It has been almost 24 years since my father passed away. He was 58 years old, just in his prime really. Soon I will face an unwelcome milestone of having lived on this earth as many years without him as I did with him. During the first few years immediately following his passing, there were many times when I sensed his presence with me–a whiff of his cologne, a glance at a gentleman’s hands that looked just like Dad’s, his laughter in my head. Those “encounters” faded with time, leaving me with just memories. But there are many.
I often play a game with myself in which I imagine that Dad will return to this earth for just one day. “What would we talk about?” I ask myself. “What would we do together during those precious 24 hours?”
There is the obvious, of course. I would introduce him to his grandchildren. They have never met him, but I am convinced that they know him and he them. There would also be a mandatory primer on computers and digital technology. After all, when Dad left us, there was no computer in the house, our phone was tethered to the kitchen wall by a long cord, and we listened to our favorite tunes on cassette tape.
What I’d really like to do on that special day is invite Dad to breakfast. After all, it was his Sunday morning specials that inspired my lifelong affinity for the first meal of the day. A salesman, Dad logged many hours on the road, his bulky home improvements samples jostling in the trunk of his car. Most nights we ate dinner without him, as he often came home late.
So Sunday was Dad’s day to get creative in the kitchen, and he started early. I treasure my memories of waking to the smell of eggs and bacon sizzling in the frying pan, while fresh bagels crisped in the toaster, awaiting a healthy slathering of nova lox and cream cheese. Nothing fancy, but it sure tasted good.
There was love in those Sunday creations–Dad’s way of saying “I missed you. How was your week?” If we had just one more day together, I’d start the day off in just the same way.
Here is my spin on one of Dad’s old favorites:
Salami and Eggs:
Scrambling up some fried salami with eggs, onion, peppers, what have you, is fairly common in most Jewish kitchens and delicatessens. Noted cookbook author and chef Joan Nathan refers to this as a “Jerusalem Omelet” and recommends the
egg dish for any meal of the day, especially during the long week of Passover, when a meaty omelet just might make up for the holiday’s moratorium on bread. For this recipe, I fancied it up a bit with the “Norcino Salame” from Olli Salumeria, but any old deli salami will do. Also, I prefer to make these eggs pancake style, flat and crepe-like, but if fluffier omelets are more your style, by all means!
1 T butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 medium onion, diced
About 1 oz. salami, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat a frying pan over low-medium heat and melt the butter. Immediately add onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until translucent. Add salami and continue cooking until it is fragrant and the color begins to darken. In the meantime, season the eggs in a separate bowl with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the onion and salami mix and tilt the pan in order to spread the mixture out completely over its surface. Lower heat slightly and cover the pan to allow the top of the mixture to cook–approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and carefully flip the omelet over to finish cooking. When the “pancake” is lightly browned and all of the egg is completely cooked, slide it on to a plate and serve with buttered rye toast!