Being home during quarantine has felt like stepping into a time capsule. Stuck in my childhood bedroom, in the clothes I wore from my early teens (it’s way too hot where I am to wear any clothes from Durham), and re-watching shows like H20 has made me feel as if I have been thrown back into my childhood, and it hasn’t been a bad thing.
This is exacerbated when I find myself eating all my favourite childhood foods, from chicken nuggets to traditional dishes my parents have been cooking. The main way that I’ve been practicing self care is ensuring that I eat breakfast everyday, especially the meals which my mom and grandma would prepare for me growing up.
However, during quarantine, I have been playing around with the simple recipes designed to be made quick before school for a kid with a picky palate. These meals have always got me ready for the day and these upgrades are as fun to make as they are to eat. What better way to start the day than with a bit of nostalgia?
Maple + Cheese (V)
This has been a go-to meal in my family for two generations. First, it was a grilled cheese dish that my mom ate growing up, dipping it into the American version of golden syrup. When she had me, she decided to make a less carb heavy version, switching from normal bread to a tortilla. She always made sure I was eating real maple syrup (it tastes much better). I strongly remember eating this many mornings on the way to school in the car. Now, half a century on from when my grandma was making this, I’ve upgraded it to turning the maple syrup into a crunchy glaze instead of a dip.
- 1 Tortilla
- Real Maple Syrup
- In a non-stick sauce pan, melt a small slab of butter and place the tortilla in, heating on both sides.
- Add cheese and fold in half.
- In the pan, add more butter and maple syrup.
- Flip quesadilla in the mixture until the cheese has melted and a maple crust has begun to form on the outside.
- Eat hot and enjoy.
Note: you almost have to burn it to get this consistency. Play around with temperature levels to reach this point, but always start on low.
Perfect Egg Sandwich (V)
My grandma has always been good at one thing in the kitchen; breakfast. Not only did she start the Maple + Cheese chain, she created the perfect scrambled egg sandwich. This sandwich has such distinct memories of sitting at her breakfast nook and chomping on a plate of perfection, placed on one of the many education placemats she got for me when I was 5 (I now know all of the USA states and their capitals). The only upgrade I made to this one was adding some veggies, seeing as I don’t find them as gross as I did when I was a kid. The truly special thing about this sandwich is getting the bread perfectly toasted.
- Bread (preferably a bap, bagel, or sub, but any works)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Cherry tomatoes
- A little onion (white or red)
- Salt + Pepper
- Cheese of your preference
- In a small bowl, beat eggs with a splash of milk and salt and pepper.
- Grease a pan with butter, and scramble eggs on low.
- In a large pan, heat up bread with butter in it, until it’s toasted nicely.
- Slice the tomatoes, and chop the onion.
- Building the Sandwich:
- While the bread is still hot, add the cheese.
- Then add the egg, followed by onion and tomato
- Top off with a bit of mayo.
Note: If using sliced bread or bagel, a toaster oven is perfect to get the right level of toasted. You want it hot and crispy, but not too burnt.
Photograph by Emerson Muhmoud