Breakfast with the Bar Jester (Part 2)

Rock Island, IL

In a former treatise, O Theophilus, I spoke ill of breakfast, which many people—not a few of them nutritional “experts”—wrongly regard as the most important meal of the day. I also made plain my own correct opinion on the matter at hand, viz., that two cups of dark-roast coffee are all a man needs each day to get him to the evening meal.

(O coffee! And O thou caffeine! What a good and pleasant addiction!)

Allowances were made—and the demands of charity thereby answered—for persons of peculiar constitutions, but the thrust of the piece was that breakfast–even the breakfast of champions–is for sissies.

However, I did add that breakfast “is a fine thing if you know what you’re doing, even though it is wholly unnecessary,” and I promised the reader that in a subsequent essay I would make his “arse on the matins satins stir with religious fervor”—all “thanks to the Bar Jester, his statins, and his culinary charity.”

(One ought not to make such promises, but …) Get your eggs ready, ladies!

Ah, the egg. The chicken egg. Perfectly designed for moving smoothly through a narrow corridor and onto a man’s plate. Is there anything like it in structure, function, flavor, color, or texture? There isn’t. Not unless it’s the hop.

Mind you, the egg doesn’t stand alone. It flourishes best with butter and salt and … well, let’s get on with it.

You want farm fresh eggs. You want eggs that come from chickens free to run and peck and screw other chickens. If you have never done a side-by-side taste test with, on the one hand, those nasty yellow-yolked store-bought eggs that besmirch the supermarkets and, on the other hand, the noble orange-yolked farm-fresh eggs from farmer Jim up yonder, do one. Do a taste test tomorrow. From the cracking of the shell to the look of the egg to the taste thereof you will notice differences like unto day and night, truth and error, Lonnie and Sparky Anderson. Farmer Jim’s egg, which have a brown or a green shell, will be to your tongue what the AV is to your ears. The white-shelled egg from the Try ‘n Save will offend you like the NIV.

Now there are many ways to prepare eggs: you can scramble them; you can whip them into an omelet; you can baste them; you can prepare them “over easy.” An unscrambled egg with a yolk broken or cooked hard is an abomination, like a shapely girl in a loose sweater and baggy pants. A hard-boiled egg is another matter altogether, and although it may be permitted on certain rare occasions it is not recommended for breakfast for the simple reason that it hasn’t observed the rule of “not too much,” where “not too much” means: not too much time on the heat. Or, to speak plainly, a hard-boiled egg has been over-cooked.

(Nothing should ever be over-cooked, and everything except chicken, turkey, and pork should be piously undercooked.)

Another thing: whereas evening cooking requires music, morning cooking requires silence. Don’t disturb your thoughts with radio or television or music or anything—except on Saturdays when “Car Talk” is on. We are talking about morning, my friend. Morning. Preserve and respect the morning silence that so perfectly complements the morning darkness. Tonight you can crank up Horsby when you’re making your carbonara (which, let me tell you, is awesome, mainly because it, too, requires farmer Jim’s eggs) and sipping your Woodford Reserve, but for now let the kitchen be still. Let the day unfold in your imagination like a cracked farm-fresh egg.

Okay. As for scrambled eggs: some people will tell you to add a little milk to them. Big mistake. You want eggs? Eat eggs, not eggs-plus-milk.

Whip the eggs in whatever’s at hand—a recently-used but rinsed-out coffee mug will do just fine—with nothing more than a fork. Butter your favorite breakfast pan over medium heat, add the eggs, scramble them, and take them out while they’re still good and runny. This is key. Fluffy scrambled eggs are ruined scrambled eggs. Dark and runny and orange is what you’re after.

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