Ketchup and eggs

Eggs and ketchup
It’s very difficult to apply ketchup artfully from a packet.

We’re finally back to talking about food.

We’re talking about McDonald’s food?

Yes, I know it’s terrible. Bad for you. Bad for the planet. And generally just not any good. Nonetheless, I have things I like. I genuinely like the original McBomination and I do have it occasionally since I tend to be wide awake at two a.m.

This morning I had a craving for something I honestly don’t care much for, something that satisfies with nostalgia far more than with flavor. I wanted bad eggs and ketchup.

Many of you (so very many) are shuddering and asking why anyone would ruin perfectly good eggs by putting ketchup on them. But that’s the point — these are far from being good eggs.

I learned to love ketchup on eggs from my father. It’s one of my two big food memories of him. I’ll write about open-faced roast beef sandwiches one day.

Dad was in the navy during the Korean war. It was well before I was born, but I do remember how dashing and handsome he looked in his uniform in the one picture we had of him from that time. Oh, and he looked like he was up to no good. I hope I have inherited that from him if nothing else.

Pops spent his time in the navy aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Princeton (CV-37). The Princeton was commissioned in November 1945, too late for WWII. She served with distinction in Korea and later in Vietnam. One of her final missions was to pick up the Apollo 10 astronauts after their 1969 lunar dry run. Sadly, the Princeton was scrapped in 1971.

The Princeton served with honor as did my dad, although his time aboard was not without inglorious incidents. Once, he drove a tug — and nearly himself — off the deck of the carrier due to brake failure. Some 150 feet below, the tug plunged into the ocean, never to pull another fighter plane. My dad, meanwhile, just bounced along the deck a bit.

Along with that story, Dad brought home the point of this story. (It’s ketchup and eggs if you have forgotten in all my reminiscing.) While the Princeton was one of the largest ships in the navy, most of that space was used to store the ship’s engines and diesel, the planes and their fuel, armaments and ammo, and the sailors to make it all go. Oh, and fuel for the sailors, navy food.

The typical space-saving breakfast included powdered eggs. How do they save space with powdered eggs? According to my father, they take out all the (good) flavor. Seeing as a seagull coop for fresh eggs was out of the question, enter ketchup, savior of palatability. Apparently, ketchup on his bad eggs — and a good sense of when to abandon tug — are what helped Pops survive the navy.

As far as I know, I have never had powdered eggs, but I have had the eggs at McDonald’s. Those are really bad eggs. But like Ding Dongs, mac & cheese from the blue box, and red Kool Aid, nostalgia can drive the palate. Those are the rare days I find myself holding a Styrofoam tray and wrestling with a ketchup packet.

I haven’t had ketchup on real eggs since I was around 9. I think I’ll have to try it again. Maybe for Father’s Day.

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The Rorschach Technique