Craig Claiborne included this most British of recipes in a 1965 illustrated bagatelle published by The New York Times. The enigmatically entitled Cookbook for Booksellers includes only twelve recipes, all but one of them introduced by a literary quotation. A soothing dish for a night of foul weather. For four bucks.
- 4 poached eggs on toast
- 1 lb grated good sharp Cheddar or other pungent hard British cheese.
- about ¾ cup pale ale, porter or stout
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- a small touch of salt
- about ¼ teaspoon or more cayenne
- about ½ teaspoon mace
- at least 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
- 2 beaten eggs
- Dump the cheese, beer and cream into a heavy pot over medium low heat and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts.
- Throw the salt, cayenne, mace and Worcestershire into the pot, reduce the heat to low and stir to combine everything.
- Add the eggs to the pot, whisking them immediately and furiously to prevent them scrambling.
- Once the buck thickens to a creamy (not curdled) texture turn off the heat, pour the buck over the eggs and season it with pepper.
-Claiborne only specifies Cheddar, but other cheeses may be just as good.
-He requires stale beer but that is not necessary.
-He omits the cayenne, uses nutmeg (which is fine) instead of the even more traditional mace and specifies a mere teaspoon of Worcestershire.
-Splashes of hot sauce at Step 2 would do not harm.