Joe’s Army Eggs

What food do you remember from your childhood that you still make today and it fills you to the brim with goodness in more ways than one?

For photographer Cassandra Birocco, it’s her dad’s scrambled eggs known as Joe’s Army Eggs. She snapped this photo yesterday from her Sunday morning breakfast and recalled eating them with ketchup growing up in Western Pennsylvania. Cassandra and I grew up together and nearly everyone in Western Pennsylvania eats scrambled eggs with ketchup — and it’s only the Pittsburgh-based Heinz ketchup.

Gravy on Bread

A food memory still vivid to me is simply called Gravy on Bread. After mom’s rib-sticking meal, we took a piece of white bread, poured the gravy on it and ate it. If there was any gravy left the next day, mom would ask if we wanted Gravy on Bread for lunch.

I can still picture my brother Johnny sitting at the table and performing his Gravy on Bread assembly. He is 12 years older than I am so as a little girl I found his food rituals fascinating. I just sat and watched not saying a word.

He placed the bread on his plate, poured the gravy carefully, then salt and peppered the slab. Then, with utmost precision he cut each piece with a fork and knife, delivered it to his mouth, chewed silently as I watched, and chipped away until there was no more on the plate, using the last piece of cut bread to sop up the remaining gravy. A big wash of Vitamin D whole milk came next. He always had an intense focus on his food. You should see him butter a grilled steak and carve it down to the last bite!

Food and the people that made it and ate it, formed us. That’s hospitality.


4 thoughts on “Joe’s Army Eggs

  1. Barb. You are so right, and I continue to do this every chance I get. I sometimes use beef
    Au jus if gravy is not available (at work), but I butter the bread for the Au jus dish. The only other change is today I drink 1% white milk. Mother knew best, Someday I will tell you of “Milk Soup” from Aunt Doris. Thanks for the memory.
    Brother Johnny
    Love the Grandpa video!

      • OK, Here goes. Imagine coming in from shoveling snow or just coming home from a tough day at work and you just want to feel warm and cozy. Start with the warming of white milk with the addition of approx. 1/2 Tbsp of butter (If you are like me, I add more) per 16 oz.of milk. Sprinkle with black pepper. Heat to almost boil and frequent stiring. Next step is to break saltine crackers in half or thirds and place in soup bowl (Do not crumble). Important next step is to place strips of Velveta, my favorite, or American cheese over crackers ( I guess you could use any of your favorite cheese as long as it is meltable). Finally, pour the hot milk mix over the crackers and cheese. Salt to taste if needed. This is so simple and quick. Try it you might like it! Thank you Uncle Bill and Aunt Doris.

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