"She made me do it" is often the cry in a family when one gets the blame for a suggestion made by another. This time it is true.
Yesterday I wondered what I'd do for "F" and back came suggestions: fireman, fish fingers, fry, fireplace, foam, friends, flowers, fairy, ferry... all possible but none appealing quite so much as the Ulster Fry. A shopping trip was on the cards anyhow and it was no bother to add the varieties of bread and sausages to the list.
Saturday is a good day for a cooked breakfast and it works as lunch as well if you make it late enough in the morning. You'll notice that this one lacks some key ingredients - the black and white puddings (don't like them), potatoes and pancakes (didn't have any) and beans (I find the flavour too dominant with the egg).
Who invented this combination of food? It has to be one of the most tasty meals that you can find.
Fadge (potato bread), Soda Bread and Wheaten provide the "bread" elements. Each one is different both in flavour and in texture. Soft sticky potato bread with crisp Soda and granular Wheaten all work well with the fried tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausage and egg. All I add to this is a little salt. No ketchup or sauce. Nothing else. The food speaks for itself.
In a traditional 'Bed and Breakfast' in Ireland you'll have toast and uncooked wheaten bread on the table as well. But looking at today's plateful I certainly didn't need, or want, anything more! Just a pot of strong coffee. (Actually, I couldn't finish it all and Eliot enjoyed the leftovers.)
This meal is more than the sum of its ingredients. It's also history! We (my two sisters and I) grew up with the Ulster Fry. Before leaving for school it was the starting point of our day - maybe just the bacon, egg and bread with one other element - but it was prepared for us as a good start to the day. We woke to the smell of bacon cooking and knew it was time to get moving.
It's memories of camping holidays too. All over Scotland and Ireland I've cooked an Ulster Fry on a camping stove. That requires careful planning and juggling if you've two rings only. It is hard to beat the smell of bacon frying in the early morning mist beside Loch Lomond or on a beach in Donegal. Memories! Other, less adventurous campers, would sniff in envy at the aroma emerging from our tent.
A fry probably isn't the best food for every day, at least for adults. "Heart Attack on a Plate" may not be far from the truth even if most of it these days is cooked in Olive Oil. Once in a while it is very good; very, very good. Today I'll have more energy to do all the things that I need to do - at least - that's the theory!
God our creator,
you give seed for us to sow and bread for us to eat.
As you have blessed the fruit of our labour in the eucharist,
so we ask you to give all your children their daily bread,
that the world may praise you for your goodness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer