Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Irish things, and green, and a jig now and then around the house. Unfortunately, I got swept up in my taxes and rushing around that I didn’t have it in me to run to the store for corned beef and rye. That’s how it goes some years. You get all jacked up about a holiday, and then it’s here, and you’re caught unprepared. Silly. So we ended up having fried egg sandwiches, which are tied with reubens, in my mind, for Best Sandwich of All.
The best reuben I’ve had was made for me by a boy I had an eye for way back when I was a girl. We’d dated a few times and didn’t know much about each other except how drawn we each were, and when he invited me to his home for dinner one Wednesday night before the church Lent service, I about cart wheeled. It was this time of year, and he was even more Irish than I, so the meal was his specialty. He cooked; I watched. He carefully fried the sauerkraut, then set it aside. Then he fried the corned beef – not crisp, but so it was a little brown and sweet around the edges. Then he assembled the sandwiches in the pan with the hot ingredients, some light rye without caraway seeds, and big slices of Swiss cheese. The bread came out toasted just right, and he poured, without discretion, the most wonderful Thousand Island dressing in a bowl for us to share. He even lit a candle, and we sat there, laughing, dipping our huge sandwiches in dressing while his parents watched the evening news. To this day, I’ve yet to enjoy a reuben as satisfying.
Fried egg sandwiches, on the other hand, rank high among the most comforting of foods. My mother made them for me on my adolescent Saturdays when the world seemed far too vast and I could not find myself. She made a fried egg sandwich when I didn’t make the play, and another when my report card was sub-standard. She made another when the boy who made the reuben showed up with another girl at the school dance, and yet another after I worked a long hot double shift at the McDonald’s drive-thru window. Two eggs, two slices of white bread, a little salt, pepper and butter – that’s all. Pure comfort.
I add cheese to my fried egg sandwiches, sometimes provolone, sometimes cheddar. I rarely make them for dinner, but this Saturday it worked out fine. Mmm, the kids said, these are something else. And they are.
Fried Egg Sandwiches
2 slices bread, preferably white
Break eggs into frying pan lightly greased with butter. Gently break yolks and spread over whites. Cook until they are the way you like them, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cut to sort of fit the bread. Layer: bread, egg, bread. Eat. Ketchup is optional. So is cheese, ham, green peppers, etc.