Sometimes it’s really amazing to see what makes people tick. With zillions of food blogs, sites dedicated to food, cooking and entertaining, gorgeous cookbooks and TV shows, you’d think one would be in a constant state of epicurean exploration, looking for something unimaginably tasty, elaborate and exquisite, infinitely variable and pleasing to the eye… At least I thought that’s what I was to do when I started this blog. The irony! What a twist of fate, the mild cold I got sometime in February had a dead grip on me for almost two months, and gave me the ultimate punishment, the royal torture of the glutton — loss of smell. And with the smell, my appetite for cooking went away for a few weeks. Everything tasted and smelled the same, every meal downgraded to basic four tastes. My family had to endure a few weeks of very mediocre cookery, to say the least. We’ve been going out more than usual to make up for my temporary handicap.
Fortunately the cold-from-hell started easing up, and my sense of smell came back one sunny afternoon. I made some lentil soup with sausage, since I thought it would be one of the dishes that are impossible to ruin when you can’t smell or taste. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it had flavor! Imagine my joy. I immediately (well, after finishing a bowl or two of the aforementioned soup) started picturing all the wonderful stuff I am going to cook (once my work duties ease off a bit, of course). All that lavish imagery in my head, all the possibilities… and here I am today — having severe craving for home fried potato with eggs — the most primitive comfort food you can imagine. And you know what? For a person celebrating a happy comeback from a no-smell-landia, it turned out to be a real feast.
You start with salt pork. Yeah, yeah, you can use bacon, but bacon tends to overpower more subtle flavors, especially if smoked. Alright, you can skip the salt pork and use butter or oil instead, whatever pleases you. But I am telling you, you start with salt pork. A few reasonably thin slices of it. You render fat, and then you fry your potatoes with onions in that fat, and you cook them until they are almost done, at which point you salt and pepper them and add whisked eggs, quickly stir and turn off the heat. Cover for a few minutes to finish off cooking with steam. Add your favorite herb, fresh dill or parsley, or cilantro. The key is, fresh herbs are a must.
And then you pile that up on a plate with some fresh salad or just a tomato slice, and have some crusty bread with butter, and you are in hog’s heaven.
Here’s to the happy comeback!