A brief commentary on the state of eating habits in America:
The more I cook, the more ridiculous I find the idea of going to a restaurant to purchase an egg sandwich or a hamburger. If you’re at a sit-down spot, you’ll almost certainly pay four or five times more than you would just making it yourself. Plus, if you put any effort into cooking at all, you’ll probably make something better (or more to your liking, at least) than what they’re charging a premium for at a restaurant.
Not to mention the fact that cooking is an art form and an activity that brings family members together.
Do you have kids? Get them involved. Teach them what real food looks like, where it comes from. This is the topic that food crusader Jamie Oliver has been hammering away at for years now. (Skip to 11:15 in the video link preceding, if you want to see how much some kids know about real food.) If you cook with fresh ingredients (stuff that doesn’t come in boxes and last for months or years without being frozen), you’ll be hard pressed to make food as bad for you as an average fast food meal. Plus, the more time you spend doing something creative that doesn’t involve watching a screen with your kids… well, I don’t even have kids and it seems obvious to me how important this is.
And if you have a significant other, cooking is a great way to spend time together. Shopping for fresh ingredients, cooking, and eating are all sensual acts. The texture and smell of aromatic vegetables and herbs being diced and chopped on a cutting board. The synthesis of flavors that a well-prepared meal offers — each one standing alone and yet complimenting the others. The intimate moment of eating in your own home something you worked to create together. It’s far less pretentious and stuffy than a meal at Del Posto, and far more affordable, too. It’s the simple acts, really, that are the most profound. Cooking is one those basic human actions that have shaped and defined cultures and families for millenia. For god’s sake, just do it.
And while you’re at it, read this book, before it’s too late.
Now, the answer to the question: What’s for Breakfast?
Today, my fiancée and I constructed a luxurious breakfast sandwich (see picture at top). Not healthy, per se, but a nice Sunday morning indulgence after a long work week of yogurt, oatmeal, turkey sandwiches, salads… Today’s sandwich was a play off of the classic bodega bacon, egg, and cheese I ate three days a week while living in New York City. I thought it would be nice to mix in some Southwest flavors (guacamole and jalapeno). Only after we finished making it did I realize how much it resembled The Southside Walnut Café’s Sunrise Sandwich, which we ate regularly while living in Boulder, Colorado.
Making this sandwich was simple (as sandwiches tend to be!). Here, step-by-step instructions to get your through the first time:
- Make or buy guacamole. We happened to have a container of Whole Food guac in the fridge and we wanted to use it up before it went brown
- Start some dry rubbed, thick cut, nitrate free bacon in a skillet over medium heat
- Warm another skillet over medium and coat with butter or oil, depending on your taste (careful not to burn!)
- Slice as much good, sharp cheddar cheese as you think you’ll want on your sandwich
- Put two slices of your favorite bread in the toaster, but don’t push them down yet… (We used slices of a French boule, which is an airy, crusty white bread)
- Crack some eggs (I had two on my sandwich) into the buttered or oiled pan, which should be hot by now. I broke the egg yolks to get more even coverage, mixing them around in the whites with the corner of my spatula.
- Flip your bacon, if it’s ready.
- When the tops of the eggs are starting to firm up, but well before they are dry, fold them in half, so you have semi-circular shapes in the pan… like mini omelets.
- Wait a minute and then place your cheese slices atop the egg semi-circles
- Push down the bread in the toaster
- Check the bacon. If it’s done, put it on a plate lined with a paper towel, to absorb a little of the excess grease
- When the cheese is melted, put one of your eggs onto the bread (it has popped up by now, hasn’t it?)
- Then break a slice of bacon in two and put the pieces on to of the egg on the bread
- Slide the other egg on top of the bread, egg, cheese, and bacon stack
- Put another slice of bacon on top of all this
- Coat the other piece of bread with guacamole (freshly sliced avocado will do, too)
- Embed the guac with as many jalapenos as you see fit (their bright, spicy flavor really balances out the sandwich!)
- Put the two halves together, serve and enjoy.
We ate ours sans sides… just some coffee and some seltzer with lemon. Nearing the limits of sandwich perfection! What about you? What do you love to make for breakfast?