meatless monday: “eggszaronius” and whitney

Been feeling a little nostalgic lately. It may have something to do with my parents both celebrating 60 within the next month, which feels like a big deal. I also turn old late this year, and the thought alone makes my heart panic. The onset of nostalgia may have something to do with Whitney Houston’s death, as her role in my childhood cannot be undermined. There wasn’t a single elementary-school sleepover in my memory that didn’t involve listening to/dancing to/singing along with/performing skits to The Bodyguard soundtrack.  I wasn’t allowed to see the movie, but my dad bought me the cassette tape (yes, cassettes!) and that incredible voice filled our living room while 4-5 of my bestest  friends and I belted out “AYEEEEEEEEE-MMMMMMMMMMMM EV’RY WOAH-MAN” in our pajamas.

So when I heard the news on Saturday about her death, this was the first and only thing I thought of. Sleepovers. Spilled popcorn between couch cushions. A cassette tape and a boombox. Pink sleeping bags crumpled on the carpet. Sweet girls (well, not that sweet) with wild hair and long, adolescent limbs. Howling along to soulful songs way beyond our vocal range. Breakfast.

My dad was responsible for two types of meals in our household: summer barbecues, and Sunday breakfasts. Sunday mornings brought with it stacks of slightly burnt wheat toast, soggy in the middle with butter, Minute Maid orange juice (no pulp, please), sliced apples and bananas, fried, peppery potatoes with ketchup, and a dish the old man calls “Eggszaronius.” I’m not technically sure of the spelling here, and I think it derives from Eggs Erroneous, that egg gravy from “Ernest Goes to Camp” (Dad is a big Jim Varney fan). I like the spelling here with the “s” and “z” together; makes it look like a Ukrainian delicacy. Ukrainian the dish is not, but the beauty of Eggszaronius is it’s basically a compost dish: get your leftovers, add some eggs, cook it. My father would add either chopped up bits of bacon or sausage, leftover proteins (barbecued salmon, chicken breast), or completely random stuff (deli turkey meat, chopped up hot dogs, and one time, Spam. My brother cried). Here’s a meatless version, great for brunch or a simple supper, that’s satisfying and easy and nutrient rich. Substitute any and all veggies for other faves. (I would love to try this with rutabagas or any root veg and rosemary, like a Spanish tortilla). Serve this dish immediately with Sriracha or another favorite hot sauce, preferably on a late Sunday morning, with your dad nearby in his sheepskin mocassins, indulging you and your best friends by turning off NPR and mouthing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” into his spatula while you all skip around. Nostalgia.

illustration via

1-2 pats butter
4 eggs
Splash of milk
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Handful of mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
Chopped herbs (dill, tarragon, or rosemary)
Crushed red pepper to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Sriracha (v. important)

Heat a large skillet with butter, swirling around to evenly coat. Add chopped veggies to skillet and saute for about 5 min. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, parmesan, herbs, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper together. Pour egg mixture over veggies in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are scrambled and everything is mixed nicely, about 5 min. Serve hot.

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