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Blogathon for Tricia, Hour Six: Eggs

January 9th, 2010 (09:42 am)

Okay, guys. It's hour six, and you know what I'm going to tell you about?

Eggs. Right here, right now, I am telling you about eggs.

Those of you who've been reading this blog for awhile will know that eggs have long been a symbol of independence for me. Technically the full icon of my independence has been toast and eggs, actually, but eggs are the main thing. See, after college, I lived with my parents way the hell too long, and though our power struggles were many and varied, often they seemed to crystallize in one issue: how to cook an egg.

My mother, to state the case mildly, did not like the way that I cooked my eggs. Actually, my mother hated the way I cooked my eggs. Actually, I moved out of my parents' house five years ago, and to this day my mother talks about how much she hates the way I cook my eggs. I, on the other hand, am entirely steadfast in my devotion to this particular method of egg-cooking. I would like to take this opportunity to solicit my LJ readership's opinion on the matter.

First of all, what we're talking about here is fried eggs. I will eat scrambled eggs too, but they're beside the point here. The thing is fried eggs. I am completely unable to deal with any of the following kinds of fried eggs:

-Eggs cooked at a low temperature, such that the whites and yolks cook through very slowly and become rubbery.
-Eggs cooked for too brief a period, such that the whites and yolks are runny.
-Eggs cooked for too long, such that the yolks are powdery.

This leaves fewer options than you'd think. Actually, in my opinion, it only leaves one.

Here's the only way to fry an egg, if you ask me:

-You turn the burner on to medium high.
-You put Pam or margarine or something in the pan. Note that actual butter is not ideal.
-You wait for the pan to heat. (I've always had to cook on electric burners.)
-You keep an eye on the margarine in the pan.
-Eventually it will turn brown, and, yes, it will begin to smoke a little. This is regrettable but inevitable.
-You crack the egg into the pan, puncture the yolk, and stand right over it as it cooks. Fast. You flip it according to visible cues, described below.

You do this right, and you get what I consider the perfect egg. The outside of the egg sears and crisps up; the white bubbles and turns light and puffy. You flip the egg and cook it quickly on the other side and it crisps similarly there. When you cut into it, the white is fluffy, neither runny nor rubbery; the yolk is firm but dark yellow in the center, just barely gelled through. You salt it and pepper it and you have got one goddamn amazing egg.

Thus ends the physical description of my egg. This is not, however, the end of the matter. I have a deep ideological commitment to this kind of egg. You should know that there are only about three meals that I ever bother to cook, and the reason for this is that I absolutely hate cooking anything that is not perfect. I have spent years refining those three meals. (Pancakes, eggs, and chicken.) I vary my methods for no one.

Unfortunately, my mother was not okay with this. My mother was as not-okay with this as it is possible to be. She hated every single thing about this method of cooking eggs. She hated that I turned the pan up high and let it preheat for awhile; she said it damaged the pan. She hated that I let the butter brown and start to smoke slightly; she said I'd burn the house down. She hated that I cracked the egg on the pan; she said if the whites dribbled down the edge of the pan they were stuck there forever. She hated that I liked the egg crispy; she said it smelled awful. Every morning before she left for work and every night before she went to bed she told me not to make eggs unless I was going to cook them her way. One time she told me that cooking eggs at a low temperature made the whites fluffy. She told me Julia Child said so. I wasn't sure how to respond to that. I've tasted the eggs myself. Maybe we have different definitions of the word "fluffy". It still doesn't change how I feel about my eggs.

So we had shouting matches about egg-cooking about five times a week, and when I moved out, the very first thing I did was to make myself a celebratory meal of toast and eggs and revel in the fact that no one was yelling at me about it. (My mom didn't like the toast either, because she said it was empty calories.)

Today I made myself fried eggs for breakfast again. As I did so I mulled over how eggs are Important, and about how I am curious as to other people's egg-related opinions, stories, or culinary techniques. I also mulled over how my recent post about corn muffins attracted more attention than anything else I've written in like six months.


What have you got to say about eggs?

This is the hour six post of my blogathon for my aunt Tricia, who is dying of end-stage ovarian cancer and whose family is being hit with a whole lot of bills that they can't afford alone as a result. Donations can be made at the link given above. A number of topics are still unclaimed and can be bought for $5 or more.


Posted by: Julie (geekjul)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)

There is a mostly lame Julia Roberts movie (Runaway Bride? I think?) where the guy asks each of Julia's exes how she likes her eggs and gets a different answer each time, indicating to him that she herself didn't know how she liked her eggs because she didn't know herself. Eggs as plot device! Anyway, at the end of the movie she cooks eggs over and over until she finds herself, or something.

I like my eggs fried at just the right temperature, although a different temp than yours. I like the yolk runny but not TOO runny and the white completely set.

Posted by: Obsessively opposed to the typical since 1987 (baroque_n_roll)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)

Haha, wow, I'd forgotten about the egg thing...

I like mine scrambled and cooked in Actual Butter, which I think is an idiot-proof method. I'm easy to please.

Posted by: wanderer (aerinha)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)

I'm a believer that a fried egg sandwich is one of the Perfect Foods. That said, I want you to know, I would totally eat your eggs. You'd probably eat mine, too. To heck with the rest of the unbelievers :)

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)

Fried egg butties are The Best. But it has to have ketchup, not brown sauce. Ideally, the eggs are cooked so the yolk is a little bit runny and it mixes so well with the ketchup and melted butter from the bread. Yummy.

The best offices are the ones where someone will go on a butty run for fried egg butties and bacon butties.

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