KEYWORDS: grease, eggs, water, coffee, bacon, breakfast

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 15: Trailer Breakfast

David Berg

DFO812-1514 July 1979

1. NOW LET'S MOVE ON TO THE KITCHEN! We shall not have to move very far, because they're often right next to each other or right across the tiny hall space. Most trailer kitchens consist of a two or three-burner table–top gas stove‚ a little tiny sink & a little tiny drainboard. Some have a little more work space, boards that fold out for more work-table space for food prep etc. Others do not—they're too short on space. So you have to get along with whatever space you've got. We found in some of our trailers we could use a little extra work-table set inside temporarily alongside the kitchen to use while meal prepping. This tiny little table could then be set outside or folded up & gotten out of the way afterwards. But a little two or three-burner stove is all you need for the average meal.

2. IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE A VETERAN CAMPER‚ you're going to have to learn how to cook full meals on one or two burners—you don't even need three! Two burners are very convenient. Take, for example, breakfast: I'm an expert breakfast cook, & used to always cook my own. Now, thank God, I have eliminated breakfast from my diet‚ & I save time by just drinking a cup of coffee in the morning! This helps cut down the extra calories & saves lots of time & trouble. Of course, not everybody can get by on just a cup of coffee.

3. I USED TO HAVE BACON & EGGS, OR HAM & EGGS, COFFEE & TOAST EVERY MORNING‚ & I usually cooked it for myself. Our family always used to eat a good breakfast, & my father loved a good breakfast. He only ate two meals a day, so therefore we usually ate only two meals a day.—He said the Lord only fed Elijah bread & flesh in the morning & bread & flesh in the evening—twice a day, so that was enough. So we ate a late big breakfast about 10 or 11 o'clock after we'd already had quite a bit of activities for the day. *(1Kings 17:6)

4. WE'D START OFF THE DAY WITH A GLASS OF ORANGE JUICE &/OR A CUP OF COFFEE, & that staved off our hunger until breakfast. Then we had a big hearty breakfast. Most people, especially children & those who are working hard manually‚ like a husband leaving early for work, &/or the wife with lots of housework, if you're working hard &/or getting lots of exercise & using up lots of energy, you need a good hearty breakfast to start off the day. Mine was usually toast & coffee, scrambled eggs & bacon, or boiled eggs & ham, or whatever.

5. THAT'S ONE TIME WHEN I HAVE TO PRAY A LITTLE EXTRA HARD & cook the meat extra long, if it's pork or pig meat that in its original state was unclean! But I figure by the time it's cured & smoked & brined & cooked & prayed over, it's been pretty well Kosherised & purified & fairly safe to eat!—'Cause there just seems like there's nothing like a nice little crisp slice of bacon with your eggs & toast in the morning, or a little nice piece of thin–sliced ham! I ate that kind of breakfast for years & it didn't kill me, so thank the Lord!

6. BUT NOW I'VE GOTTEN IT DOWN TO JUST A CUP OF COFFEE. Of course‚ it's quite a cup of coffee! I drink the old Swedish-type coffee, with an egg or two in it every morning, lots of milk & honey (very Biblical), yeast & a teaspoon of wheat germ oil to rev up my sex! So, by the time they get done making my nice big generous mug of coffee, it's a pretty good full meal—& it does save time, as I only have to drink it, & I can do that even while I'm working or studying, & I don't have to cook breakfast any more.

7. BUT FOR YOU WHO NEED A GOOD HEARTY breakfast, I recommend whatever you like, whatever appeals to you, & I'll explain to you how I used to cook my breakfast, which was usually bacon & eggs, toast & coffee.

8. LIVING IN A CAMPER‚ TRAILER OR VAN, I USUALLY ONLY HAD TWO BURNERS to work with, so first thing in the morning, as soon as I got back from my BM at the public toilets, I would put on my little Swedish copper teakettle for hot water. It held about three cups of water, & I put about two cups of water in it, put it on one fire‚ & put two eggs in their shells into the water.

9. I'D WASH THE EGGS OFF THOROUGHLY FIRST, of course, with a little bit of clean water under the faucet, & then lowered these two eggs gently to the bottom of the teakettle with a large serving spoon. I'd start with cold water, two cups of cold water in the little teapot, lower my two eggs gently into the pot so it wouldn't crack the shells, put it on the fire & put the lid back on the kettle & forget it for a few minutes—but not more than about five to seven.

10. THEN I'D LIGHT THE OTHER FIRE, PUT ON MY TEFLON SKILLET & THROW IN MY TWO SLICES OF BACON. Then while the bacon & the eggs are cooking, I'd throw a couple of slices of 100% whole wheat toast into the automatic toaster & forget'm while I watch the bacon. As soon as the bacon was nice & wrinkled up & crisp, I would cut off that fire & scoop the bacon out with the spatula, let it drain & drip a moment into the skillet & then lay it on a folded paper towel to absorb any leftover grease.

11. BY THIS TIME THE TOAST HAD POPPED UP so I quickly buttered it while it was hot, & just about that time the kettle would begin to boil! So I would quickly shut off that fire too & quickly scoop out my eggs with the big spoon & put'm briefly under cold water, just a dash of cold water to cool off their surfaces so they would stop cooking, otherwise they keep right on cooking in the shell! Usually they're still pretty hot, so I'd put the eggs into a little bowl & run a little cold water over them in the bowl, then drain off the cold water & set the little bowl of eggs on the table with my freshly hot-buttered toast & crisp bacon & I was ready to go!

12. I ALWAYS LIKED MY EGGS ON TOAST—couldn't stand to eat them any other way. Cooked slowly this way, they'd be very softly deliciously coddled eggsnot boiled eggs. I don't like "soft" boiled eggs, where you put them into boiling water for three minutes & then take them out & the white is cooked hard but the yolk is still runny!

13. I LIKE MY EGGS CODDLED, which means when you cook them that slow way, you cook them thoroughly clear through & through‚ & both the white & the yoke are still soft but thoroughly cooked, & they will come out beautifully when you crack the shells & open'm & roll them out gently onto your slices of toast! They will just look beautiful‚ all cooked clear through but still soft, the most healthful way in the world to cook eggs without grease or butter, & yet not hard-boiled, which is hard to digest, but just absolutely looking beautiful‚ one on each slice of toast!—Makes me hungry to think about it!

14. NOW, SOMETIMES IF I WAS IN A HURRY & I didn't have time for all that, as it's not the fastest way to cook your eggs. I'd start with another procedure. These are, by the way, the most efficient ways to use your heat as well.

15. —OH, WAIT!—I FORGOT TO TELL YOU! After having coddled my eggs in the tea-kettle of water, I would use that very same nice hot water to pour into my cup to make my coffee with instant coffee & powdered milk! Now that same hot boiled water is plenty clean enough to drink, if you have washed off the egg shells in the beginning & used clean water to begin with, so that by the time it is brought to a boil, that water is just about as clean as any water you could drink!

16. SO DON'T WORRY ABOUT USING THE WATER FOR YOUR COFFEE FROM THE WATER YOU BOILED YOUR EGGS IN! Once in awhile your eggs might happen to crack while cooking & let a little bit of egg white into the water, but that's not going to hurt your coffee any. The Swedes have a custom of always putting an egg in their coffee, & I drink eggs in my coffee every morning now, so it's really good that way. So I'd then make my coffee with the hot water that I'd cooked the eggs in, & make it with instant coffee & powdered milk, & this saves a lot of time & wasteful boiling & dripping of extra water for coffee & so on. Some of you coffee addicts have to have your caffeine straight from the bean! So this may not suit you‚ but I found it very convenient. Of course, you can still use that boiled egg-water for drip coffee too, if you want.

17. MY OTHER METHODS OF COOKING THE EGGS WAS QUICK-FRIED, but over easy, almost poached, in my bacon grease on the still–hot skillet with no fire! At first crack I'd put on my water‚ which would then only be used for coffee, put my skillet with two slices of bacon on a medium fire to make them crisp without burning, & my two slices of toast into the toaster.

18. AN ELECTRIC AUTOMATIC TOASTER IS WORTH THE MONEY, because it saves a lot of burned toast & worry & harassment wondering if the toast is ready or not & worrying about it, when with an automatic toaster you don't even have to think about it—it takes care of itself!

19. OF COURSE‚ IF YOU'RE NOT HOOKED UP TO THE POWER LINE, THEN YOU HAVE TO USE A LITTLE GAS TOASTER, this is a little contraption which sits on top of your gas burner & has four sides, & you put a slice of bread on each side & it toasts'm very nicely. But of course it's only automatic by the turning of your hand! You have to turn the slices over by yourself, but it cooks four slices at a time very nicely if you keep your eye on it while you're cooking, & you can make some very good toast that way.

20. I DON'T KNOW WHY THESE LITTLE GAS-BURNER TOASTERS SHOULD BE DIFFICULT TO FIND, but they are little camp toasters which fold up flat, with little sides which lift up & snap into place making a sort of little pyramid with a flat top. Kind of like your little tin Sterno camp-stove, it would fold up into one flat little piece of metal not more than half–an-inch thick & about six inches square, & is a very convenient thing to make your toast on whether you are using a campfire, gas stove or Sterno stove, whatever you use when you haven't electricity.

21. SO BY ALL MEANS TRY TO FIND ONE OF THESE OPEN-FLAME TOASTERS at one of your sporting goods shops or camp stores. You might have a difficult time in Europe because they only seem to have the flat grill kind there. The four-sided folding pyramid type might be an American-patented invention, as in Europe they seem to have a different type of gas toaster, a sort of flat plate with a handle that you put on the gas burner‚ & you can only make one slice of toast at a time, so that's not very efficient or a fuel–saver. You Americans are blessed with some inventions which haven't seemed to come to Europe yet, & the folding pyramid gas toaster seems to be one of them! Anyhow, throw on the toast one way or the other.

22. BY THIS TIME MY BACON WAS COOKING AWAY & NEARLY READY, & by the time it got to where it would be crisp when dry, I scooped it out with my spatula‚ drained it over the skillet for a moment, then placed it on the folded paper towel to absorb the grease.

23. NOW THE SKILLET & THE BACON GREASE WERE STILL SO HOT, I COULD BREAK BOTH MY EGGS INTO THE SKILLET into the bacon grease & turn off the fire & leave them there for a few moments & they would still cook beautifully through & through, without getting hard & crusty & hard to digest! They would cook slowly but thoroughly all the way through. You might have to roll them over gently to get the yolk & the white all cooked, but if you roll them carefully over with your spatula without breaking them‚ they'll cook softly & beautifully, almost like they had been coddled in the teakettle or poached!

24. OH YES, ANOTHER THING I FORGOT TO TELL YOU!: Just before I broke my eggs into the skillet I would pour out the excess grease into a little grease-can leaving just barely enough to cook the eggs in. Always keep a grease-can on your stove to pour excess grease into. During WWII we were compelled to save & trade that grease for butter! We were only allowed to buy a pound of butter if we could replace it with one pound of grease—pound for pound!—Because grease was used for the making of explosives in the war!

25. ANYHOW IT'S ALWAYS HANDY TO HAVE A LITTLE EXCESS GREASE-CAN ON YOUR STOVE to pour excess grease into for whatever you may want to use it for, like greasing piepans, frying, soap or candle-making etc. But you cannot pour the hot grease into the waste basket or garbage can or you're going to have problems! And you certainly can not pour the hot grease down the sink! For God's sake never pour grease down the sink nor even the toilet, because that hot grease then will turn cold & harden & plug up your sink or toilet, & you've got real problems! You'll be using Draino & the plunger & the plumber if you go pouring hot grease down the sink!

26. NEVER POUR YOUR HOT GREASE IN THE SINK OR TOILET! So always keep a little hot grease-can right there on or by the stove to pour your excess hot grease into—any kind of little open tin can—the little old wide-mouthed tin coffee cans are good because they have replaceable lids to store your grease in tightly. Eventually when it's full you can replace the lid & store it indefinitely! You can use old grease or bacon grease to cook things in, deep-fat fry, boil meat in for preservation, or you can use it for making soap‚ candles etc. Don't throw it away!—It burns good too, for fire–making your campfire!

27. BUT DON'T FORGET THAT GREASE-FRYING IS DANGEROUS! Hot grease will burn almost as well as gas or gasoline, & if it catches fire in the skillet, that fire can flame up & catch the cupboards above on fire, & your trailer is soon gone! They recently had a horrible hotel fire in Spain in which 80 persons died in a luxury hotel & 100 were injured, just because they were careless with a hot deep grease pot in which they were deep–frying churros, a kind of Spanish donut, & it caught fire, flamed up, caught the kitchen on fire & the gas tank exploded & the whole hotel went up in flames, including quite a few of the guests!

28. SO WATCH OUT FOR HOT GREASE!—IT'S VERY DANGEROUS! For one thing, don't splash any water into that frying pan or pot of hot grease or it will virtually explode! There's something about the combination of even a few drops of water in hot grease that acts like an explosion! If you ever had that experience, you know what I'm talking about! You were cooking in the skillet that had grease in it, & you accidentally dropped a drop or two of water into it, or maybe the bacon was slightly wet or damp, and it almost exploded when that water or wet bacon hit that hot grease! So watch out for hot grease!—It's very dangerous!

29. COOKING IS A VERY DANGEROUS JOB, SO BE VERY CAUTIOUS HOW YOU COOK!—And while cooking in a trailer‚ be sure that the small children are out of the way & not nearby, because you're cooking in such a small space it can be dangerous for them. Anytime when cooking, don't let little children hang around your skirts & legs right there underneath the stove where something could spill on them! It's very dangerous!

30. I HAD A RELATIVE WHOSE LITTLE BOY WAS ACCIDENTALLY SCALDED TO DEATH! While hanging on to his mother at the kitchen stove he reached up & grabbed a pot handle & dumped scalding water all over himself & was killed! So it can be very dangerous—even grease splattering from the cooking, it often flies & splatters outside of the frying pan & could hit the children on the skin & burn them or in the eye & blind them.

31. IT'S EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO HAVE CHILDREN ANYWHERE IN THE KITCHEN WHEN YOU'RE COOKING! We had a rule with David when he was small: There was a line we drew across the floor at the kitchen door, & he was taught not to cross that line ever! Sometimes he would whine & stand there, but he soon learned he was not to go into the kitchen! That was forbidden territory!

32. WELL, YOUR TRAILER KITCHEN IS RIGHT IN THE SAME ROOM with your beds & your living room & dining room & everything else in the trailer, so the best thing to do with the kids when you're cooking dinner is to send them outside to play. Let Daddy or someone else take care of them for awhile. Or if it's raining & they can't go outside, or there's some other reason they can't, then make them go sit down on the bed or at the table at the other end of the trailer, or maybe make them set the table under the awning or occupy themselves elsewhere, but not near the stove or the fire or the place where you're cooking!

33. ANYHOW, AFTER COOKING THE BACON I would take the bacon out & pour out the excess grease‚ & there would be just enough grease clinging to the surface of the Teflon pan in which to very beautifully cook the eggs & roll them over in, & that way I wouldn't have to eat too much bacon grease either, which is not good for you. So by the time the eggs were done‚ my toast was done & buttered, & my coffee water was hot & I was ready to eat breakfast! That's how to make good full use of your two burners without waste of gas or water!

34. HOWEVER, IN HOT WEATHER IN SUMMER TIME I COULDN'T STAND THE THOUGHT OF A HOT BREAKFAST, NOT EVEN HOT COFFEE! So we always ate cold cereal or a health cereal, a combination of several different things all during the summer. In that small space it's much better not to heat up the trailer in the morning, or it's going to stay hot all day.

35. SO I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT IN THE SUMMERTIME YOU EAT A COLD BREAKFAST cold cereals, cold-sandwich lunches or cold lunches of some kind, & have only one hot meal a day at the end of the day in the cool of the evening. Or you can have it in the middle of the day if you want to, but in the Summertime noon is pretty hot!

36. IN THE WINTERTIME OF COURSE YOU MAY ENJOY WARMING UP THE TRAILER A BIT IN THE MORNING WITH A HOT BREAKFAST, & you certainly enjoy a hot breakfast, in cold weather—I do, & I hope you do too. But in the Summertime a good cold health cereal breakfast with milk will be plenty sufficient, & you won't have to burn up your precious fuel & you won't have to heat up the trailer. It's going to get hot enough in your trailer in the Summer anyway! So eat a cold lunch of health food or sandwiches or whatever. GBY! ILY!