Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A Softly Boiled Egg

‘Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken,’ so said the great culinary philosopher M.F.K. Fisher.

And she was right.

Boiling an egg is one of the most clandestine operations it is possible to undertake in the kitchen. Normal rules and regulations make a hasty retreat and you are left with only luck and judgement for company. And what fickle mistresses they are.

It used to be said of people who were hopelessly inept in the kitchen that they ‘couldn’t even boil an egg.’ A badly worded bon mot if there ever was one.

Few dishes can give the eater such anticipation and disappointment in the merest quiver of time. The expectation that rises up when faced with a smooth shell, too hot to touch and just waiting to be bashed in with the back of the spoon.

Will it be cooked enough? Will it be runny enough to dip in a buttered soldier of bread and see the yolk dribble down the shell? Or will it be a searing disappointment, bullet hard and impossible to smear over toast?

But when it goes right, when all the factors come together, it creates a food moment of such profound perfection that you can’t help but smile.

For more food moments, tweet me.

8 comments:

Chocolate Shavings said...

Little things are as enjoyable as a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg!

QGIRL said...

simply divine. this is exactly how I like my eggs. yum.
p.s. I think you should post a kitty photo in each blog post. not to much to ask. no I don't think so. :)

Charisse said...

Wow....that does look like perfection. I have had so many BAD eggs in my basket I can not even describe to you. But, when everything comes together, and the stars align, and the planets are in the correct position, and now that I FINALLY have a gas stove...these moments of perfection are much more frequent.

PS - I came here by way of tastespotting.com and I am enjoying your site.

Darlene said...

you do have timers in England, no? :P

In any case, your egg looks perfectly cooked. Reminds me that it's been too long since I last indulged...

Foodycat said...

I love a boiled egg! I find that an egg taken from the fridge and brought to the boil from cold water takes 3 minutes to be at the cooked white/runny yolk point I like.

Kathleen said...

By George I think you've got it...

damn fine egg.


Its a texture thing, I can't eat them often but every once in a while on buttered toast...I crave it.


: )

Aimee said...

My mom used to make me soft boiled eggs when I was a kid...in cute little egg cups. It's something I NEVER do now. With the little toast points...great memories.

Alex Rushmer said...

Chocolate Shavings - Completely agree

Qgirl - thank you. OK, I consent. Expect some kitty pics very soon

Charisse - Thank you very much. Glad you like the site. You are right, it is not often that things to 100% right but when they do it can make you so happy.

Darlene - Ha,yes we do but there are so many other variables!

Foodycat - It's good to have a system but I am yet to find one that works.

Kathleen - yes, you're right, to too often but that akes it even more enjoyable when it happens.

Aimee - Thanks for the comment, glad it brought back some memories.