The Celluloid Pantry: One Egg Dish, Three Movies: Moonstruck (1987), Moon Over Miami (1941), and V for Vendetta (2005)

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Question: What do an 80s romantic comedy starring Cher, a 40s musical chock full of Betty Grable song and dance numbers, and a recent futuristic film based on a darkly subversive graphic novel have in common?
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Answer: Gas House Eggs.

This breakfast classic, which consists of an egg fried within a crispy ring of bread, goes by many names: guest house eggs, bird in a nest, egg in a basket, Egyptian eggs, and one-eyed jacks, to list just a few.

The camera seems to love this dish. In each of these three films, we get a lingering closeup of the eggs while they're still crackling in the pan'and in one notable case, we even get a mini cooking lesson:

Moonstruck (1987) (top, center). Loretta Castorini's (Cher) mother, Rose (Olympia Dukakis) lovingly prepares this dish for breakfast, but instead of eating, the two women end up bickering at the table. (Rose also fries up some preserved roasted red peppers on the side, and serves them on top of Loretta's egg.)

Moon Over Miami (1941) (top, right). Kay Latimer (Betty Grable), a carhop from Texas, poses as a socialite and heads down to Miami, looking to snag a rich husband. Upon the announcement of her engagement to his son, Willie Boulton (George Lessey), still dressed in a tuxedo, offers to cook some gas house eggs. Kay's never heard of them. 'Well, your education has been sadly neglected young lady,' he says gamely, and demonstrates how they're made, step by step. (He uses lots of butter and tears a hole in the bread with his fingers.)

V for Vendetta (2005) (top, left). A bewildered Evey (Natalie Portman) wakes up in the hideout of her masked captor, V (Hugo Weaving) to find him bent over the stove in a flowered apron cooking 'eggy in the basket.' (Like a true showman, V flips the eggy over in the pan with a deft flick of his wrist.)

Gas House Eggs
(serves one)

1 slice bread
1 egg
butter or cooking oil

Heat some butter or oil in a skillet. Cut a hole (about 2 ' inches in diameter) from the center of a slice of bread (the edge of a small glass works nicely) and place the bread in the pan. (The circular bit that's been removed may be fried alongside it'or if you're like us, eaten while you're cooking.) Brown both sides lightly. Next, crack an egg into the center of the hole in the bread (some people like to break the yolk at this point) and cook to desired doneness, flipping once.

Originally posted March 6, 2007

- Nora

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Breakfast, The Celluloid Pantry, Vegetarian

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.

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