When I was a child my parents would occasionally treat me to a special dinner at a nearby restaurant with carhop service. In the days with a high hump (at least to a three- year-old) on the floor in the back, it was great fun to sit on the hump and use the backseat for a table. The restaurant was the Goody-Goody, well known for several specialties, one of which was french fried shoestring potatoes, homemade, not frozen, not battered, and probably fried in lard. They also served a butterscotch pie and a cream of onion soup that were wonderful. I have not been able to come close to duplicating that soup, although I have a few great butterscotch pie recipes that are at least as good as Goody’s.
Their piece de resistance, however, was not even on the menu per se. It was the special condiment served on their hamburgers. Forget McDonald’s special sauce. Forget catsup and mustard. Goody-Goody’s hamburgers were served one way, with dill pickle slices, and their own tomato-based sauce, not really like catsup, not really like chutney, just it’s own category altogether. When “The Goody” closed in the 70’s, many people had their gustatory hearts bent, if not broken.
The Goody was a favorite spot for highschool sweethearts to grab a bite after a game or a movie. The ambience was casually elegant, a Tudor building not at all what one imagines nowadays for a restaurant with carhop service. It was truly unique.
Several years ago, our local newspaper had articles about local cooks and one of the articles featured a gentleman who also had fond memories of The Goody-Goody. He had experimented with various ingredients and finally arrived at his best recreation of the famous hamburger sauce. Naturally, I tried it and found it very close. I played with it some, subtracted this and addedthat, and now it is as close as I can get it to a 30-year-old memory.
If you want to try Goody-Goody sauce, prepare your favorite hamburger, fried, broiled, or grilled, butter and toast a good hamburger bun, add Goody sauce and a few dill pickle slices. (I sometimes use dill relish). You must plan ahead. The sauce needs at least 3 hours, mostly unattended, on the stove.
GOODY-GOODY HAMBURGER SAUCE
3 T. butter
15 oz. can tomatoes, whole or cut
1 t. celery seed
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 t. pepper
1/4 t. salt
1 small onion, minced (about 1/4 c.)
1 T. lemon juice
Combine all in a small but heavy saucepan. Cook low for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will break up as they cook and will form a thick sauce. Makes enough for about 8 hamburgers.