Lost Dishes: How to make the Parkmoor’s famed onion rings

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Restaurants hold a special place in our lives. We cherish memories of the hangout we went to in high school, the posh eatery we dined at on special occasions, and that place we kept returning to when it had been too long. We’ve lost many of the St. Louis restaurants once special to us. But the wonderful food they served can be resurrected. Lost Dishes collects the signature dishes from these lost St. Louis tables, preserving their recipes for today’s chefs and the chefs of tomorrow. Lost Dishes is a companion to the Lost Tables website created by Harley Hammerman, which looks back fondly at the iconic St. Louis restaurants which created these special dishes. We are partnering with Hammerman and celebrating these wonderful dishes. Hammerman and his wife Marlene are members of Shaare Emeth, and she is past president of the National Council of Jewish Women of St. Louis.   Visit Lost Tables on Facebook


The Parkmoor: Onion Rings

The Parkmoor was famous for its onion rings. It was a tempura-type batter that made them different. They were cooked in a special deep fryer and when the batter would get a bit thick, the carhops would say, “Hey, we’re serving onion rings, not onion doughnuts.”

Onion Rings

SOURCE: Honk for Service, 2004

YIELD: Institutional serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 large eggs
  • 1/2 oz black pepper
  • 3 oz salt
  • 2 oz MSG
  • 9 lb unbleached flour
  • 4 oz baking powder
  • Milk, if needed

PREPARATION

Mix all ingredients together, except flour. Add flour, 3 pounds at a time, mixing well. Check batter by cooking 3 onion rings. If they are crispy, onion batter is right. If batter is too thin, add 1 pound floor and 1 egg. If batter is too thick, cut with milk and 1 egg until texture is right. Day old batter should be thinned down with milk. Onion rings should not be cooked ahead. Do not serve onion rings cold.

Note: The Parkmoor mixed the batter ingredients in a 2 gallon Insta Blend blender. The onion rings were cooked in a special deep fryer.