At what point do I stop feeling that pit in my stomach, that gnawing sense of dread, when summer ends? Is it me, or was last week officially the longest four-day week in history? Okay, maybe that’s overstating things, but still: I was hurting, in a real back-to-school way, and I’m a grown-ass man. Back behind my desk, staring at the screen. School lunches to be packed. Bills to be paid, rising anxieties to be tamped down, alarm clocks to be set, soggy basements to be dried, soccer and piano schedules to coordinate, times tables to be memorized, reality to be reckoned with and, most crushing of all, vacation officially over. We did a little posting from our trip in August, but in case it didn’t come across: we had fun, and were extremely fortunate to have had it, and were unbelievably bummed to be back. We had so much fun, we kept looking for ways to relive our trip once we were home — inflicting our pictures on polite friends (“hold on, you gotta see the sandwiches we made for that picnic in Place des Vosges”), making epic photo albums, leaving our souvenirs around, in prominent places, to remind us of where we’d been, replaying our favorite moments (walking up the Eiffel Tower, hiking the South Downs, napping on trains, watching a clueless, jet-lagged dad try to pay for a crepe in Paris with a ten dollar bill) with the kids around the dinner table.
If you were to call this a form of denial, you wouldn’t be wrong. Two weeks after coming home, we’re still denying, still holding on. This weekend, in homage to the few days we spent in England on the way home from Paris, we had a fry up — cardiologists and vegetarians, avert your eyes — and kicked off our Sunday with an absurd plate of runny eggs, sausage, bacon, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, baked beans, and toast. Of all the unhealthy things we ate in England — to name a few: rock cake, apple tart, banoffee pie, Cadbury bars, clotted cream, rose and chocolate eclairs, scones, currant scones, cheese scones, lamb shoulder, beef roasts, fish and chips, Victoria sponge cake, summer pudding, maple pecan ice cream, etc etc etc — none was more bald in its unhealthiness, or more satisfying, than the fry-up. It’s one unapologetic, greasy, bursting plate of deliciousness. We’d like to live long enough to see our kids reach their teenage years, so we’re not making a habit of this, but man (blimey?): the Brits know from breakfast. I love this, particularly with the beans. I love vacation, particularly with the kids. Can it be summer again? – Andy
We’re lucky to have friends who live down south and have easy access to serious bacon – Benton’s bacon — two smoky slabs of which arrived in the mail recently, one slab of which (cut nice and thick) went into this fry-up.
Tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, and yellow onions await their drippings.
We’ll spare you the details on how little we like brunch or entertaining in the prime of the day. But if we’re going to do it, this is the way we like it: Nothing fussy, everything tasty.
There’s no real art to this, as far as I can tell, but here’s how I did it: Preheat oven to 350°F. Halve six tomatoes, slice one yellow onion, de-stem a dozen cremini mushrooms, and toss it all into a roasting pan. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Place a cooling rack — the kind you use for cookies — on top of the roasting pan, and place one large coil of sweet sausage (or breakfast sausage if you have it), so that the drippings fall into the pan below as it cooks. Bake for 20 minutes, until sausage is mostly cooked through. Remove pan from the oven, put the sausage down below with the vegetables, place the strips of bacon on top of the cooling rack, and return to the oven. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, allowing the bacon drippings (like I said: best not to think about this too hard) to fall into the pan as it cooks. Remove from oven. In separate pans, warm the baked beans and fry a bunch of eggs, sunny side up. Put everything — except for the beans — on a platter, and top with the eggs. Serve with toast. Buttered toast.