During the Great Depression folks did what they could with what they had to fill their tummies. They wanted something that would “stick to the ribs”. Farmer’s Breakfast (or poor man’s breakfast) was one such meal.
Grandma Pearl made this often and so did my mom. Why? Because it’s inexpensive, easy, and good. When I think of comfort food, this is on the list.
Now, the 1930’s recipe calls for lard. Yup. LARD. I opted for olive oil, but I suppose bacon grease would be great, too.
Chop up potatoes (a medium sized one for each person you’re feeding) and a couple-few onions. (Couple-few is Grandma Pearl speak for 2-4).
When I dug out my potatoes, I found them staring at me. It was a bit disconcerting.
But, in keeping with the “use what you’ve got” spirit, I cut around the eyes and scrubbed my potatoes well before chopping.
Dump them into the fat of your choosing and let them brown up. Salt to taste. Add pepper if you wanna (but I never wanna…I hate pepper). They’re set when the potatoes are fork soft (when you can stick a fork in them).
As you wait, you can go ahead and slice your sausage. You can use any kind, really. Hot dogs, brats, links, patties…it all works fine. If you’re feeling spicy, grab some chorizo. I picked up some smoked sausage (because that’s what my grandma used and it was on sale…bonus!).
Toss the sausage slices in, letting them get a little brown and crispy.
Now for the eggs. Usually I would use an egg or two for every person eating. But I only had three eggs. Whoops. Oh well. I knew it would still work out okay.
Beat your eggs (however many you have and/or choose) in a small bowl with a little milk. Why add milk? Because, during the Depression, milk was added to stretch the eggs a bit. Clever, huh? (all the top cooking sites say not to add milk, by the way…whatevs, you know?)
Now, before you add the egg mixture to your potatoes, onions, and sausage, push all the browning stuff to one side of your pan, leaving an area to scramble your eggs.
Scramble the eggs. When they’re firm, fold them into the other ingredients. Don’t over stir, though. You don’t want to smoosh your eggs.
Voila! You’re ready to eat!
Now, my kids have been asking me to make Farmer’s Breakfast for a few weeks now. It’s been crazy with camp and VBS and the end of school, so I finally had time to make it. How did they like it? 6 out of 6 thumbs up and with bonus fingers and toes up, too. They gobbled it all and were sorry that I’d not made enough for leftovers.
I’d say that was a success.
Oh, and I enjoyed it, too.
In A Cup of Dust (releasing in October!!!!!! EEEEEEEKKKKKKK!) Meemaw (my protagonist’s grandma) makes this dish without sausage (which makes my 10 year old protag a bit disappointed). When you read the book (which I really hope you do), you’ll know exactly what Meemaw’s got cooking.