In a Box, With a Fox: Green Eggs and Ham

Oh, the incredible, edible egg. Much praised, and maligned, eggs are nice if only because they're the first things people usually learn to make. You can complicate them with the whole 3-minute egg versus 7-minute egg, and I just learned (like, last week) that if you put the egg in the frying pan and then turn the heat up, the proteins in the egg will cook into the pan (science!), but for the most part, cooking eggs, like ordering a pizza, is something most people can pull off.

I don't usually like ordering eggs in restaurants, though, mostly because I'm particular about how I like them (scrambled with a little water, cooked until dry) and I'm always frightened of that "how did someone even think of that" concoction that is Egg Beaters. But, at breakfast one morning with Dave and his family, I struggled with what to order on the menu (it was 7 pages at least, and while I can appreciate the variety and creativity that entails, really I just want some food), and I finally decided on the charmingly (also worryingly) named "Green Eggs and Ham."

And, ok, I have to say I'm probably not the greatest Dr. Seuss fan out there. Sure, I may leaf through How the Grinch Stole Christmas during the holidays, and yeah, I was always intrigued by the political arms-race implications of The Butter Battle Book (and the pictures!), but I'm not out there shilling for Seussical: The Musical and joining elementary-school teachers in celebrating Theodore Geisel's birthday with one of those weird giant striped hats that are also strangely favored by potheads (among others). I never really liked Green Eggs and Ham, either. Being a picky eater, I was always annoyed at how Sam kept forcing the issue. Let it go Sam. Go get on the train and plane and get your weirdo food out of here.*

Also, whenever people try to make Green Eggs and Ham, they usually resort to food coloring, and the result just pretty much makes you want to give up eating altogether, it's so disgusting. So, I was less intrigued by the whimsy of the name than the description: fried bread, fried egg, ham, and--the "green" ingredient (not foodcoloring!)--pesto. I like all those things, and conceivably, I could like them together.

And I did! It was delicious: perfectly-fried egg resting on a thick slice of ham, pillowed by a thick slice of gently-toasted bread and topped with a generous dollop of pesto, which nicely accentuated the taste of the egg and the saltiness of the ham. It was wonderful, and I was happy.

The problem was, this was in Pasadena (sorry Penn State), and I live, like, not in Pasadena. Since I know no one in Pasadena, my one remaining link to L.A. deciding to pack it up to study and shiver in New York (hi Evie!), I figured the chances of me coming back for seconds were slim (unless PSU gets back in the Rose Bowl!). And the chances of me finding some place on the East Coast that would put pesto on eggs also seemed kind of unlikely ("Pesto on eggs!" said Kevin, de San Francisco. "Yeah, that sounds like California."). Luckily, there were few ingredients, it was prepared simply, and the restaurant (Barney's Beanery--visit today!) had their menu online. So, having a craving for some pesto-slathered eggs, ham, toast, I tried my own version. It was good!

A few notes on the cooking: I made everything in a frying pan, which means I needed 3 pans going at once. Presumably you could double up on some things, or just toast the bread, or stick things in a warming tray (oven!) until you're ready for them. Gets cold fast, though. Also, the bread was reeeally hard to cut through, although that might have just been Dave's weak butter knives, which don't even threaten butter. Also also, we made our eggs undereasy (is that it? the opposite of overeasy? is it sunny-side up? Whatever, I eat scrambled eggs...), but I would recommend frying on both sides to keep it from being runny. I took some amazing pictures of the finished product, but Dave lost his camera cable, so you might never see them. Sorry. They looked Seuss-y, but delicious.

(one serving)
2 eggs
2 slices of ham, deli or thicker
2 slices of thick bread
4 tablespoons pesto

Over medium heat, fry the slices of ham.
Butter and fry the bread
Fry the eggs (don't know how? clickity-click)
The ham should be cooked thoroughly, but not blackened or crispy
The bread should be golden and lightly toasted (think grilled cheese)
Stack the bread, ham, and egg on a plate
Drizzle both with pesto

*I think my parents tried to encourage me to read this book because, in the end, the man tries green eggs and ham and loves it, and it's supposed to teach kids to try new things. But, come on. If some weird little creature ran up to you with a plate of rancid-looking food and tried to force you to eat it in rhyme, you'd be turned off, too.

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