Ages ago, food writer M. F. K. Fisher wrote a book called Among Friends. Two things made the memoir dear to me: (1) she talks about living in Whittier, California before WWI among my beloved Quakers, and (2) she introduced me to a fried egg sandwich. I made a Mindful Grilled Cheese and Egg sandwich today and thought about why we do things sequentially and, when writing and cooking, we do them mindfully.
After the distractions of returning from Colorado, a friend in the hospital, friends in town for a high school reunion and jury duty, I’ve returned to working on the short story/novella Jack Fell Down. While in Colorado, I sketched out a timeline for the story which led to listing the scenes and discovering who abducted Jack and why. As I entered each scene title in its time slot, I’d write notes that’s helping immensely now as I immerse myself again in the story. The timeline also showed me why the story needed to go from Day One night to a long Day Two and finish in an almost epilogue fashion on Day Three morning.
A Mindful Grilled Cheese and Egg sandwich follows the same method but quicker and with more panache on my part. I take one slice of Trader Joe’s Sprouted flourless whole-wheat berry bread, and butter liberally on one side with organic extra virgin coconut oil. On the unbuttered side, I place basil leaves from my garden and top with a slice of cheese. (I like extra sharp cheddar but used Swiss today. Raw cheese is fabulous.) Broil or toast or bake in oven.
While that’s sitting on its parchment paper, cheese melting, I crack an egg in hot coconut oil and break the yolk. I sprinkle some South African smoke seasoning and fresh cilantro leaves on the translucent egg. Turn when ready. Onto the melted, bubbling cheese, I add the egg, thinly sliced cucumber from the pastor’s garden, green zebra tomato slices from my garden, and a roasted tomato slice with thyme from a friend. I then slice the stack in half to create an easier-to-handle sandwich. Open face may do as well.
For an accompanying salad, I top arugula with diced apricot and Peter Honey figs from my garden, crushed pecans, French tarragon leaves also from my garden, and lemon olive oil.
A timeline should help a story fall in place just as easily and deliciously. That’s what I’m hoping.