Ingredients: one egg, a large knob of butter.
Method: Gently melt the butter in a frying pan on a low-medium heat. Once slightly bubbling, crack the egg into the pan. Keep the heat low, and as the white gradually turns opaque, spoon golden butter over the top of the white, giving the top surface heat and flavor. Be patient — don’t let the bottom get crispy. It’s ready when the white is entirely opaque, with iridescent pools of gold glistening across its surface. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and serve in a closed morning roll. No sauce.
If the yolk breaks in the pan, discard — it’s ruined.
It is early. Still and cold and crisp. Mist hangs in the air. We have been traveling through the night, making a special detour — no, a pilgrimage — to eat this. A fried egg in a morning roll, from a van at the side of a road.
You have talked about it for weeks, tipped me off that it’s the best thing I’ll ever eat. You’ve spoken with glee about the yolk, hidden under pillowy white bread like a prize, and delighted in how it bursts and dribbles down your chin. It’s like a secret you’ve let us in on, one you can’t help but share and enjoy with us, too — a delicious piece of gossip too good to keep to yourself. We are excited. It is a joy when you’re happy and excited; we want in on it and we want it to last.
At a damp bench, my legs swinging, we chomp through warm buttery egg white between thick
morning roll. We mmm and aaahh at how delicious it is, this simple, sacred pleasure. Our mouths are full as we laugh at how much we’re enjoying it, and your eyes are bright, I think maybe with pride. The yolk bursts, dribbling down my chin and to the bottom of the white paper bag. I mop it up with the end of the roll and lick around my mouth. I savor every morsel, every moment. We get back in the car and drive on.
Some time later, you teach me how to fry an egg myself, perfectly, to be enjoyed as it was that day. It requires time and patience, and only two ingredients. It is wonderful.
You have raised me on food, enveloped my world with it. It holds my day — my life — together and
permeates every ounce of me. You cooked with love even when words and actions failed you. You also cooked with wine, and sometimes you even put it in the food.
We haven’t spoken in seven years, and you’ve been gone two. I’m a chef now, and a fried egg cooked in butter in a morning roll is still my favorite food.
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