So here I am, getting the band back together so to speak, and I present to you a brand-new post…with no pictures. But you’ll see (or should I say read) why in a moment. By the way, how was the LBI Shellfish Soiree from three years ago? Yes, I’m pretty sick of seeing that post. If you did attend, I hope you had a lovely time and I have no ill will towards you.
Ever get frozen by indecision? Your feet plant themselves and refuse to budge until you figure things out?
It had been some time since I had gone out on a food adventure that didn’t involve a real deadline. But I had my trusty little digital camera with me, ready to gather some new material for a triumphant return to old-school blogging. I parked in front of the almost-missed Cracked Egg Cafe, got out of the car…and that’s when my feet came to a halt.
Do I really want to take pictures?
To this day, I still think it’s a little weird to snap images of a plate of food. That feeling has never completely gone away. But in order to give your 21st Century audience as close to a full experience as possible, you have to document it all with pics (and video, too).
Or so we have been told.
Truth is, you can also do a good job painting the picture with words. Another truth: really bad pictures can ruin even the best writing accompaniment. Truth #3: if you’re not feeling it, regardless of your endeavor, the result will suffer.
I left the camera in the car. And my feet took me inside.
The Cracked Egg Cafe is small, with a counter and about four tables. You can sit at one end of the counter and almost shake the hand of someone sitting at a table on the opposite end. The waitstaff know many of the patrons. You can’t really hide in a place like this.
There’s something very American about sitting at a counter for breakfast, coffee within grasp, while local news on the TV provides background noise. It was a gray Saturday morning of no particular importance, and yet I wanted to be present to it all and not distantly observing from behind a camera.
My breakfast order was for one of the daily special omelettes with cheese and asparagus, along with home fries and toast. And – a side order of scrapple. I watched the cook as he made omelettes that were not in the classic French tri-fold style. They looked like puffy half-moons – the kind I make at home. I got a kick out of that.
The omelette was solid and satisfying. The potatoes and toast played their starchy and carb-y roles, respectively. But it’s the scrapple that I want to discuss. And it might get a little weird for some of you. Are you game? Yes? Cool.
Admittedly, I was late to the scrapple party. My folks didn’t serve it at home when I was growing up. But now that I’ve gotten the news, I really do like the stuff.
The way I look at it, don’t think about what scrapple is – think about what scrapple does. Cooked properly, you get a crispy outside, a soft and slightly creamy middle, and it all tastes like pork. That’s a pretty cool magic trick in my book.
So there I was, enjoying every blessed forkful as if it were dry-aged steak served medium rare. I had reached my place of zen, and nothing else mattered. And in this state of eating, when the senses are present and willing, it all tastes amazing. Scrapple, steak, Spaghetti-Os, whatever – find your eating zen, and everything is delicious.
How does one find their eating zen?
Well, we’re all a bit different, aren’t we? But, as a suggestion, maybe one step we can take in the right direction is to put down our cameras and smartphones every so often and enjoy eating as an experience and not as a photo op.
Will I ever take my camera out again? Sure – I haven’t gone Luddite. My Instagram page won’t feed itself. But snapping images of my plate of food is an option, and one I can opt out of when zen-time beckons.
The Cracked Egg Cafe – 637 S. New York Rd. (aka Route 9), Galloway. 609.241.8784.