11 February 2009

Bacon sarnie

So, I was surfing the BBC News site this morning. It's a nice way to start the day – the bad news in Great Britain doesn't seem quite as bad as ours. Or maybe it is, but it's a different sort of bad. Anyway, the BBC is enticing. Before I move on to other websites, I've usually read four or five news stories from across the pond.

One that I read today was "In Orwell's Steps," by Paul Mason, BBC2's Newsnight economics editor. Mason decided he would follow the route taken in "The Road to Wigan Pier," written by George Orwell during the Depression in 1936. The book is an account of how the dismal economic times affected the people and countryside of England.

And today? Mason wondered. Roughly 2 million people are now unemployed in Great Britain, a great many of them recently. How is the recession affecting the people living along the route from London to Manchester and Wigan Pier these grim days?
Mason's article is excellent. Do go read. Then come back, because I'm not done yet.

You're back already? OK, we'll move on. At one point in the story, Mason describes stopping to eat a bacon sarnie. Well, the name stopped me. What in the world is a sarnie? So I Googled, naturally.

A bacon sarnie* is a bacon sandwich, I discovered, "sarnie" being British Cockney rhyming slang. I also discovered a recipe, which I devoured with my eyes.

I'd been thinking, vaguely, of having some breakfast. What to have, what to have? A bowl of granola? Maybe some of that brown basmati rice I made a couple of days ago to eat for breakfast, with a banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little soymilk? Egg on wholegrain toast? Lowfat and un-sugary, yes, but none of those sounded very appealing. But after reading that recipe, I had to try a bacon sarnie.

Trouble was, I didn't have any bacon. And even if I had, it wouldn't have been the meaty, British-style "rashers" they love so much. But I did have thin-sliced, packaged lunch ham from the deli section at the grocery store. Might that work? I decided I'd give it a try, got out the fry pan and went to work.

Ohmigod. That has to be the most delicious thing I've had since Christmas. I've been eating very carefully these days, slowly dropping excess poundage and keeping it off, so something as decadent and fattening as a bacon sarnie hasn't passed my lips in, well, just about forever.

Substituting the ham for the bacon worked well, for me. It's still very rich, and when fried until it's starting to brown and crisp, it's delicious. I always have wholegrain bread on hand, and by a strange stroke of serendipity, I even have a bottle of HP "brown" sauce, that British staple, in the fridge. And, because of all the mild, sunny weather we've had around here, The Girls (our five Rhode Island Red hens) have been fooled into thinking Spring is here and have started laying eggs again. So I fried one of those, breaking the yoke on purpose and cooking it until it was soft, not runny, and then put it on the bread with the ham.

The world seems to be righting itself, for now, and the weather is how it ought to be the second week in February – cold and snowy. Having that bacon (OK, ham-and-egg) sarnie really hit the spot. Was it calorific? Yes. Was it probably bad for me in a variety of nasty but subtle ways? Indubitably. But it was worth every single, savory and sensuous bite. Besides, tonight's dinner is spaghetti squash and salad. Look at the recipe I found!

Note: The photo is of the second half of the sarnie I made this morning. I ate it immediately after shooting the photo. There WAS a second photo, for a while, of the snow outside my window. But I didn't like it stuck at the bottom of the post, and Blogger wouldn't let me place it anywhere else without screwing up the text. Sometimes I hate Blogger.

*"bacon sarnie" is also Cockney rhyming slang for "Pakistani." I'm not gonna go there.


Bill Stankus said...

Regarding the BBC article.

Alas, as we tumble, we can neither see the high spots of potential nor the low to which we go.

Regarding eating healthy.
I've wondered for sometime if it really matters that much. Certainly eating poorly does one in - but I'm not certain I want to eat 'right' just so I have a few more years tacked on to my life.

Wren said...

I agree with both your points, Bill. We'll see what happens with the economy. Our world will probably be far different in a few years, even if most of us don't end up living in shacks, following the crops like our grandparents did.

I try hard to eat more mindfully because being too heavy is hard on me in a lot of ways -- the excess weight makes me move clumsily, it stresses my arthritic hips, knees and ankles, and several months ago, I was told I was pre-diabetic and fit neatly into the category of tubby Americans with "metabolic syndrome."

Like you, I don't mind if eating the occasional delicious thing, like the sarnie I had for breakfast today means I lose a few years at the end of my life. But even so, I'd like the quality of my life to be as good as I can make it until it's time to say goodbye. Who wants to spend their last 25-35 years sick, in pain and probably immobile? Not me.

Bill Stankus said...

A small story about bacon and bread. My mother attended a nursing school and she boarded and dined at the school's facilities. She said they were always in a rush - hardly having time for breakfast. She learned to fold a piece of toast with several pieces of bacon inside. Apparently this was a common practice for the nursing students. On their first break, they ate their bacon sandwiches.

When I was a kid - some 20 years after her schooling, on occasion, we had bacon sandwiches for breakfast. I made mine different, I slathered on lots of jam and jellies. I still do that today.

Your letter, is "R".

Wren said...

Love the story. Back when I was eating bacon and burgers and chilidogs and hashbrowns and the like, one of my favorite things about breakfast out was the opportunity to wrap crispy bacon in buttered toast, then use it to mop up leftover egg yolk. Yum!

The sarnie I made this morning reminded me of that, but even better.

Thanks for the letter. I'll start noodling.

Larry Jones said...

Sandwich looks and sounds delicious. Must try to get one somehow.

The eating right thing -- I do it because it makes me feel better. Also, I'm hoping, as you are, Wren, that it doesn't add on a decade of miserable years to the end of my life, but rather allows me to enjoy all my time right up to the last.

Of course, one must eat right only in moderation.

Dazy said...

This is something new to me. I'm trying this tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

goonerjamie said...

As someone from the East End of London, I loved your piece on our bacon sarnie. Only one correction, it's cheese sarnie that is the dodgy use for pakistani. My (half asian) brother in law calls hhimself the big cheese, go figure.

meadowlark said...

Great little piece on the bacon sarnie, such a fantastic breakfast... especially when hungover! Moments like these I'm proud to be British, and so is any Brit when they crack out a bacon sarnie...