11 August 2011

Where’s the magic? Where’s the flame?

Today is my birthday. I won't say which one, because I am vain, and because I am trying to convince myself that it really doesn't matter. This does not mean that I am opposed to birthdays in general -- I like the idea of a whole day dedicated to celebrating me (vain, remember) -- but I'm attempting the belief that it's not about how many there have been so much as whether they mark time well spent.

It has (you might rightfully say) taken me long enough to figure out how best to celebrate my birthday, but I think I've finally gotten it. I've learned that the important thing is to get the morning right -- if the hours before noon are made happy, the rest of the day usually sorts itself out.

First, if at all possible, I take the day off work. There is nothing less conducive to a happy birthday than having to haul in to the office, and I won't do it if I don't have to.

Second, I sleep as late as the cats will let me.  That's usually until 7, which may not sound late, but when you consider how early I usually get up, it's practically luxurious.

After that, I have a glass of iced tea -- it is August, and too hot for hot tea. I read a frivolous magazine. Twice. I look at all the pretty pictures in it. Twice, if I want.

Then I make my favourite breakfast, an egg and cheese sandwich on wheat toast. I do not require that the Viking do this for me. I like doing it myself and I haven't managed to teach him how to do it right, anyway. It's taken me long enough to learn to do this right, too, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the simple things that are hardest to master.

These really must be made one at a time. Fortunately they are quick to make, so if there are other people around who inconsiderately demand breakfast, too, you can accommodate them easily.

Birthday Breakfast

Make two slices of toast according to your own preferences. My own are for whole wheat, and on the dark side. Maman gave me a lovely new toaster for this birthday, and happily it arrived a couple of days ago so I could use it this morning. Butter the toast and set aside.

Place a skillet over medium high heat and brush the inside with just enough oil to coat it, but no more than that.  Over the years I've learned that the secret to not having your scrambled egg or omelette stick to everything is to have the pan hot enough, and, perhaps counter-intuitively, not to use too much oil.

In a small bowl, beat one egg with a teaspoon of water.  Pour into the hot skillet, swirling if necessary to cover the bottom of the pan with egg.  The egg will be cooked in about a minute.

Lay a thin slice (or sprinkle about a tablespoon grated) sharp cheddar cheese over the egg.  Let set a moment just until the cheese starts to soften.  Fold the egg in half, then in half again, over the cheese. Place the folded egg and cheese on one slice of the toast. Salt and pepper. Dash of hot sauce (my favourite is Panola). Place the second piece of toast on top and slice the sandwich in half diagonally.

Put your sandwich on a tray, get another glass of iced tea, and have breakfast in your favourite chair. Read another frivolous magazine.

Calef Brown


  1. Happy birthday! (And thanks for making me crave egg on wheat...)

  2. That sounds like a completely decadent way to spend your birthday morning, Nora! Happy birthday! I hope the day just got better from there.

    Interesting that you make the switched to iced tea in summer. I still must, must have hot tea in the morning. Somehow the iced variety is fine for the rest of the day, but first thing, it doesn't work if it's not hot!


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