Ray was an early riser. He preferred 5 a.m. to anyone else’s normal hours. He loved making bacon and eggs any day. He had a special way about him. He had his all time favorites. He liked making sandwiches with slices of fat red onions on rye bread, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. He was also known for his adoration of “stinky cheese”. He adored Roquefort cheese and we all ran when he opened the wrapper. It was his special treat and he thought we were babies with no guts to stomach it. There were big blue chunks in the white creamy cheese and he always insisted it tasted much milder than it smelled.
Everybody loves the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning and Raymond in the kitchen always started with a pot of fresh coffee. It was a ceremony. |He was a ceremony. Breakfast always came with his songs. He made sure everybody could hear him. His songs were always funny and he sang while he cooked. He made whole wheat toast, coffee and bacon to go with his basted eggs. Insist the bacon be turned only once. Insist the bacon be not overdone. Insist you leave some bacon grease in the cast iron pan. It should be hot but not so hot as to burn the delicate over easy eggs. They had to be handled with lots of care, cooked slowly and gently, very gently. Three eggs and when they landed in the pan, the flame was already turned down to medium. No excessive heat here, just a gentle fry.
He would tilt the pan and baste his babies by gently ladling a tablespoon of the bacon grease over the tops and watching the yolks change from dark yellow to a lighter and more milky shade. Towards the end, he would splash some water on with his open hand like he was sprinkling stardust a blessing on them. Then he would put a cover on the pan for 5 seconds to create steam to seal in the goodness. Therein was the secret to his famous breakfast. One more special touch was salt and pepper and a touch of ketchup.
Lots of people say ketchup is a crude form of condiment that he learned in the army. I guess the army had powdered eggs that needed all the help they could get. Actually, we loved Ray’s eggs and loved the ketchup on them too. What is better than this country style breakfast? What is better than a wonderful uncle. Raymond wherever you are in heaven, we miss you.