All the following night Charlotte had been unable to sleep. In less than 24 hours one dish had become everything she could think about. Looking back at it now, even Egg herself could not understand why she had been so very fascinated with Eggs Benedict and yet, she had literally lost sleep over the sheer excitement of getting to learn how it was all done. Charlotte had always loved to acquire new knowledge in any way, shape or form, having preferred to remain in her room to read or to pester her fathers about the products they worked with, where they came from, how they were made and why they could be said to have the highest possible quality. She had also always enjoyed cooking with her family, regarding even this carefully choreographed dance of knowledge, experiment and creativity an opportunity to learn something new. To apply this concept onto something now, which had her excited enough to lie awake in her bed and stare at the dark ceiling above her, was yet another event that would irrevocably burn itself into Charlotte’s memory. So even a full decade later, she could still remember the way she had patiently waited for the night to end in order to have her papa explain to her exactly how these mysterious Eggs Benedict were made.
The next morning, after she had finally fallen asleep a mere couple of hours before Barley’s excited puppy-bark laugh woke her again, she almost broke her legs running down the stairs. The sound of their host’s laugh had made her nervous. Had she slept in and missed all the fun? Was breakfast time over and she would have to wait another full day until her papa would make good of his promise to teach her? Once she had arrived on the staircase however, she was pleased to see that her father and his old school friend were sat together laughing, while Louis Eggleton was in the middle of preparing a perfect mis en place for their little cooking adventure. As far as she could see from her vantage point on the stairs, she could spot a couple of bowls and pots standing ready by the stove, while her papa was busy taking fresh eggs, a couple slices of bacon and a bunch of other things out of the fridge. Charlotte could also spot a red light glowing by the oven, showing that it was currently pre-heating. Was baking involved in this process too? Despite her excitement, Charlotte had wasted barely any time actually thinking about what they would be doing today and what methods would be involved in it.
“We can see you up there, you know”, she had been too preoccupied with what Louis was preparing for their cooking session, she had completely forgotten about her other father and Barley sitting on the couch at the other side of the room. Almost falling off the stair’s railing, as she was leaning forward to see more of what was going on in the kitchen, Charlotte had quite literally almost lost her grip on the balustrade as her father’s voice had made her jump: “Careful there!”, he laughed, as she made her way safely down the stairs: “And a wonderful good morning to you – I think your papa has been waiting for you”, he added, throwing a wide and loving smile towards the kitchen, where Louis had switched his attention to the conversation going on in the living room.
“Indeed. But, we do need a little history lesson from you first”, Charlotte thought she would never get tired of hearing the slight french tint to his voice. From the look on his face, Oliver Eggleton felt the same way, as he got up and joined his husband in the kitchen. Together they waited until their daughter had joined them. Charlotte hopped onto the counter – her absolute favorite place to be, when cooking with one or both of her fathers – and looked eagerly towards them.
“As Louis has promised you to teach you how to make Eggs Benedict today, I thought you should know a little bit about their history first. I mean, you know the drill: no cooking, without knowing the background”, he winked. As the active part of cooking had always fallen to his spouse, Oliver Eggleton had soon started to incorporate himself into their cooking adventures by providing relevant background information. And though Louis knew a lot about different dishes too, was even required to know much more than the average person due to his profession, his knowledge was no match for the sheer endless amount of facts and details Oliver was able to retain in his head.
“Eggs Benedict became originally known as an American Brunch food – mostly to cure the handovers of the high society. They usually consist of English Muffins for the base, poached eggs, bacon and a hollandaise sauce, though these items did not use to be served together. In fact, even though there are two different stories as to how the dish originated and who he owns his name to, both stories go quite similarly in terms of how it all started”, here he stopped for emphasis, for even though his actual job description – if he had had one – would have read something like ‘owner of a delicacy store at a farmer’s market’, Oliver Eggleton was a storyteller more than anything else. He lived for telling his customers about the different products they were looking at or tasting; loved sharing his knowledge with them through interesting stories and skillful rhetoric
“Both stories take place in New York City. On the one hand we have the famous Delmonico’s restaurant, where Mr. and Mrs. LeGrande Benedict had allegedly ordered the separate components of the classic dish already in the 1860s. Afterwards the dish – in this version named after the couple – was available of the carte at the restaurant. On the other hand there was Mister Lemuel Benedict, who came to the Waldorf hotel’s cafe one morning and ordered the components to cure his hangover. Here the waiter apparently had the feeling that the ingredients put all together could be a major success and named the resulting dish after his guest. To this day nobody knows, whether the name and the dish originated from one or the other story, or if both actually occured at around about the same time. What is for sure, however, is that the dish is delicious and I wish you two a lot of fun learning how it is done!”
“Thank you! It is high time we started with the muffins anyways”, Louis answered.
“But what do we need muffins for?”, Charlotte wanted to know.
“Dessert”, her papa laughed: “Well, actually, it’s true. Barley wanted something sweet to eat, so we are going to make some sweet muffins too. But mainly, I wanted to make some English Muffins from scratch, so that we can use them as the base for our Eggs Benedict! Come on, wash your hands and let’s go!”