Scotch Eggs for breakfast

Scotch Eggs

Ing:

1 lb breakfast sausage

4 eggs

1/2 cup of oats

1 Tbsp. Sugar

Several  Dashes of Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice

Some flour

Another egg cracked and whisked.

Another 1/2 cup of oats

Place the four eggs in water and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat, but leave the eggs in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. In the meantime, add the oats to the sausage and mix well in a bowl. Divide into four uniform sections. In another bowl prepare another 1/2 cup of oats with the sugar and cinnamon.

When the eggs are ready, submerge the eggs in ice water, then peel and rinse under cold water. Roll the eggs lightly in flour.

Flatten out the sausage portions and wrap this around the eggs until covered completely. Roll this in the whisked egg and roll in the prepared oats. Place on a baking sheet and cook in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

When removing the eggs let cool for a few minutes as they will be hot. I served the kids half a Scotch Egg each. This recipe is heavily tweaked from the original which didn’t have the “sweet” element to it. Very labor intensive, but yummy none the less!

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Dang it, Ray…

One summer when I was fourteen I picked up a book out of boredom. I remember because it was a book I had seen on my parents bookshelf literally for as long as I could remember. Because of this I had chalked it up as some sort of spiritually edifying text book and never paid it much mind.. But on this day I picked it up, glanced through the yellowed pages, scanned the back… well… it’s got aliens in it and there’s not much else to do.

This book was called “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury.

I consumed it. Then I went to the library and systematically found every other scrap of written word bearing this man’s name that I could get my hands on. Over the next several years his books topped my list of must reads. In high school I read ‘Dandelion Wine’, I was swept away into this town and its inhabitants. “The October Country” really got my attention. Ray showed me that sadness is necessary for happiness to have any meaning, that love can be found and lost, and found again… That true horror lies not with monsters and night terrors but within the human heart. Beauty and Shadows lurked in his mind and he gifted them to us, his readers.

‘Fahrenheit 451’ entered my world as required reading in my high school English class. While my friends moaned with chagrin at required reading, I welcomed the assignment. This would be easy, I said. It’s Ray Bradbury. My eyes opened to the possibility, no the inevitability that everything would not turn out okay. That story telling might someday not only die out but be snuffed out under the heel of oppression.

Today I have heard about his death. He lived well to the age of 91. But for some reason the news of his death makes me want to run into the nearest grassy meadow and scream. I want to scream until I can’t scream any more. I want to shake the trees until the leaves fall off. I want to shake the skies until the stars fall out. I want to read everything he has ever written, again. I want to throw a tantrum like my children do when the toothpaste is crooked. I. Want. To. Scream.

I don’t normally respond to the death of celebrities in such a way. But writers are different. The institution of story telling is as old as time itself. As long as there are two people living there will be stories told. Histories repeated, fantasies weaved. Once upon a time and sometimes now I have weaved those stories myself. For a while I joined a writers group to gain inspiration and accountability. I had myself on a rhythm, one short story a month. And I had a pretty good clip going. Until the day I logged onto my computer for the very purpose of printing out my collection of stories, and the darn thing blue screened. We sent the computer to every tech savvy friend and specialist within a twenty mile radius, but my stories were lost.

I haven’t written much since then. It broke me in a way. I had some really good stories there that I had been really proud of. Gone.

Just recently I had started back again, working on a little bit here and there. Then today I hear about Ray Bradbury. Apparently he wrote ‘Fahrenheit 451’ at a rented type writer at his local library for 10 cents a half an hour. Yeah, I have nothing to complain about. I am heart broken and inspired today.

So… dang it Ray. Here’s to you.

The Eggs

This morning I am enjoying what I have always considered to be a rather grown up breakfast. Eggs over easy, whole wheat toast with jelly, and a cup of coffee. When I was a child I always pictured grown ups eating eggs for breakfast, and always some variation of the fried egg. Now that I am an adult I think I have deconstructed the reasoning behind this image.

Cereal is the breakfast of convenience. It involves no cooking and a minimal amount of assembling. Step One: Find bowl. Step two: Pour cereal. Step Three: Pour milk. Done and done. A technique beloved by cartoon watching children and hungover college students alike. Scrambled eggs is a step up from cereal, in that it does involve turning on the stove. The actual scrambling of the eggs makes this an easy prep meal. Crack eggs, move eggs around with spatula. Done. Now when one enters into the world of friend eggs things begin to get a little bit more complicated.

Fried eggs maintain an element of sophistication due to having to be careful not to break the yolk. Then when I first became aware that there was such a thing as Diner Slang, I suddenly had the notion that i had stumbled upon some bizarre grown up code of complexity. Up until that point I just thought a fried egg is a fried egg. It’s white around the edges with a yellow circle in the middle. Right? Apparently not. The fried egg can be sunny side up, over easy, over hard, over medium. In addition a myriad of fancy phrases to describe the presentation of the eggs: Adam and Eve on a raft, Deadeye, Pope Benedict, Flop Two, Killed. And so on. This is when we start to veer into the world of poached eggs, eggs Benedict and such complex preparatory fare.

I think what led me to believe that fried eggs were “grown up food” is that in my childhood mind, adults got up early. That is to say they awoke before the children did with an endless supply of energy and ambition for the day ahead. This meant that they could cook something of they wanted to, and since I knew relatively little about cooking.. the two step process of fried eggs, the delicacy involved to avoid breaking the yolks, and the complexity of timing the doneness of the egg with the readiness of the toast, painted a picture in my minds eye of myself as an adult lounging on a fancy couch, wearing a satin robe and those little slippers with the feathers accross the top, dining upon the very breakfast described above. Eggs over easy, whole wheat toast with jelly and a cup of coffee.

This morning as I sipped my beverage, I recalled this image. Of course in today’s reality, my couch is not fancy, my robe is poly-cotton or some-such, and those little feathery slippers are horribly uncomfortable and I do not own any by choice. But at least, the breakfast fits the bill. Image

The Trial

Last week I took part in a long standing American tradition which some would say is the very bedrock of our society. I was a juror. A few months ago I received the summons, and oddly enough whenever I told people about it I was met with eye rolls, scoffs, and piteous looks. We say that America is the greatest country in the world, but when it comes right down to it….

At the orientation we were given a pamphlet and some verbal instructions on how to conduct ourselves during  the process. We call the hotline phone number every weeknight to see if we are to report the next day, and if so we are instructed where to go.  As we neared the first of the month well meaning friends gave me advice on what to wear, how to hold my face, or what body language to utilize to “get out of it”.

The day of selection came. We were all herded into a courtroom and sat down facing the bench. A well dressed group of people faced us, standing as we walked into the room. Here we were, a slice of America, dressed in work clothes, scrubs, jeans, casual office wear facing a group of eight lawyers, pressed and dressed in courtroom finery, a defendant, and a plaintiff. The selection process took all day (luckily I had brought a book). We had the appropriate amount of breaks, and then at the end of the day they called the final fourteen jurors. I made the cut.

The next day we reported to the courtroom and were immediately whisked away by the bailiff into the jury room where we made ourselves as comfortable as possible in the sparse room which held a long conference table and a pot of coffee. Once we had all reported we were herded back into the courtroom, sent in by the bailiff in an assigned order. We sat down. The judge, a tiny lady with a no nonsense voice, called us by juror number to make sure we were all accounted for.  The first plaintiff’s lawyer called a witness, and just like that court was in session.

We were given a small notebook and pencils to take notes during the trial. Glancing down the line I saw intense faces, quick scurries of notes and then listening again. We knew that what we were doing was important. Not particularly interesting or glamorous, but important. The people sitting in the courtroom had waited a long time for their day in court, and we the jury, were the sole decision makers for the outcome.

We had breaks to stretch our legs, and an hour for lunch around noon. Each time we left and court was in recess the judge gave us specific instructions not to discuss the events of the trial with each other or with anyone else, not to engage in social media of any kind regarding the trial, and to avoid media which may discuss the events of the trial. All of this I can understand. At first I thought “My husband won’t tell anyone. Surely, I can tell him,” But then I thought about it and I realized that as a juror my job is to remain completely unbiased to the evidence that we are given. If I told him what the case was about and he made any comment “Oh, you know how fill in the blanks are about their you know what’s,” then my juror-ness will have been compromised.

The judge did not just off handedly remind us not to talk to others about the trial, she admonished us every. Single. Time. Her words were the same, which belied the fact that this was part of her job to constantly remind us of the importance of this step. Our job was simple. Listen to everything and keep your mouth shut.

By day two we were all getting a little bit comfortable with each other. We would share tidbits about ourselves, exchanging pleasantries about our jobs and daily lives. During one of these breaks when we were all sitting in the jury room waiting for our summons, one of the jurors started to talk about the lawyers personality. Very discretely the other jurors veered the conversation away from that topic as it was in fact quite taboo. This gentleman surely should have known better, but apparently he did not.

He was an older man with silver gray hair and a kind face. In my Internal Back Story that I sometimes write for people that I don’t know very well, I had him as a Deacon in a Baptist church. There had been times when he had expressed his frustration with not understanding the jury process. He had said “Telling us not to form an opinion is like telling us not to think!”  His comment about the lawyers was brought to the attention of the bailiff and the judge. We were then individually brought into the courtroom, sworn in and questioned by the judge and the lawyers until everyone was comfortable that the integrity of the trial was still intact.

That was that.

Until the next day.

One of the other ladies and I were in the elevator going down to the break room, and we both expressed that we were glad the judge did that as we were a little uncomfortable with the comments that had been made. We arrived in the break room followed shortly after by the Deacon and some of the other jurors. We all chatted over lunch, filler conversation really. At one point we were all talking about our favorite fast food offerings, the Wendy’s Oatmeal bar and MdDonald’s Shamrock Shake made the list. And then…

The Deacon did it again. Only this time he mentioned the other lawyer, and how he seems like a really nice guy. Now he is clearly showing a bias. Dang.

After the lunch break we all frittered around in the jury room twiddling our thumbs. Several of the people expressed their displeasure with having nothing to do (again, I had brought a book). One man said he would rather be digging a ditch than sitting on a jury… and he hated digging ditches. Some people tried to  stay positive and expressed how much they had learned about the justice system and what is involved in the trial.  About an hour later the bailiff stuck his head in. We had all become familiar with him and were relieved that he was coming to gather us to the courtroom.

But in fact he only called one. The lady who had been my companion in the breakroom. A short time later, the bailiff returns for the next juror, another one who was in the breakroom with us. The third time he returned he opened the door wide, says “You guys get a personal visit,”

In walks the judge.

After we gather up our collective jaws, she informs us that she has had to declare a mistrial. Even the small comments made by Juror Deacon compromised us, she explained. That is why she reminded us each and every time we recessed. Jury misconduct, is what she called it. She said in all of her years as a judge this was her first mistrial.

Our job had been to listen. That was it. Nearly everyone understood this, and understood that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.  We all had a purpose to fulfill and we knew that we did not have the whole story. We did not need to understand why. One person’s need to know with certainty caused the whole system to come to a clashing grinding halt.

The plaintif and defendent had waited twelve years for their day in court. The judge said they may have to wait another several months or up to over a year to retry the case.

We don’t always have to know everything. Sometimes we just need fulfill our purpose for that which is greater than ourselves. Even if we don’t understand it.

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