As a child, I ate James Cagney eggs at least once a week. I didn’t know who James Cagney was, and my mother, who regularly made this dish for breakfast, never told me. Or I never asked. Only much later did I begin to wonder why a slice of bread with a hole punched out and an egg dropped in was named for a movie star who usually played gangsters. The buttered slice was gently fried in a skillet (the little punched-out bread round was fried too). A deft turn of the spatula meant the crisp bread hit the plate with a still-runny yolk inside. Like some other childhood food memories, the dish still haunts me, and I crave it from time to time—even if I do update it by using artisanal bread, a good egg, and olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, and sea salt.