Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete
By William Lawrence Sr.
Edith Cavell watched silently as the August sun beat down on the green-gray lines of German troops marching into Brussels.
She had arrived from her native England seven years before to organize and direct L’Ecole Belge pour les Infirmieres Diplomees, Belgium’s first nursing school, which almost immediately became known simply as the Clinique.
She had already made a dent in the country’s nursing profession. Before her arrival, doctors had treated nurses as servants. She told her students to demand they be addressed as “Nurse.”
When they expressed doubt, Miss Cavell insisted that “even doctors can learn to be courteous.”
By 1914, the nursing profession had been uplifted to a point where the school was not longer having a problem attracting excellent students.
Then the Germans came. Miss Cavell ordered her charges to treat all soldiers equally without regard to nationality. There were many allied soldiers still wandering around Belgium. Many were sick or wounded.
Miss Cavell welcomed them to the Clinique, then went a step further and helped to smuggle them through German lines to France or Holland.
The quiet spoken nurse was always small and slender. The night journeys caused her to lose even more weight and become haggard.
The Belgians soon knew the Clinique was a haven for Allied soldiers. There, unfortunately were a few pro-German Belgians, who alerted the Germans.
They planted a couple of men who posed as French soldiers, and about a year after Miss Cavell had started smuggling operation she was arrested.
She had probably never told a lie in her life, and she refused to lie at her trial.
Asked if she had helped 20 soldiers to escape, she softly replied, “It was more like 200.”
She was found guilty by the German military tribunal. A judge read the verdict: “Edith Cavell – todesstrafe – death!”
During the following weeks she wrote to all those dear to her never once expressing fear. To her nurses, she wrote “If there is one among you whom I have wronged, I beg you to forgive me. I have been perhaps too severe sometimes but never voluntarily unjust. And I have loved you all much more than you thought.”
When the guards arrived at 6 a.m. on the day of her execution, she had just finished jotting a note in her prayer book. It read: “Died at 7 a.m. on Oct. 12th, 1915. With love to my mother. E. Cavell.”
She was taken to a rose garden to face the firing squad. A German officer shouted a command. There was a burst of gunfire. Edith Cavell was dead.
But she is still remembered. The Clinique is now called: “Ecole Edith Cavell.”
A beautiful statue of Edith Cavell in her nurse’s cloak stands majestically in London’s Trafalgar Square. There is a sculpture of her in Paris’ Tuileries Garden. There is Mt. Cavell in Canada and Cavell Glacier in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. Her portrait hangs in her childhood home in Swardeston, England and over the altar of the church of which her father served as pastor is a stained glass window dedicated to her memory.
Edith Cavell’s favorite meal, as with many Brits, was breakfast. She especially enjoyed a simple but delicious Belgian cheese omelet similar to the one that follows.
Edith Cavell’s Belgian Cheese Omelet
2/3 Cup chopped or shredded Swiss or gruyere cheese
2 Tbs. of butter
Thyme (what makes it special)
Mix eggs in bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with healthy sprinkle of thyme. Melt butter in 12-inch frying pan. Pour eggs in pan. Tilt pan so eggs cover bottom of pan. Let stand over heat a few seconds. Loosen edge of omelet all around with spatula. Sprinkle with cheese. Tilt pan, using spatula carefully roll up omelet or fold in half.
Hold skillet so that bottom rests on edge of platter, slowly roll omelet onto plate.
Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete