let’s get cracking!


     “I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It’s chicken and eggs.  And I said, I gotta use that one.”   ~ Paul Simon

Who knew?

The incredible, edible egg has apparently inspired some pretty cool songs.

We all know about “Scrambled Eggs,” which became Paul McCartney’s, “Yesterday.”

And now this!

Back in the day, I once went to the airport with friends to greet Simon and Garfunkel. We waited for hours at the arrival gate with leis and a giant gingerbread boy (we were convinced Paul Simon was the cuddly type, so we referred to him as Bunny Boy). We were also certain that Paul would love the gingerbread boy, since it resembled him.

Such is the folly of youth. Paul and Art whizzed past us and all the other screaming fans, without so much as a nod or a wave. Wow. What a let-down. The gingerbread boy went into the trash, but we attended their concert anyway.

It turned out to be one of the best acoustic performances I have ever heard. It made up for our disappointment many times over.  

Almost ten years later, Paul Simon hatched an idea in the Soy Eng Look Restaurant in New York City’s Chinatown. I imagine he wagged his wattle when he saw the menu. “Mother and Child Reunion” was included on Paul’s first self-titled album after he and Art Garfunkel parted ways, and is considered to be one of the first tunes by a white musician to feature reggae elements. Paul seemed to embrace world music after that,cluck cluck.

No, I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine

I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
Over and over again . . .

(Rest here.)

(Do you see elements of Lady Madonna and Let it Be here?)

In case anyone else out there has had a disappointing rock star moment, here is some comfort food courtesy of the Japanese. To prevent any more arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg, this tasty, easy-to-prepare dish features both. We eat this chicken-egg omelet quite often here at alphabet soup. It’s almost as good as a hug from Mom! Flavor is of course enhanced if this is consumed while listening to Bunny Boy sing.

(Japanese chicken and egg omelet)
serves 4-6

1 T oil
1-1/2 cups chicken (breast or thigh), sliced thin
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
4 T soy sauce
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup green onion (chopped)
5 or 6 eggs (depending on size)
1 or 2 T Aji-mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1/3 cups chopped bamboo shoots (optional)
4 oz mushrooms (optional)
cooked rice
2 sheets nori (dried seaweed)

Saute chicken in oil. Add stock and cook until chicken is tender on medium heat.
Add seasonings and green onions.
Beat eggs and pour over chicken mixture evenly. Cook on low heat until eggs are coddled.
Fill bowls with rice. Cover with chicken/egg mixture and pour sauce over all.
Sprinkle crushed toasted nori on top for garnish.

TIPS: Best to use a deep bowl for serving. You may be able to find authentic Donbori bowls at an Asian supermarket that sells dishes. It usually comes with a cover, so that the dish can steam a little with flavors mingling, just before eating.


Hmmm . . . chicken egg, egg chicken?

7 thoughts on “let’s get cracking!

  1. I adore Paul Simon. I never tried to give him a gingerbread boy, though. I did play Bridge Over Troubled Water on the piano oh….maybe 8 million times….when I was a teenager and obsessively learning to play.


  2. I have always loved that song, though I found the lyrics rather mysterious. Why “mournful?” What’s this about “false hope?”
    And yes, I had heard the chicken-and-egg story before. The result is that whenever I have a recipe that calls for dipping chicken pieces in egg batter, “Mother and Child Reunion” starts playing in my head.
    Guess what starts playing when I see “a patch of snow on the ground?”


  3. I agree the lyrics are mysterious. No explanation for the sad and mournful day. Death is in there somewhere.
    Patch of snow on the ground?
    A Whiter Shade of Pale?


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