It is the simplest of dishes; soft boiled eggs broken over chunks of bread, and then a judicious amount of salt and black pepper thrown on top. As a meal, it’s hardly notable. If I were Pete Wells, I’d dismiss it out of hand as being…oh I don’t know…common?
But I am a Pittsburgher, and dippy eggs are part of the culture, and played a part in my education whilst I was a youngun’. Whether it was disputing that they were soft boiled eggs or fried eggs served over easy, or if they should be served over bread that had been toasted or not, it was the first “dish” that made those of us who were paying attention realize that food could be vastly different even when the ingredients were the same.
Dippy eggs are but one of only a handful of foods that can transport me back to when I was a child. Sure, candy and boxed cereals remind me of my youth, but dippy eggs, as well as strawberry shortcake and beef stroganoff, were foods that I remember being made for me, as far back as pre-kindergarten. How many foods can make that claim in anyone’s life?
I have spoken of dippy eggs to very few people in my life once I became an adult. My thinking was that if you lived outside of Western Pennsylvania, well you simply wouldn’t understand. Eggs and bread! With the tasty yolk? What’s not to love? But it was it’s name that would turn people off I believed.
But when I offhandedly mentioned the dish to Tara one day, she was instantly intrigued. “When are you going to make this?”, she asked me from time to time. I would pretend not to hear, thinking to myself “No. You wouldn’t get it.”
But this weekend I broke down, and made plans for the great unveiling. Dippy Eggs were to be served with Scones and a cup of coffee. The only change to the recipe I made was I used a batard for the bread instead of Wonder Bread. Even for a recipe that reminded me of my youth I could not be convinced to buy cheap, sliced white bread.
The results? Anyone who was not from Western Pennsylvania was less than impressed. It is, after all, only eggs over bread.
But as I ate my dippy eggs, a small smile came to my lips. Yes, it is only eggs over bread, but what it represents made it that much more delicious.