September 25, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Poached Egg on Toast

Considering I was going to babysit Luke and Riley today, I didn't think I was going to be able to make a heritage recipe. While I was at their house, though, the opportunity came up and I felt it was the perfect circumstance. This post is more of a story than a recipe, but I'll include the "secret recipe" as well.

So here's the backstory:

When I was young (elementary school age) my mom worked at a doctor's office and she had to leave for work before we woke up in the mornings. My Aunt Mickey (her sister, who I've mentioned several times) lived one street over from us and my mom asked her to babysit us. She would be at our house when we woke up in the mornings and get us off to school.

Now, my Aunt Mickey is special. She has been a stay-at-home mom and wife for her whole life; one time when I asked her about it, if she ever wished she'd had a job outside of the home, she told me "not for one second". This validated my decision to be a stay-at-home mom; I've always loved it, and I'm super grateful that Jerry and I were able to work it out that way.

Anyway, Aunt Mickey was the BEST. Her kids are older than Nathan (my younger brother) and me, so because they were old enough to take care of themselves in the morning, Aunt Mickey was able to come see us off to school. (She also took care of us during the summer when school was out.)

One of the things she always did for us was cook breakfast... TO ORDER. Who does that?! If Nathan wanted pancakes and I wanted eggs, that what we each had. I wish I could say that I was like that, but if I cook breakfast, everybody gets the same thing ;)

I don't know how many years this went on, but I only ever wanted one thing for breakfast: a poached egg on toast. It's exactly what it sounds like: an egg, poached, on a piece of toast. But holy smokes, my Aunt Mickey made it SO good! There are four components, but they all have to be done just right, and she just has that magic touch.

Jerry and I have been watching Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network recently, and I told Jerry that with just the four items for this breakfast dish, my Aunt Mickey could totally beat Bobby Flay for a poached egg.

I ate a poached egg on toast every day that my aunt came over. She cut it into nine squares (we just had regular old sandwich bread and it made nine perfect squares when cut). And I always started by eating the center piece--it was heavenly. The middle of the toast had soaked up the butter and egg yolk and because the egg was centered on it before breaking the yolk, it was the perfect bite.

Fast forward to when I was 21 years old and Jerry and I were getting married. I had the idea to set out blank cards instead of a guest book for our guests to write down any marital advice they had for us. We loved reading those and I still pull them out from time to time! Anyway, my Aunt Mickey's card couldn't have been more fitting:

It reads: 

Jerry, here's how to make a poached egg for Katie--

Boil an egg in water until the white part is set. Make toast while egg is cooking. Butter toast, put egg on toast. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into squares. (Katie will eat the center piece first!)

Love and happiness to you both.

Aunt Mickey

This morning, when I was with Luke and Riley, I was trying to think of something to cook them for breakfast and a poached egg on toast popped into my head. I thought it would be perfect to write about for a heritage recipe as well.

I'm sure my poached eggs on toast didn't even hold a candle to Aunt Mickey's, but Luke and Riley loved them! I told them it was Aunt Mickey's super special secret recipe and I explained that it had been my favorite breakfast when I was a kid. I would have cut it into nine squares, but the bread was bigger than I remember from when I was little--so I cut little bite-size squares and I told them that the center ones were the best pieces.

Riley ate the whole thing and Luke actually asked for another! I was so happy that they loved it as much as I did. Luke told me to make sure I give the recipe to his mom so that he can eat it again. I took a picture of the kids with their poached eggs on toast so that I could send it to my Aunt Mickey. And when I got home, I made a couple for Jerry, too.

There are four key ingredients: bread, eggs, butter, and salt. I explained to Jerry that it's crucial to get them all right. The bread has to be over-toasted a little because it will absorb the butter and egg yolk. The egg has to be perfectly poached--the white cooked all the way through but the yolk completely runny. The bread has to have a light coating of butter across the whole piece. And most importantly, the salt has to be sprinkled last. And you can't skimp on the salt! Jerry agreed that there is something about the salt that makes it extra good.

When you're done making it, it has to be cut into squares. You break the yolk and kind of spread it all around, then cut the whole piece of toast with egg into squares. And always... ALWAYS start by eating the center first! ;)

If you have a nostalgic memory about a certain food, please share!


  1. Poached egg on toast was my very favorite breakfast growing up! My "adult" favorite is Eggs Benedict, which is basically very fancy poached egg on toast. ;) You're absolutely right about the salt -- there has to be enough or it doesn't taste right. I'd also add that it has to be Lawry's Seasoned Salt too, but that's the way my mom made poached egg on toast.

    When I was a kid, we had the perfect toaster that took all the guesswork out of timing the egg. My mom had one of those egg poaching pans with the little cups sitting over simmering water (I have my grandmother's egg poaching pan). We'd put some butter into the cup, break the egg, push down the toast lever, and by the time the toast was done and buttered, the egg was perfect!

    I definitely know what's for breakfast tomorrow! :)

  2. I'm not crying, you're crying! I love this post so much! I love that your Aunt wrote the recipe on the card for Jerry! I love that you are carrying on a lovely little tradition! So sweet!

    I have one to share! My parents were very young when they had me, and they struggled to provide sometimes. One dish that my dad made was called "snuggle bunnies". I have NO idea how the name came to be, but it's basically a pound of ground beef, one drained can of corn, ketchup, and bread or hamburger buns. We used bread slices a lot since hamburger buns were a luxury back in the day. Basically you cook the beef, add the corn, and add ketchup to the pan (usually about a 1/2 cup) and mix it up. Then you serve it over the bread. Sounds weird, but I loved it! Maybe because of the name, maybe because of the memories that come with it. Either way, it's one of my favorites. :)

  3. I love this! My nostalgic memory is my father making hashed browns and over easy eggs for breakfast. He put himself through college as a short order cook and his breakfasts never disappointed. They were simple, but so tasty. He fried it all in a cast iron skillet using lard (yes, the real pig kind in the white plastic tub) as the oil. The crispy hashed browns went on the plate first and the eggs on top. You cut it all up so the runny yolk soaks into the potatoes. OMG. My mouth is watering. Sadly, we lost dad back in 1996, but thank you for bringing back that memory. I still order this for breakfast often, but it's never as good as Dad's. I think it is missing the true secret ingredient, one that your Aunt (and you) forgot to put in the recipe: LOVE.

    1. I literally just had this for breakfast! Hehe! (Minus the lard. Lol!)

  4. I still ask my father to make poached eggs and I'm a grown up and can make them myself. They just aren't the same unless he makes them. I also cut them into 9 pieces but I save the center piece for last.

  5. I love this story!! And it is so precious you got to share it with your niece and nephew just like your aunt Mickey shared it with you! My favorite nostalgic food is a bologna and chip sandwich. My mom used to make that for lunch on the weekends. It has to be plain white bread, Oscar Mayer bologna and plain Ruffles chips. No other chips will do. Once you put the top slice of bread over the bologna and chips, you have to smush it down slightly until you hear the chips break a bit. Wow I could sure go for one of those now lol! :)

  6. My grandparents totally spoiled me! There were only 2 grandkids and I would frequently stay at their house for camping & other fun for at least a couple of weeks every summer. One year I got it into my head I wanted mint chocolate chip ice cream with grapefruit juice for breakfasts. Yes, my grandma totally let me eat it! I would not recommend this as a meal, but I loved that she just let me explore - from food to crafts to travel - she was always about adventure. :-)

  7. That was the favorite breakfast that only my Grandma could make the best. She used salt and pepper (lightly on ours) and also cut it into squares. I always saved the center piece for last because it was the yummiest. Makes me smile just thinking about it! I've learned to make them since she's past but the memory is oh so sweet!

  8. Such cute kids, and Riley has 6 pack abs! Maybe I'm just weird, but he may be in the Olympics in the future.

  9. My nostalgic food is one my mother found in a recipe book for newlyweds back in the 50s. You take a hot dog, split it in half, top it with a scoop of mashed potatoes, a slice of American cheese and a strip of cooked bacon, then put them under the broiler until the cheese melts. It's such a simple thing, but the 4 flavors together are just yummy! I've changed it a bit for my family, we use cheddar cheese instead of American, and I chop the bacon before I put it on top so that it cuts up easier (I like each bite to have all 4 ingredients). Growing up, we always called the dish "Hot Dogs, Mashed Potatoes, Cheese & Bacon", brilliant, right? But our kids came up with the name Smash Dogs -and it stuck!

  10. Similar to poached egg on toast, I loved egg in a basket so much as a kid, even thought I wouldn't eat egg yolks in other dishes! Butter the bread, cut a hole in the middle, put an egg in the hole, and cook until the white is set and the yolk is runny. Make sure to toast the middle piece as well and dip the crusts and middle piece in the runny yolk.

    On a less healthy note, my grandmother taught my brother and I that we could take pancakes, spread butter on them, and then sprinkle white sugar on them. Then you roll them up and enjoy the crunch of sugar! My mother was horrified!


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