Monday, June 30, 2008

The Briand Special: An introduction to Eats@Home

By Paul Briand
Eats @ Home
Broad Cove Media

My mother is a terrific cook, but the first thing I learned to cook was from my father, who ironically was not a cook. At all.

He was an academic, able to analyze the finer points of James Joyce's "Ulysses". In the kitchen he was, at best, pragmatic. It was the pragmatism that led to his creation of what he called the Briand Special, the first thing I ever learned how to cook.

The Briand Special, as my family well knows, combined a slice of fried bologna and a fried egg between two pieces of a toasted English muffin.

Sounds a lot like an Egg McMuffin, no?

In fact, we in the family like to think that my dad through sheer happenstance sometime in the 1960s invented the Egg McMuffin before
Herb Peterson did it in 1972 as a way for McDonald's to introduce breakfast into its menu known primarily for burgers, shakes and fries.

I've cooked my share of Briand Specials over the years, but with the influence of my mother and other excellent cooks over the years I'm able to hold my own in the kitchen. There's no greater compliment to me while I'm making dinner than to have my wife come up the stairs when she returns from work and say, "Oh, that smells so good."

My intent with Eats@Home is to share some stories and recipes. Folded into those personal stories will be the stories of other contributors, including professional chefs in the seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine. When they're not cooking at their restaurants, I'm wondering what they're cooking at their homes for themselves and their families. I'll let them tell their stories, ask them to share their recipes.

As for the Briand Special:

Slice of bologna (dad used Ocar Myer)
One egg
One English muffin

1) Bring a frying pan to medium heat and add butter to coat;
2) Toast English Muffin;
3) Cook bologna;
4) As bologna browns cook egg over easy;
5) Butter the English Muffin;
6) Add bologna and egg;
7) Garnish with ketchup to taste.

Serves one.

Family lore seems to agree that a Briand Special is not a true Briand Special unless the egg is cooked over easy, yoke in tact. That way, in taking your first big bite, yoke will spill from your sandwich (be careful to have a plate under it). You then sop up the yoke as you eat your sandwich, which creates an interesting looking palette of red ketchup mixing with yellow yoke. A piece of advice: Have lots of napkins on hand.
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