Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature's Most Perfect Fruit

Millie writes:

Let's talk about comfort food.

I was 21 years old when I first discovered the merits of the fried-egg sandwich. I was working my way through school at the time; I had a job as Night Watchman at a millworking plant near our tiny hometown, and when my shift was over at 6 a.m. my dad would come and pick me up. He'd drive me home, shove some food into me and then drive me into a slightly larger burg to catch the 7:15 bus in to the city for school.

As you can imagine, that year is pretty much a blur. What I do remember with perfect clarity is the morning when we were running a little late; my dad melted a little butter in the cast-iron skillet and cracked in an egg when the butter was bubbling. He slapped some mustard on two pieces of white bread, laid a thin slice of cheese on the bottom piece and nestled the hot fried egg on the cheese. Then he “smooshed” the other piece of bread over the egg and handed the whole thing to me.

It just doesn't get better than that.

I don't have a perfectly-seasoned cast-iron skillet - we go in for the newfangled non-stick frying pans - and we usually only use real butter on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Still, I've found that when it comes to fried-egg sandwiches, it doesn't matter – whatever you've got on hand is just fine.

It turns out that cracking an egg into a well-greased stoneware cereal bowl, then covering the bowl with a paper towel and microwaving the egg for one minute on high, will “fry” an egg just the right size to fit on a leftover hamburger bun. If you want to get fancy you can melt cheese onto the egg in the nuke too, but I prefer the just-slightly-tacky consistency a hot egg imparts to sandwich cheese. If you're out of yellow mustard, stone-ground works just as well; and I am ashamed to admit it, but some of my kids don't like mustard and apparently the sandwich is just as palatable without. You could even leave off the cheese (though I don't recommend so drastic a step).

You must not omit the smooshing, though. It's the slightly soggy, slightly greasy bread that adds just the right je ne sais quoi to this epicurean feast. One of my brothers goes so far as to undercook the egg and then “pop” the yolk between the pieces of bread when he smooshes it – a daring approach but not for the faint of heart.

Eggs go in and out of fashion as far as whether they're approved by “diet experts.” For that matter, so do cheese and butter and bread. Let them argue about whether or not this combination is good for my family's heart.

I know it's good for their souls!


  1. I too like to pop the yolk, but I prefer my bread toasted and mayo for the condiment :) I can't imagine ruining it with mustard!

  2. Ha! I made egg, cheese, fried deli meat (doesn't matter what kind) on toasted bread with a smear of jelly/jam (again, doesn't matter what kind, though I find I prefer Raspberry Jam) just this morning! I went to bite into my soft fried egg and the yolk popped and WENT. UP. MY. NOSE.
    Yum. :D

  3. Yes, if you're going to take jam intra-nasally I find raspberry to be the most efficacious. :D

  4. Oh Lawd, now I can see Charlie Sheen snorting raspberry jam. Shame on you, Millie!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.