-- People certainly get passionate about their favorite foods, claiming they know where to find or how to make the absolute best version of a dish. Not many people, though, take that obsession wider and launch a Kickstarter to spread their ultimate version of a meal.
Meet Joe Checkler, a journalist in New York City who is ardent about bringing back the perfect breakfast egg sandwich.
According to Checkler, “the cheese is melted but not so melted that it is watery. I make sure the breakfast meat is hot. I make sure that the bun doesn’t overpower the egg, which is a really important thing; it’s kind of like a burger. You don’t have to over salt because there’s so much salt in cheese and bacon, and if you use ketchup it’s even more,” Checkler told ABC News. “I’ve noticed in recent years the way they’re made has gone downhill in some places, and it seems to be this movement.”
Checkler grew up in New Jersey where the dedication to a great egg sandwich runs deep.
“There’s a thing there called Taylor ham, also known as pork roll [a pork-based processed meat similar to Canadian bacon]. I didn’t realize that Taylor ham wasn’t a thing in New York,” he said. “I was in shock and bit my tongue for years and settled for the also great bacon. But I recently thought, ‘You know what? I feel like I’m settling for adequate, but could be getting better.’”
Inspired by the possibilities, that’s when Checkler turned to Kickstarter to elevate the egg sandwich.
“I thought it might be the best way to see how many people agreed with me. I wanted to see if it was something that I was over thinking or if it was something that was a real thing,” he said.
With the money raised, Checkler hopes to distribute pamphlets to delis across the New York City with tips on how to create a better egg sandwich.
Tips include avoid over-salting, not overcooking the eggs and ensuring a proper cheese melt. He even goes so far as to condemn rolling the sandwich in white wax paper.
Instead, as a baseline egg sandwich, Checkler recommends a pan scramble, at least two slices of cheese, crispy or juicy meat depending on the diner’s preference, cheese facing up and wrapped in foil.
“Those are some good rules of thumb, but there are really a lot of different great ways to make egg sandwiches whether they’re creative, simple or completely off-the-wall. I do not think there’s one way to do it. I just think there’s a lot of room to improve the adequate,” Checkler said. “I don’t necessarily know I have the perfect one. I just know I have a good, reliable one that’s more foolproof than a lot of others.”
So far Checkler has raised $560 – $200 more than his original goal – to go toward printing and mailing costs.
“I think this goes beyond just this leaflet dropping, which itself could end up being silly. It’s more about the way we think about something that’s important to a lot of people but they don’t give a lot of thought to, which is breakfast,” he said. “It’s something we take for granted. We don’t take the extra second to think, ‘Wait a minute. Am I getting gipped out of something that could be a lot better with minimal effort and thought added?’”
Reaction has been separated into three camps: those who agree, some who don’t care and others who call Checkler “a snob who’s not sensitive to the plight of the hardworking deli worker,” he said.
“I’m just here on behalf of the consumer to make sure our egg sandwich experience stays good and if it needs to, gets better. I’m not an expert; I’ve never worked in the food business, so I’m a conscientious egg sandwich consumer without being the person who should always be the last word on them.” he said. “I don’t mind leading the movement for egg sandwiches. I am comfortable in that role.”