Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Incredible Inedible Egg in Jane’s Domain

I have to talk about eggs this morning.

Now don’t get all squeamish – we’re not going to talk about fertility issues or anything like that since I’m way past the age of wanting to deal with progeny. (And if we were talking about fertility issues, you’d have my permission to thunk me on the forehead and say, “Are you crazy?!”)

No, we’re talking about the incredible edible egg. And the fried version, in particular.  

I have never before attempted to cook a fried egg because I do not like them. Scrambled? Sure. A nice omelette with a little ham and onion and cheese? Absolutely. But, fried or poached?

Not on a bet.

But my husband likes them, so I’ve been trying to cook them for him for breakfast. And I am hopeless at it because I cannot gauge when the egg is cooked to Vince’s preferred level of “done-ness.” 

The specific level of “done-ness” for a fried egg is difficult to master. Some people like their fried egg to have a runny yolk so they can sop up the yellow gooshy stuff with their toast. Other people like their fried egg “over easy.” (Whatever that means.)

Vince, on the other hand, likes his fried egg done just until there is a “dimple” in the yolk. The yellow should not be gooshy – but it should not be as hard as a boiled egg either.

Yeah, like I can figure that out without poking the yolk with a skewer and setting off an instant egg calamity if the yolk isn’t fully cooked.

I never even attempted to cook a fried egg before recently because, well, I cannot stand fried eggs. And the reason I cannot stand fried eggs is because of a traumatic experience in my youth.

There I was – in Sister Lucy’s second grade classroom at Regina Coeli. And I was not feeling well. Badly enough that I interrupted Sister Lucy’s math tutorial to raise my hand and ask to be excused. 

Somehow, she must have believed that I was truly ill instead of just trying to get out of the dreaded math lesson where she was introducing multiplication tables for the first time – so she called my father to pick me up from school.

So I was sitting in the little reading chairs in front of the classroom all bundled up in my winter coat awaiting my father’s arrival.  Evidently, I got overheated and, suddenly, yacked up the fried egg I’d eaten that morning. On the floor. Right in front of the entire second grade class.

Was I mortified? You betcha. Believe me, second graders have the ability to feel mortification.  I was even more horrified when Sister Lucy started gagging – and quickly gathered up all my classmates and herded them out the door.

So there I sat, miserably sick and mortified and alone – at least until the janitor arrived to throw some kitty litter all over my regurgitated egg.

I can’t remember if I asked my parents that night to transfer me to the nearest public school or not, but I do remember I couldn’t even look at a fried egg for quite some time after that incident.

And to this day, a fried egg makes me a little queasy.  Much like the smell of Jack Daniels makes me a little queasy. But that is another story for another day. And it definitely didn’t involve Sister Lucy or the second grade.

At any rate, I – being the loving wife that I am – recently decided to tackle the whole fried egg issue just for Vince.

He’s probably wishing I hadn’t.

But he even showed me how it is done. He heats a little oil in the pan, cracks the eggs, salts and peppers them to taste…and then puts an ice cube in the pan and covers it. When he sees the little “dimple” in the yolk, he removes the eggs from the pan and slides them onto his plate.

Simple – right?

Noooo. It is not that simple, people!  The yolks, thus far, have been very uncooperative – and I have yet to see or recognize a “dimple.”

Guessing is not the answer either. Because the other day I guessed that the eggs were done – and they were soupy. Vince doesn’t like sopping up the yolk with his toast.

And this morning? Well, this morning they were so overcooked, he could’ve used a chainsaw to cut them. The yolk pretty much looked like a hard-boiled egg – without the shell.  (PS, I don’t like hard boiled eggs either and the appeal of the whole deviled egg thing escapes me.)

But at least my Vince is a patient and kind man. And he rarely makes any derogatory comments about my ineptness at cooking a simple fried egg.

I think, however, he’s been biting his tongue – because he casually mentioned that lately he’s had a hankering for some scrambled eggs.

Wonder if he’s trying to tell me something?

Meanwhile, I should probably check out the syllabus at the nearest culinary school. Maybe they have a remedial course on fried eggs.

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