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.
Oh, I hear you. While I don’t have children, September meant the return back to grad school. That, coupled with a full time job and food blog, means sleep is already becoming a luxury. Side note: I’m also a dietitian, and I say this with nothing but respect for the profession: bring on the bacon.
Oh love this type of breakfast…my daughter doesn’t go to school yet so have yet to feel the end of summer blues, but I do know the melancholy felt at the end of a nice vacation. And bacon definitely does cheer me up 🙂
That’s not a real British breakfast – there’s no black pudding (that revolting black stuff made from cooked pigs’ blood) and fried bread. I mean there’s not just enough fried stuff on your plate to count as a British breakfast. Roasted tomatoes….what kind of man are you? Love the look of that bacon!
I need me a fry-up! RIGHT NOW.
Love your writing! I feel your pain about the end of a vacation. And I see this fry up in my husband’s and my very near future…. can’t wait to be mopping is all up with toast. Buttered toast. 🙂 I will these posts had ‘like’ buttons, I would have liked all the above.
My husband is English and this is his favorite thing. If you were to do it the real English way, you would fry your bacon and then fry everything else in the fat, including the bread (and then put butter on it)
I don’t think the gnawing sense of dread at the end of summer every really leaves-I don’t have children yet, so I can only imagine what back t0 school with kids feels like, but my parents were teachers and seriously warped my post-Labor Day outlook with their decades of stress. I love this meal and when you say, “‘best not to think about this too hard”, I think of how I need to tell myself the same thing as I put multiple sticks of butter into a bowl to make my nana’s birthday cake.
I have the same pink knife! Hopefully you have the various other colorful ones as well! FUN stuff. As for the fry up- yes please! My kids (3 and 18 months) actually cheer when I say we are having bacon for any meal.
this looks awesome! school lunches (3) push me over the edge and when i can’t bear to pack another one i just pick the kids up early and take them out for sushi. they find this thrilling!
Ahh, Benton’s bacon. I bet your home still smells like the inside of a smokehouse.
Oh I hear you! I can relate to that first paragraph – but instead of France switch out Big Sky, Montana. Yes, a much different feel – but I can’t get over the relaxed cowboy pace I was enjoying so much. Now it’s back to driving around like a maniac in my SUV while attempting to hold down a career and raise my son….I’m still not over school starting, and it’s been 3 weeks.
As far as your fry up goes – bring it on. I really rarely eat this stuff, but maybe it’s what I need to help sink back into reality.