I admit that I am a breakfast sandwich snob. A connoisseur of sorts. I have searched far and wide through many a freezer section for a microwave-friendly quick sandwich treat... with disastrous results. I have not found a single edible sandwich... and there is an incredibly small list of foods that I will not eat.
Part of the problem is this. In the time that it takes you to microwave one of those hideous concoctions, I can toast bread, fry an egg, and clean up any mess that I made. A basic egg on toast is somewhere near thirty-thousand times better than those gummy, hot on the outside, frozen on the inside monstrosities. (Yes, these numbers are based on incredibly complex calculations that I just made up.)
What this post is actually about is the very questionable act of shopping at a small convenience store while hungry. And I don't mean "a small bag of chips will satisfy me" kind of hungry. I mean the "holy crap, I've been awake for about 5 hours and still have not eaten a single bite of solid food" kind of hungry.
There is a little country convenience store less than two tenths of a mile from my house. This place is fantastic... for what it is. This is not a farmer's market. In fact, the only "fresh" items it has are the occasional small tubs of local seafood (clams, wrinkles, etc.) The #1 reason I go to this store is on the oft-encountered occasion where I have made a pot of coffee and realize that I have somewhere between 1 and 2 teaspoons of milk or half-and-half left in the refrigerator.
It is also fantastic as it contains a single wall full of the most eclectic and useless pantry items I have ever seen. Yes, there may be a single can of tuna, but it is sitting next to several tins of kippered herring. Yes, there are canned tomatoes... however, they are not whole, diced or sauced. They are "stewed and sliced" tomatoes. In a can. W.T.F.
This morning, I ran into my classic conundrum. After my first cup of coffee, I was out of any usable dairy products. I was also starving. (You see where this is going... right?)
As I walked into the store, I was graced by a beautiful vision. There, on the bread shelf just inside the door, was a single package of Thomas' english muffins. My brain immediately started screaming, "Holy shit! I have eggs in the fridge at home! I can make a breakfast sandwich!". I then walked by the wall of ridiculous pantry items (I think I may need to start calling this the "WORPI" as I am certain it will appear more than once in this blog) on my way to the dairy cooler. I giggled a little bit at the herring and tomatoes and continued on my way.
At this point my stomach was grumbling lightly in anticipation of a fried egg sandwich. Next to the milk in the dairy case was a block of generic extra sharp cheddar. ('YOINK!) In this same cooler, on the shelf under the local seafood items were the random assorted meats. These included the standard package of hot dogs and the not-so-standard kielbasa-sized pepperoni. Unfortunately, in my hunger-weakened state, these ridiculously processed meat-foods made me think of the most perfect of breakfast meats... bacon. This country store, to my knowledge, never carries bacon. (Either that, or you have to line up at 5am when they open in hopes of snagging the single package they stock each day.) Now, I usually don't need to be hungry to be reminded of bacon. I've found myself thinking of bacon while eating a bowl of cocoa puffs. The problem here is that my hunger then overwhelmed my not-inconsiderable reasoning skills and took me by the hand. You know where it led me.
Right there, on the top shelf, was a single small tin of deviled ham.
While I'm fairly certain that my mother used deviled ham in one or more recipes while I was growing up, I have never in my adult life ever considered buying it.
I then came to my senses (well... kinda... I didn't put the can of deviled ham back) and ran to the counter to purchase my items and get myself out of there.
Upon opening this little can of meat (yup, the first ingredient was ham. Thank GOD), I was admittedly ashamed... and even a little bit scared. The contents of this little can looked exactly like you might expect...
Yup... wet cat food.
Yet, I was undaunted. My first thought was to scoop out a small patty-sized amount and fry the ever-living bejeezus out of it, in the hopes of creating something that resembled the sausage patties that McDonald's uses on their Egg McMuffins. (Yes, I still eat Egg McMuffins. They are like crack for me. I am not ashamed.) However, the deviled ham is too moist. It simply refused to hold together like a mashed potato pancake as I had hoped. (Next time I may add some breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture and help form a crust). This was disappointing, but not insurmountable. I instead spread it out into a thin layer in the pan and proceeded to crisp it up. Once it reached what I considered to be an edible color I laid some sliced cheddar cheese on my toasted english muffin and topped it with the hot fried ham.
At this point, my hunger-fueled brain reacted appropriately, screaming "Holy Shit! That actually looks and smells fucking tasty!" (My brain has a seriously foul mouth when I'm hungry... Okay okay okay... my brain has a seriously foul mouth. Period.)
At this point, all that was left was to quickly fry an egg and swipe a small amount of mayonnaise on the remaining side of the english muffin.
It turns out, deviled ham is pretty delicious... when you're starving.