8 February 2009


Before I proceed further, I'd like to say thank you to my dear friend Luke, a man of many curries, who has finally kept his promise as to provide me with a new photo camera! Thank you, Luke! And hello, my Dear Readers!

I like to be very well fed and as much educated too. Preferably, even desirably, at the same time. I wish I were explained, say, the theory of relativity over a plate of fragrant roasted potatoes and a juicy chunk of garlicky chicken (also roasted) – a bottle of the red would help the matters considerably , if at it - instead of being seated in a stale classroom, having to understand the understandable when hunger-stricken. I never did well on an empty stomach. Nah.

However, as time goes, things are improving - I expand the range of my general knowledge not only from books that I hold so dear, or at classes, but also when I munch on my meals, which I hold very dear too. For example, I did not half know who James Cagney is. In my own defense, this was before I set out to make the James Cagney eggs, of which none other than David Tanis, in his well-celebrated and loved by many (me included) book “A platter of figs and other recipes”, speaks humorously but briefly:

“[…] my childhood fave, a version of egg-in-the-hole we used to call eggs James Cagney (for long-forgotten reasons), where you cut out a circle in a slice of bread with a water glass, melt some butter in a pan, lay in the bread, break an egg into the hole, then fry the thing on both sides.” (p.148)

Needless to say, a) I wanted those eggs; b) I was left in a perplexed state of mind (a rather rummy condition, I must say) about the James Cagney’s affinity with said eggs. In other words, besides being hungry for food, I craved for new knowledge, which is doubly commendable (!).

First, I asked my trusty walking encyclopedia of all things American, that is my already well-known friend Luke (the man is getting so much publicity lately), about the two: the actor and the eggs.

“Who is James Cagney?”

“American actor. Oscar winner.”

“Did he love fried eggs?”

“Er….Um…..I really don’t know.”

I shamed the man for the lack of knowledge, and, therefore, had no option other than turn to Google, where I, alas, did not find the answer either. Hm.

Now I still remain absolutely foggy as to why James Cagney - not that I actually mind. Anyway, this is already so secondary in my priorities. I am fully occupied with eggs per se now. They entertain me, these luscious morsels. These little replications of sun on my plate. (I can be very imaginative at times.)

If you ask me, there is nothing more rewarding than a feeling of grand satisfaction from a very simple meal. This dish of the James Cagney eggs, for instance. To make it, you don’t need anything more than a piece of crackly bread with moist and chewy interior, an egg from a happy hen, and a drive to have fun, as the name alone suggests. (You even don’t want to care why the James Cagney, really.) A few leaves of fresh thyme will also be good. Just as good will be two or three gossamer shavings of aged parmesan over the top of the resulting dish, or any other cheese with a pronounced flavour you like. A handful of crispy leaves of ruccola, splashed with lemon juice and olive oil. Common and easy! But it was so good that, after I’d relished my portion, I sat still and fully content; and for a long moment I even did not think of any other meaning of my life than enjoy the simplicity in life and be grateful. So, as you see, I mean serious things here.

Heat the pan properly before adding butter (or olive oil) to it. When starts to release its nutty aroma, put the bread to it. Once you’ve crackled an egg open, and poured it into the hole in the bread, the runny egg white tends to escape from under the bread. Don’t get discouraged - as soon as the thing solidifies, it is easy to fold up ‘the edges’ with a spatula. When the white is fully set, turn the bread/egg over in the pan, withoug breaking the egg yolk (difficult, but practice makes perfect). Fry for 3-4 mins on both sides, seasoning with salt/pepper and any other spice combination. Do as you wish! And, more importantly, enjoy!

See you soon, My Dear Readers!

1 comment:

Cinnamonda said...

Congrats on your new camera, Anya! James Cagney eggs sound delicious. I'll have to try them.