90’s, walking with a cane, but telling jokes and stories, talking about traveling with her 75 year-old daughter, who she thinks should slow down now that she is older! On the other hand, my mother died a couple of years ago, and though we had some good conversations where she talked about growing up, and times before she married, the only record I have is in memory. And my father’s memory is now lost; no chance to ask him who all those people in his old photo albums are. The woman in this video (part of a series) is participating in a wonderful gift to her family. It’s a pleasure to see her cooking and remembering times past.

3 thoughts on “Udon with Hambagu Sauce

  1. What do you call those glass containers?? Or who makes them, I should ask? It kind of triggered memories of when I used to live in the US when I was a child. Mother must of had some of them!?

  2. Hi Rita,

    Yes, those dishes bring flashes of pleasant memory! If you were growing up in the U.S. during the 50’s, 60’s, or maybe even the early 70’s, your mother probably had these dishes similar to these.

    We, the family, just called them the leftovers dishes, though I sort of remember my mother using the largest one for casseroles she baked in the oven. My mom’s were made by Pyrex, though there may have been other companies as well such as Corning or Anchor Hocking. (???) They were great because you could use the glass tops to cover the food to re-heat it. The contemporary versions have plastic lids. OK for microwave, but you need foil for using them in an oven.

    If you look on e-bay (or I guess etsy or others) they seem to be called refrigerator dishes because that is where they were used. After the Second World War, lots of people in the U.S. were setting up house-keeping and could afford electric refrigerators which were useful for saving food you didn’t eat at one meal, thus containers to use for that purpose.

    My mother had some that were even older (maybe called ice-box dishes?) which were also squares and rectangles. I don’t know if they fitted together like a puzzle as the Pyrex sets did. They were almost clear, a very pale translucent green. Maybe they were her mother’s? I think those are among the dishes classified as Depression glass from the 1930’s. My mom didn’t use them except for display. We had an ice box, but she used it to store things in, dishes and so on.

  3. Thanks Tess, although it was in the 80’s I was there, it must have come from garage sales that we happened upon sometimes.
    My memory is linked to a set of Corelle dishes that we had too… I wish they all came with us when we moved!
    Thanks to your pointers, I did some looking myself… and now those depression glass you mentioned are beautiful too. If only we had thrift shops…

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