Season’s Greetings, said the Salt to the Pepper

Mike Franklin submitted three variants of this seasonal pun.

I used to know a guy who absolutely loved hollandaise sauce. He would buy the sharpest brand he could find and would put it on just about everything. Well it turned out that because he used the spicy sauce so much, it started to wear down a hole on the roof of his mouth. He went to a doctor and asked what he could do about it. The doctor looks at the damage and determines that the man will need a metal plate placed at the roof of his mouth. The man is relieved but can’t help asking the doctor if he will still be able to enjoy his hollandaise sauce. The doctor reassures the man that his new plate will be made of chrome. The man was curious, so he asked if chrome was the best choice. The doctor responded with “Oh don’t worry, there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and Joe (a traveling salesman) has been caught in a terrible snowstorm on his way home from a convention. He’s hundreds of miles from home but the snow won’t let up, so with a sigh he pulls into the nearest parking lot– a diner. As he’s sitting in his car, thinking sadly about missing his kids’ Christmas morning excitement, he decides he might as well go in and get something to eat while the storm is still raging.

The place is empty so he picks out a booth and sits down. The waitress is middle-aged and made-up with festive red lipstick and a flashing Rudolph pin and she’s there in no time: “What can I get for ya, hon?” Joe checks his watch– already past midnight. “Well, I guess it’s Christmas morning,” he says sadly, “I’ll have Eggs Benedict. It’s what my mom always used to make.”

Seeing as he’s the only customer, he’s not surprised when his food comes out just a few minutes later. However, he can’t figure out why his waitress is carrying it out on a giant hubcap. As she sets it down, smiling, he clears his throat. “Um, I’m sorry,” he says, “but why are you serving my eggs on a hubcap?”

The waitress pats his shoulder comfortingly and says, “Oh, you know…. there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.”

This guy goes into his dentist’s office, because of pain in his mouth. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, “Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?”

“Well… the only thing I can think of is this… my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it… Hollandaise sauce she called it… and doctor, I’m talking’ DELICIOUS! I’ve never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I’ve been putting it on everything…meat, fish, toast, vegetables… you name it!”

“That’s probably it,” replied the dentist. “Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as though I’ll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time.”

“Why chrome?” the man asked.

“Well, everyone knows that there’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!”

2015/01/07: Michael Gorman sent in this variant, that he created after a challenge from his son Matt.

Over the years, bordering almost 125 now, there’s been the best of times and the worst of times. These however are among the worst of the worst.

Back in the last decade of the second to last century of the previous millennium, my dear Great Great Grandfather was a stock broker. He rose from poverty to become the toast of New York. He was especially know for his Sunday brunches. There was nothing too good for his friends, colleagues, and clients.

Every Sunday he would host a breakfast at the brand new hotel that was the talk of the town, The hotel was opened by the millionaire William Waldorf Astor on the site of his mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street. It had been designed by renowned architect Henry Hardenbergh. Instantly, the hotel was known as the Waldorf Astoria.

One Sunday, there was an accident. It was both terrible and fortuitous. A waiter was bringing in a plate of sunny-side up eggs for the guests when he tripped on the newly laid carpet and there flew the eggs all over the place where my dear Great Great Grandfather was sitting.

Some of the eggs even fell onto the tray of “toaster crumpets” which were invented just a year earlier by an English emigrant to New York by the name of Samuel Bath Thomas. These toaster crumpets became an instant success across all of New York, making Sam Thomas’s business gloriously successful. In fact, his “toaster crumpets” quickly became know as Thomas’s English Muffins.

So, there some of the eggs were, sitting directly on top of the “Toaster Crumpets.” My dear Great Great Grandfather thought that was very interesting. He picked up one of the egg and Thomas’s English Muffins and took a bite. Excellent, he thought but too dry. It needed something to bring the eggs and muffins together.

Some of clients of my dear Great Grand Grandfather, strange as they might have been liked to has asparagus with their eggs for breakfast. They brought these together with a Hollandaise sauce. My dear Great Great Grandfather had a great idea. Put Hollandaise sauce on top of the sunny-side up egg and Thomas’s English Muffins combination. Excellent. So excellent in fact that the head chef asked my dear Great Great Grandfather if he could add that combination onto the breakfast menu. But then, what to call it? Well, my dear Great Great Grandfather quickly said, well, since I invented it, name it after me. Eggs Benedict.

Well, that’s how it all started. My Grandfather was just a young lad at the time, and didn’t really think all this was too important. So, after the breakfast, the Benedict families all went their ways. Every year, the Benedict families would get together and celebrate the year gone by and hope for a more glorious new year. And every year there would be Eggs Benedict for all.

Then there was the great war, some call WWI. My Great Grandfather was in that war and suffered greatly. He came home and made a good recovery. It guess it was my dear Great Grant Grandfather’s business acumen that helped. My Grandfather took over the stock brokering business. He made a killing. But it all came to disastrous end in the 1929 crash. All my Grandfather’s assets were highly leveraged. In just a few days, it was all gone. The bank took over our beautiful brownstone at 608 West End Avenue. We had to move into an apartment in Brooklyn. Grandfather’s fancy new car, a 1931 Lincoln V-8 Model K Phaeton was gone as well.

What were we to do? Well, my dear Great Great Grandfather Benedict’s recipe saved us. My mother seemed to remember this great breakfast dish. She sorted through all the letters that we had saved over these many year. There the recipe was. Sunny Side up Eggs, “Toaster Crumpets.” and Hollandaise sauce.

We put ourselves to work. Making and selling on the street corners of Brooklyn to anybody bound for work in morning or coming off work from a night shift. Slowly but surely we rose back out of poverty into the middle class. The depression was hard on my grandfather, however, and he never really recovered that zip in his step.

But then came WW2. That was my father’s war. He had just graduated from highschool when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He enlisted immediately and was sent out into the Pacific. The war finally ended and he came home. There was a really great GI-Bill and he enrolled in the City College of New York and graduated with honors in Engineering. Shortly after that he met my mother and together they had five kids. I’m number four.

Dad worked in an aircraft factory out on Long Island. He helped design airplanes. We all lived in a Levitt house on Long Island. Dad’s life was quite good and every Sunday we sat down to breakfast on Sunday morning and feasted on Great Great Grandfather’s Eggs Benedicts.

Dad died in the middle 1970s. All my brothers and sisters went to college and did well. Not so me. In the middle 1960s, I just graduated from High School and was drafted. It became my time to go to war: Viet Nam. Jungle rot, land mines, snakes, and all manners of horrible things happened. I saw legs blown off, little children burned to death with napalm. It was just too horrible. I couldn’t take it any longer. Drugs became my solace, my refuge, my hiding place from reality.

Things have not gone well for me since. I’ve drifted from place to place, never able to hold a job. Late last year, my mother, now in her 90s, tracked me down and gave me a short paper that was my family’s history. It tells you all that you have just read. So, I decided to go back in time and relive my earliest of my family’s beginnings. Here I am now, off in the woods with a small fire cooking my Eggs Benedict that are to be served on a hubcap because there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.

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