Monday, April 28, 2008

Appetite of Champions

You know what’s so completely unfair and annoying? My appetite. Many people, when they are upset or terribly stressed, can’t eat. They lose weight in all sorts of graceful, stressful and sorrowful ways. At least they have something to show for the shitty time they are having, right? Me? Nope. I am just the opposite. I eat. I don’t know what it would take for me to lose my appetite. Not illness, not stress (hello, dissertation), not heartache (not to sound dramatic). Those things just make me eat more, and eat with abandon. So now, after all the dissertation-writing nonsense, not only do I have a dent in my couch and a corresponding flat spot on my butt, I also have some gym time ahead of me.

Lest you think that I was dying a slow death by Cheetos the whole time I was writing… well, I sort of was. But this death was punctuated by episodes of food bliss. Among those, my new favorite breakfast – a breakfast sandwich. My favorite is not just any breakfast sandwich. This is THE breakfast sandwich, prepared by the supervisor himself. It makes waking up worthwhile, even if it’s already 11AM when you are out of bed.

So here is what you do. Take some good sliced bread and toast it. Fry eggs (a one-egger sandwich for me, a two-egger for those with bigger appetites and/or hands big enough to hold the ginormo sandwich) to over-medium in olive oil. You want the yolks still runny, but starting to thicken just a little. Layer eggs on the bread with slices of cheese (I can’t force you to use smoked cheddar, but I can tell you it won’t be THE breakfast sandwich without it), basil leaves, some form of breakfast pig product, like sausage or bacon (although I think prosciutto is the way to go), and top it with the key to the sandwich, almost as important as the smoked cheddar (or more so, if you listen to the supervisor himself) - tomato slices. Longest sentence ever? Check.

Now that you have assembled the king of all breakfast sandwiches, you have to eat it. This process involves a ritual of its own. Here’s the thing, the yolk is still liquidy (do it, it’s awesome) and when you squeeze the sandwich or bite into it, the (hot) yolk breaks and runs all over your hands and the plate. That’s the best part. Here comes the ritual. The rules are: 1) you can’t put the sandwich down once you start (because it will be an even bigger mess than the one you have in your hands) and 2) you dip the entire sandwich into the pooled yolk on the plate. Don’t be a sissy like me and tear off a piece of the bread to dip into the yolk or the supervisor will scold you, like he did me. I was ashamed. And then I went to the gym.


Kanchan said...

yummmmyyyyy i'm making my post-dissertation, pre-defense sandwich tomorrow. can't wait to wake up!

Green Armadillo said...

Sounds yummy, but way more work than I'm prepared to expend on breakfast. Maybe if I started a breakfast at like 1 PM tradition or something, but that's more cooking than I'm prepared to do in the morning.

One Food Guy said...

I love the ritual! And I love smoked cheddar! I made myself a smoked cheddar grilled cheese sandwich on Sunday with some freshly baked (Whole Foods) organic wheat bread - it was SO good.

I'm thinking egg sandwich for breakfast tomorrow with the left over cheese!

mehdi said...

Hi Anna,

I'm looking forward to those days when I'm done with all my experiments, that I would spend all day at home writing my dissertation (or pretending to do so), so I can spend time making a proper breakfast INSTEAD of chewing on granola bars and gulping down coffee on the bus.


Anna said...

Kanchan - Yay! I cannot believe we are both almost done. Craziness! Hope the sandwich makes your morning great :)

Allen - You need to re-evaluate your priorities. That's all I'm sayin'. Breakfast is a priority for me, cooking or not. It makes the whole day better! Treating yourself in the morning is wonderful.

One Food Guy - Oh that sounds wonderful! Grilled smoky cheese. Enjoy the sandwich (hope you document it!)

Dear Mehdi, when you do get to the point at which you are writing your presentation, please be sure to let me know just how much you are enjoying the process, breakfast sandwich or not. I can assure you that I did not pretend my way through writing the 230 pages of my dissertation covering the last seven years of my work. I will commend you if you can. Frankly, I am not entirely sure what you are implying by that phrase. The last month has been anything but fun for me.

JC said...

Damn, that's a good-lookin' sammich. I usually don't like fried eggs, but I might be able to handle one in a sandwich like that. And I totally lose my appetite when I get depressed. A couple of years ago I lost about 20 pounds!

Anna said...

D'oh. I meant dissertation, not presentation. My brain is worn out.

JC - You don't necessarily need to fry the eggs. I bet poaching them would be just fine as well. You could soft boil them too. I would keep the yolk liquid though. I kinda think that's the best part.

Naveen said...

We should add your sandwich to
list on the New York Times article about "The Next Next Best Things in Sliced Bread."

leena! said...

Anna, I am so jealous. My adviser never even wanted to get drinks with me or make me a breakfast sandwich! Well, she was pregnant, but then again, she still could eat! Your sandwich rocks, I totally you feel you on the smoked cheddar. I like to put it in jalapeño polenta with a fried gooey egg and crispy bacon on damn, I'm hungry. Congrats again on finishing and having a kick ass adviser!

mehdi said...

Dear Anna,

just a misunderstanding. nothing to do with your your dissertation writing, the "pretend" thing. sorry for that.

I was just pissed by the fact that my breakfast has been the same %&@# during the last few months. I agree, I think its stupid to wait for dissertation writing days to get proper breakfast. These days are so crazy busy for me that i was thinking of dissertation writing as a period I have to deal only with one thing. My brain doesnt work properly these days.


Anna said...

Naveen - Thanks so much for that article link. It's really cool. It's stuff like that that makes me want to move to NY. It seems overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time.

Leena - That's completely hilarious. I don't mean my supervisor, as in my lab head of advisor. She lives in Arizona. Besides which, it would be a few clicks past shady if my advisor was making me breakfast, don't you think? "Supervisor"is my not so clever nickname for my "man-friend". He is not afraid of yeast doughs and I am. So he supervises. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Although it would be pretty sweet if my boss would make me food... Sweet in a sketchy way, I guess.

Mehdi - Here is the funny thing about dissertation writing. It's kind of all-encompassing. I also thought that I would get to eat well and catch up on sleep while writing. That was so not the case. I was too scatter-brained to go to the grocery store and ate lots of crap just to keep my attention focused on not falling asleep.. or watching another episode of CSI.I think breakfast is really important though. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. I love having just 15 minutes to sit down in the morning and have my tea and some food, even if it's just toast. It's the calm before the storm, I guess. I feel all out of whack on days when I don't get to do that. You should seriously consider writing it into your schedule, crazy busy as I am sure it is.

mehdi said...


now you're scaring me about the dissertation days! I dont know, let those days come around and see what happens.

Ok, lets look at the full half of the breakfast: its a day or two that I've developed a ritual. As there's an Espresso machine in the lab (thanks to Hughes money!), after the on-the-bus breakfast I take time to prime the cup, count 60 beans, grind my Peets beans, shake it, tamp it, wait for 20 seconds and viola, I have an amazing demiatasse.

aimee said...

Man, this looks good. There's just something about eggs in sandwiches. Pure brilliance.

Anyone, anyone who makes you breakfast is worth keeping around. I'm getting ready to mourn the departure of the best flatmate in the world(TM) - for who else will bring me coffee and breakfast in bed? Amen to the breakfast makers in the world, I say. Ain't nothing like welcoming the day in with a friendly smile and a plate of food.