We are long past the point in the pandemic where cooking is no longer an enjoyable activity, but something we have to do— a chore rather than pleasure. Soylent still exists as an option for feeding oneself, but that isn’t quite the “hack” that I desire: I want the meal I eat to taste reasonably good, but be easy to prepare, with minimal cleaning at the end. These requirements led me to the New York Times, where, against my better judgment, I clicked on a recipe from Geneveive Ko (a woman whose work I like and respect), and found a preparation for breakfast that seems to pretend like there is no stove in the house, just an oven.
The recipe for “crispy oven bacon and eggs” calls for the bacon and the eggs to be cooked directly on a sheet pan in the oven, and not on the stove, as is normal. This appeals to me, a lazy home cook without a dishwasher who is now so sick of cooking and then cleaning that she would rather eat clumps of cat hair than make anything more demanding than leftovers. But upon closer inspection, this “recipe”, which is really just a juiced-up version of a “hack” of the like seen on Buzzfeed’s various food verticals, seems like more trouble than it’s worth?
The recipe is simple: Cook the bacon for a little, then crack the eggs directly on the sheet pan, slide the whole thing back in, and then take it out when the eggs are done. Though I don’t doubt that this recipe actually works and that the food produced is edible, I have issues with the sheet pan situation, which, again, is probably a time-saving hack for some, but makes absolutely no sense to me.
Bacon cooked in the oven is fine, because bacon cooked on the stovetop spatters and can be a pain in the dick to clean. Microwaved bacon, of the sort my mother was inordinately fond of, gets limp and floppy, unless you place it on one of those little trays that holds the fat. I have no issue with the bacon here, but cracking an egg—nay, 4 eggs— on a sheet pan and then cooking it like that in the oven is the sort of thing that I imagine a child would do when pretending to “cook” in the kitchen. I understand that stoves are temperamental—a gas stove goes from zero to 100 very quickly, whereas those hideous and irritating convection top ranges that are easy to clean are hard to cook on. Sheet-pan dinners have become very trendy, but there is no reason to apply this to breakfast because eggs should be cooked on the stove.
If you’re a fussy little princess about the way your eggs are done—over medium, please, thanks—then you can’t manage the egg the way you need to if it’s crammed in the oven. Furthermore, the baking sheet? It will be ruined? Yes, parchment paper exists, but I assume part of this recipe’s appeal is that the eggs cook in the fat created by the bacon as it renders; that’s nice, but you can also do that on the stove without having to throw away your baking sheet once you’ve ruined it by using it for breakfast! I know that the kitchen is bad, cooking food sucks, and no one wants to do any of it, ever again. But I urge you, please, remember your stove. Use her for breakfast. It’s fine.