I’m sure you heard about it: recently during a broadcast of a game between the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets, Celtics announcer Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell took offense to a call made by female referee Violet Palmer. He then proceeded to say something he would regret: He said Palmer should “get back in the kitchen”. He then added with dramatic flair, “Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?”
Well, others have rightly let him have it on the political/sociological front. Me? I think that Mr. Maxwell could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had previously educated himself on how to make his own bacon and eggs. He could have come here. Cheap is as free as it gets. So, I figure I’ll save some other announcer a future embarrassment by giving proper instruction in cooking bacon and eggs.
It can be very easy, or very difficult, depending on what you want, and what tools you have on hand. I’ll profile two ways to cook bacon, and three to cook eggs.
- Sliced bacon (I prefer thick cut sugar cured). The thinner it is, the quicker it will cook, but the harder it is to pull each individual slice away from the others. You COULD be a wuss and get the boxed, precooked bacon, I guess.
- Eggs. You’re a man! Get the ones marked “Jumbo”. But keep in mind, the shells on the jumbo eggs are quite thin, and you have to be super-careful.
- A skillet. Cast Iron really works well with the bacon, but fried eggs are hard to do in cast iron. Pardon the pun, but stick with the non-stick type.
- IF you are making scambled eggs or omlettes, either a fork, a wisk, or best of all, a stick mixer (get your Tim Allen on).
- If you are microwaving the bacon,you’ll need a special bacon microwave grill. And paper towels.
- A couple of teaspoons of butter or margarine, or some non-stick spray.
- If you fry the eggs (or make an omlette), a spatula. Rubber for scrambled.
I’m not done yet – this is long…
The Easy Way. Microwaved bacon and scrambled eggs. I DO NOT like the texture of microwaved eggs. Maybe EggBeaters, but definitely not the real thing. If you buy the pre-cooked, microwave bacon, you don’t need any advice, just read the box. Now for the real bacon. The bacon’s easy if you have a microwave bacon grill. Arrange the bacon on the grill without overlapping the pieces. Cover it all with a paper towel. This is just a rule of thumb, check it as you go: cook it about 1 minute per piece.
Now for the scrambled eggs. Break your eggs into a mixing bowl. Breaking eggs is easy: just tap the egg on the edge of the counter veryslightly, till the egg cracks, but doesn’t break. Stick your thumb (which I KNOW you’ve washed) through the crack, Place your other thumb on the other side of the crack, and gently open, letting the egg fall into the bowl. With practice, this method prevents any stray shell from falling into the bowl (scrambled eggs should NOT be crunchy). When your training is complete, you’ll be able to do it with one hand. Two jumbo eggs per person should be fine, unless you’re one of those people I see at the Chinese buffet.
Mix the eggs. You do this with a vigorous, whipping motion. How long you have to mix depends on the tool you have, and how much “white” you like in your scrambled eggs. I don’t like any. If you have the stick mixer, it’ll just take a few seconds. Ar, Ar Ar! Warm the non-stick pan at MEDIUM heat (don’t get impatient!). I think scrambled eggs are wonderful if you cook them in a couple of teaspoons of butter or margarine. Once the butter’s melted, turn you burner down to medium low (about 10 O’clock on most dials), and pour in the eggs.
The secret to scrambled eggs is not to cook them too fast, and constantly stir. You can wait about 30 seconds before you start stirring with a rubber spatula, but don’t stop once you start. Remove the eggs from heat while there’s still an intsy-binsty bit of liquid left. Something they taught me at Mickey D’s: the eggs continue to cook after they’ve been taken off the heat. Stir ’em a little more, and you’re done!
Make it a cheese omlette. Break and beat eggs as outlined above, except this time, getting rid of all the “white” is mandatory! The mixture should be pure liquid, no “thicker” patches. Do everything as above all the way up to pouring the eggs into the pan. (I find a smaller skillet works better for omlettes) . Pour in enough to have about an eighth inch of egg in the pan. Turn the heat to medium low, and let it set a bit, as my momma would say. Have patience! Shake the pan gently. if it appears that there is a solid layer covered by a thin liquid layer, you’re ready to go. Line one side with sliced American cheese, or shredded cheddar. Take a WIDE spatula, and push it in under the other side all the way almost to the center of the pan. Lift! Now, fold it over. Cook it about another minute; If you’re brave, turn the whole thing over in one fell swoop, and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.
Momma’s Way . This is how my southern-born, genteel mom made bacon and eggs. Both bacon and eggs fried. If you eat this often enough, please have a heart surgeon on retainer. First, the bacon. Heat the skillet at medium high, while simultaneously laying the bacon strips in the skillet side-by-side without overlapping. NEVER PAN FRY ANYTHING ON ‘HIGH’! You WILL burn it. You’ll cook it kind of like you do a steak: you want to resist turning as much as possible. It’s going to take practice. Let the first side brown as much as possible without burning. Opinions vary, but I like turning bacon with a fork, slipping the slice between the fingers of the fork. BUT, there’s no harm in using a spatula. Just get enough of the slice onto the spatula to allow you to pick it up. Turn and place the bacon back on the pan in one circular motion. If you need to practice: Wax on, wax off!
Cook the other side till it browns. You may need to turn the bacon a couple more times, depending on how crispy you like it. Use the spatula/fork just as you would to turn the bacon, but this time remove it. Place it on a paper-towel covered plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan, but turn the burner to low. For heaven’s sake man, let the pan cool a bit!
Putting your hand very close to hot bacon grease can be scary, but buck up, my man! It must be done. If you crack your egg 8 inches above the pan, you’ll have accidental scrambled eggs. Two inches should work. One inch after you’ve practiced a bit. Crack the egg as outlined above, and open into the pan, dropping the egg very gently. The goal is to NOT break the yolks. You’ll do it in a motion where both hands drop slightly as the egg falls, then lift both hands. Paint the fence, Daniel-san! What you do next depends on what you want:
- Sunny Side up: Just let it cook till the whites are all solid, slip your spatula underneath gently, and remove.
- Over Easy: Cook till there’s a thin layer of liquid in the whites, gently place your spatual beneath the egg, and use your wax on wax off method to turn. Be as gentle as possible when laying the egg on the other side. The goal is to not break the yolk. Cook the other side for 30 seconds to a minute. Gently remove.
- Over medium: (My favorite). After turning, cook until the following happens: you shake the pan, and the yolk wiggles, but the white doesn’t.
- Over “done” or Over “well”: (bleh) : After turning, cook ’em till the yolk turns solid. But what are you going to sop your biscuits in? (We’ll talk about biscuits later).
If you fry more than one round of eggs, you’ll need to turn the heat up to medium low. When your training is complete, you’ll be able to use your bacon grease to make gravy (yum!). But for now, just be a good man and clean up after yourself after you eat. DO NOT Put the grease down the drain of the sink! They actually make containers to hold bacon grease, but I’m not too crazy about them, because they smell after a while. Just let the grease solidify (a little), and pour into the trash.
So there you have it. Bacon and eggs that are guaranteed to help you keep your announcer job. But don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll say something else stupid enough to get fired before you know it! But, hey, then you’ll have time to make biscuits and gravy with your bacon and eggs. See you next time!