Monday, August 24, 2009


There's a whole list of foods that thrive off of indifference. For example: gyros. The more care and concern and love you put into a gyro, the worse it gets. You can make your own cucumber dressing, you can make your own pita bread, you can spend hours making a sandwich that, when all's said and done, still isn't anywhere near as tasty or as cheap as the guy standing behind the greasy cart in front of your office building could have made you in 30 seconds. Your gyro guy is able to do that because he's probably made a lot of gyros in his day and he's to the point where he doesn't actually have to think about it all that much. He's in the zone.

Okay, I might be mythologizing the grease truck guy a little, but the point remains: Some foods taste better without care and attention. Some foods taste better when the guy at the griddle is doing a half-dozen breakfast-related things simultaneously. Some foods have been reduced to the bare minimum steps required to make them both tasty and fast and there aren't many places to take them anymore.

Diners are cathedrals to indifference food.
...but corner delis are the storefront churches where the miracles happen.

It's taken me some time to get to the point where I can make a ham (or bacon, or sausage, or whatever) egg and cheese sandwich that tastes right to me - it became a bit of a priority once I moved out of the deli capitol of the world and had to start making my own breakfasts again. I guess I just...stopped worrying about it.


1 bagel/roll/croissant, etc.
1 egg, beaten fast but not too much
2 slices sandwich ham
1 slice American cheese
1/4 tablespoon butter


Don't need a thing more than that. You're in a rush, right?

Put the ham in a dry frying pan and put it over the stove on medium. Leave it until the bottom of the ham chars a little (3-4 minutes), flip it over and repeat (2-3 minutes). set aside. That was your prep work.

Put your bagel (or roll, or what-have-you) in the toaster.

While the ham is grilling, beat the egg and pull the slice of cheese out of the fridge. You're going to have to do the bit coming up a little fast.

In the same pan after the ham's been removed, melt the butter just until it starts to bubble. Your pan should still be hot and over medium, so that shouldn't take more than a few seconds. Make sure the butter has touched the whole bottom of the pan.

Pour in the egg. It will start to cook as soon as it hits the pan. Once the egg has solidified and started to seriously cook (30 seconds or so) flip the egg with a spatula, or, if you're fancy, with a flick of the wrist.

This is the part that requires a little bit of speed and coordination. You should have a circle of egg in your pan. Put the cheese on top of the egg with one side of the cheese touching the edge of the circle, and put the ham on top of the cheese. Fold the egg in half on top of the ham and cheese, then in half again. You should end up with a wedge of egg/cheese/ham/egg/ham/cheese/egg. Put it on a bagel, throw some salt and pepper (and ketchup, if you're me) on it and dig in.

Don't worry about cooking the ham, it's cooked long before it gets to you. Don't worry about melting the cheese, either, the egg will do that for you once it's all on one bun. And coffee - don't forget the coffee.

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