Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So you're working Thanksgiving...

Warning: heavy accent ahead.

Well, so am I.

Even though we get a good lunch--and dinner, if we want it--for free, I still prefer to take my own breakfast to work on holidays.

Herein is Jo's Diner Breakfast, gleaned from the days when I was a Dinette at Jim's ("You don't need no teeth/to eat the beef/At Jim's Diner"; "If you got it, share it; don't smoke it in the bathroom, man."):

One raw potato, peeled and cubed
Two eggs, beaten
A few shreds of onion
A handful of shredded ham
Whatever cheese is to your liking

Set your biscuit dough up and cut it out. Stick it in the oven to bake.

(There are numerous recipes for biscuits; even Bisquick makes a decent biscuit if you eat it hot. Try Brother Juniper's Fluffy Biscuit recipe for a Yankee version or search "angel biscuit" on Google for a Suthun version.)

Fry up your ham and onion until the ham begins to brown.

Scrape it out of the pan and dump the eggs in. When they're settin' nicely, put your sliced or shredded cheese on 'em and dump said ham and onions back on top.

Fold it all over and wrap it up into an omelette when things look good and ready. Don't ask for more specific instructions or Terry the Drunken Cook will go after you with a spatula.

When that's done cookin', stick it into a Tupperware and put it into the fridge.

Parboil your cubed potatoes until they're almost done, then season 'em with seasoned salt (or paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne, in that order).

Slide a quarter-cup of oil into that hot pan you cooked your omelette in. (Yes, I know that's a lot by today's standards, but this is *diner* cooking.)

Dump in your seasoned potatoes. I hope you have a good exhaust fan over your stove.

Cook until they're crispy on the outside, mealy on the inside.

Drain on paper towels. If you're in the diner, you can skip that step.

If you're really hurtin' for gravy, now's the time to make it, with sausage grease and flour in a roux, milk, and more flour to thicken. (You do keep sausage grease on hand, right? In an old coffee can? What are you, some kinda hippie?)

Take the biscuits out of the oven. Let them cool on the counter, then wrap two up in foil. Put your putative gravy in another Tupper, and your now-cooled and drained potatoes in yet another.

Pack the whole caboodle into your bag to be assembled in the morning. Don't forget the jelly.

That kind of cooking shouldn't be eaten every day. Fo' sho'. But for charming Rainbow Children who are hitching from Austin to Portland, Maine for the blueberry harvest, or satisfying old truck drivers or cement layers from the South, nothing can compare.

This year we're having turkey, cornbread stuffing, greens, and pumpkin pie. In homage to the recently displaced Louisianians we've got working with us, those same N'Awlinians have agreed to come in to cook crawfish etouffe, dirty rice, and bread pudding for us.

Happy Thanksgivin', y'all. I have a beer in my belly, a cat in my bed, and Jim's Diner cooking in my fridge for tomorrow.

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