Bumpy Stew (1938)

Kathleen E. Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Fri Dec 20 14:21:00 UTC 2002

At 02:55 AM 12/20/2002 -0500, Mr. Popik wrote:
>    July 1938, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, pg. 25, cols. 1-2:
>    Silhouetted there against the dusk were the iron words "St. Mary's
> Female Seminary."
>    "Fry chopped onions in butter until they're brown.  Then fry ground
> beef in the mixture until that's brown.  Sprinkle with flour; add milk,
> salt, and pepper.  Keep stirring until it gets bumpy.  Then," she added,
> "it's bumpy stew."

My grandmother (b. 1918) used to make this, mom (b. 1938) picked it up and
now I make it and serve it over noodles or some other starchy thing. But,
we've never had a name for it. My mother swears that her grandfather (b.
1886), a PA Dutch Mennonite, had a PA Dutch name for it. Anybody have any
idea what that was? Or what it's called elsewhere? Nowadays we just call it
"Grandma Bessie's hamburger gunk," but I'm pretty sure we're the only ones ;-)


Kathleen E. Miller
Research Assistant to William Safire
The New York Times

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