Corned beef hash is one of these breakfast dishes that we have only in a diner, like George's, which is a diner in the classic sense: informal, quick-paced, with an entirely predictable though satisfying menu.
We don't have corned beef hash often; we never make it at home.
Some may even consider it exotic. I was having dinner with a local network broadcaster whose beat is not food and she boasted, rather proudly, to show her foodie credentials: "I eat corned beef hash."
Hash is a word with odd – and not necessarily positive – connotations.
When you say, for instance, "he made a hash of things," you are suggesting he messed things up.
Hash is pretty hard to mess up: chopped meat, potatoes, spices and maybe onions. That's all.
There's probably a lot of fat in there – hash is in fact a kind of casing-free sausage, getting a lot of its flavor from the animal fat that either's mixed in with the meat or added in addition to meat.
Because it's so simple and, relatively, cheap to make, hash is a virtually universal food, found throughout Europe (particularly Northern Europe), but also points south, including Latin America. It was so popular in the U.S. that the term "hash house" was invented to announce the primary dish that was served at these establishments.
Because is so simple and cheap, you don't find it on a lot of menus. But you will find corned beef has at George's, and it's one of the menu items you'd expect at a classic American diner.