It's a standard solution to any dichotomous but non-mutually-exclusive problem: choose both. I had the time. I had the resources. I had the ganas. I would have some eggs clean (subtle, delicate, fresh flavors), some eggs dirty (halitosis-inducing). A yin and a yang on my breakfast plate: o, beautiful balance. The Apollonian and the Dionysian, if you will.*** My breakfast had a guiding principle, a metaphysical foundation, a real theme that I planned to repeat in variation in weeks to come. This, for the skimmers, is where the "over-intellectualization" comes into play. For Chrissake, it's an omelet. As I cooked I flipped and folded and kneaded and tossed around in my mind the now-titled Eggs Clean Eggs Dirty approach to brunch. From there, it grew. (In the interest of full disclosure, no one loves a two-for-one like I do.)
Now, what makes it worse is that I proceeded to preach Eggs Clean Eggs Dirty. Will heard about it. He was unimpressed. Not to let this crush my enthusiasm, I brought it to Kibbee and Rachel. They let me down a bit more gently, "It's amazing you've got the energy to cook two kinds of eggs..." (Note, ellipsis, not exclamation.) I didn't think this was a question of energy, I thought it was a question of an idea having power. It had balance, it satisfied all sorts of urges, I never had to settle on a single flavor set for my eggs again. These more abstract qualities, however, proved less than compelling in the world of dishwashing (sometimes I rationalize K&R's tepid response by imagining doing dishes in their 8" x 10" dribbly-faucet sink). In response, I've backed off the Eggs Clean Eggs Dirty as a brunch for everyone, and rationalized it to myself as a good way to get two brunch recipes on the blog at one time.
Enough thinking, time to eat. Egg brunch, for me at least, somehow has this wonderful ability to become very complicated without becoming too messy or too time-consuming. I really believe that doing two kinds of eggs at one time is less burdensome than it first appears. You don't have to take my word for it, you can try it. If you're sappy, it's a great love brunch: one person makes eggs clean, one eggs dirty, and you split!**** But you have to call it Eggs Clean Eggs Dirty.
Here it is: a case study, theory in action:
Eggs Clean I: Avocado Mozzarella
Makes 1 Servings
Ball of Fresh Mozzarella
1 Piece Toast (an Eng Muff seems apropos)
Salt and Pep to taste
1. Toast your toast!
2. Slice your Avocado and your fresh Mozzarella
3. Prepare your egg cleanly: fried, sunny side up, poached (more about egg poaching in the next post).
4. S and P on Avocado on Egg on Mozzarella on Toast.
And, we're done.
Eggs Dirty I: Spinach Feta Omelet
Makes 1 Servings
1/2 Cup frozen Spinach
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 Piece toast (I opted for nine grain)
2 Tbs Grated Parmesan (optional)
Salt and Pep to taste
1. Toast the bread.
2. A bit of oil and the onion into the pan! When the onions are translucent, add the spinach. Feel free to add some red pepper flakes. When things are soft, put them on the toast and keep it in the warm oven.
3. Do your egg up omelet-style. I just went for the fold-over method with the feta inside.
4. Parmesan on Egg on Spinach on Toast.
Take note: I did Eggs Dirty first as omelets stand up much more readily to staying warm in the oven.
* The 'was right' link is required reading. Here is some suggested reading.
** I'm pretty sure that DFW says "over-intellectualize." I don't want to commit to "over" yet because it seems unnecessarily pejorative to me. I expect my reluctance is nothing more than a knee-jerk defense of my default behavior. Whatever the case, what Wallace is actually after isn't a standard, cut-and-dry, conservative anti-intellectualism. Far from it (see: any non-fiction piece Wallace ever wrote). Instead, Wallace is worried that it's so incredibly easy to become absorbed in our own intellectual life. It's so easy to become caught up in the monologue in our heads and not pay attention to (1) what is happening around us, and (2) whether we are spending these moments of onanism thinking about things that really matter. For the real gist of it (and some better-crafted prose), read the linked speech. I just wanted to point out that Wallace thinks there's nothing wrong with a lot of the abstraction and intellectualzation that we do; and, I wanted to point this out mostly to defend my own habits. On an unrelated note, DFW coined one of my new favorite words in his essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never do Again": niagaracal. Like Niagara falls. This word is so money, but lamentably so rarely appropriate.
*** An abuse of terms, if ever there was one. But (1) I couldn't resist, and (2) we were talking about over-intellectualizing . . .
**** I'm convinced that this really sappy here's-how-to-make-it-if-you're-in-love tone comes from reading too many other food blogs. If I offended you, I apologize. If I embarrassed myself, ignore it.