Not Over, Easy.

Cracked EggDear Gentle Reader,

Happy New Year to you all. It’s been nearly six months since my blog confession and, in the world of internets, that’s an eternity. While we’re on the subject,  it’s been 36 years since my last proper Catholic confession, but that is another story for another time. Dirty priests.

Although I admit there were some wonderful moments in 2019, overall I didn’t much care for last year. From a writing standpoint, it was a total disaster, but you know what? I’m not going to beat myself up over it. 

For once.

Instead, I’ll just glance over my shoulder, wonder where all the time went, pour myself a drink, and move on. That said, the longer one stays away from trying to fill up a blank page, the harder it is to fill one. The brain and fingers get rusty. So I thought I’d start the year off with something easy to both make and digest. Something symbolic, if you like: the humble egg.

In Greek mythology, Chronos (Time) and Nyx (Night) created the world-egg, out of which hatched Phanes, the hermaphrodite generator of new life. In my view, if an ovum is good enough for the gods, it’s certainly good enough for me. We all start from one, so it’s as fine a place as any to begin. And heaven knows an egg is easier to source and a lot more culinarily versatile than its partner in procreative crime, sperm. If you don’t believe me, the next time you’re at the market, tell the woman at the customer service desk that you’re in desperate need of semen and count the seconds until security is called to escort you off the premises.

The shell of an egg– a hen’s egg, at least– also requires very little effort to crack, which is a pretty good metaphor for 2019– the year I cleared my schedule to do the same. NOTE TO READER: Do not schedule time out for a planned breakdown because they do not, in general, adhere to a fixed timetable.

Runny Egg

The Soft-Boiled Egg

The soft-boiled egg is a tender thing, its insides ideally a warm, ill-formed goo. It is what posh people in film & television set in the 1930s are brought in bed by the help on a breakfast tray with coffee and toast. It is Nick & Nora, Jeeves & Wooster. The onscreen consumers of the soft-boiled breakfast never fail to cut off the top shell with grace all the while discussing this morning’s plans or recovering from last night’s hangover. It is as comforting as it is economical, which leads me to point out that no one seemed to breakfast as cheaply as the Depression Era rich.

The soft-boiled egg is how I intended to start off the New Year, but forgot and had oatmeal instead. The habits of 2019 die hard.

Serves one aspiration breakfaster. 

Ingredients:

• 1 egg coaxed from the cloaca of a chicken, preferably by someone unseen.
• A pinch of salt
• 1 piece of white bread sliced from the belly of a Pullman loaf, toasted and cut into batons.

Preparation:

  1. Pour enough water into a saucepan deep enough to cover your egg. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Gently lay the egg into the water and simmer for exactly 5 minutes. If you can persuade a hen to lay the egg directly into the pan, all the better, but I prefer this step to be performed with a minimum of squawking.
  2. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and let rest for a minute– just enough time to remove a small plate and an egg cup from the cupboard.
  3. Put the egg cup onto the plate (A small linen cocktail napkin to place between the two is a lovely touch but not strictly necessary.) Place the egg into the egg cup, narrow end down. Arrange toast batons onto plate, and serve on a breakfast tray with a small knife, an even smaller cellar of salt, and coffee or tea.
  4. If you have a gentleman’s gentleman to do this for you, you may ignore steps 1 through 3.
  5. Gently lobotomize the top of the egg by lightly tapping around the shell, then pull off the top, laying it to one side of the plate. Sprinkle salt over the egg with a dainty touch.
  6. With care, plunge a baton of toast into the bowels of the egg and remove. Place the object now possibly dripping with runny yolk into your mouth, carefully avoiding the ruination of your maribou bed jacket. Chew satisfactorily and swallow.
  7. Repeat until all of the yolk has been consumed and ignore the remaining, solidified white that still clings to the inside of the shell.
  8. Ring to have your tray removed.
  9. When no one arrives to clear your breakfast, wonder how you could have possibly gotten to your age and still not be able to afford domestic help.
  10. Remove tray from lap, carry into the kitchen, remove maribou bed jacket, and rinse out  your morning dishes. Do not leave them in the sink because dried egg yolk is an absolute bitch to remove.
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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
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22 Responses to Not Over, Easy.

  1. Elise Bauer says:

    Ah Michael, would we all have Jeeves to make us a soft boiled egg in the morning! Happy New Year my friend. As always, your words make me smile, and sometimes even spit up milk through my nose. Love you.

  2. Anne says:

    Happy new year. Welcome back. 2020 has gotten off to a shaky start. Hope there are better days ahead.

  3. Kristine Angelo says:

    Hi Michael,

    Happy New Year, I also make soft boiled eggs and eat them properly in egg cups with toast cut into “soldiers” for dipping. My method is to cover eggs with cold water, and when they start a gentle rolling boil, time them for exactly 3 minutes, take out and insert at once into the egg cups, have the toast soldiers ready, tap off the top of the egg and enjoy…Perfect every time.
    I so look forward to your Essays!

    • Hello, Kristine.

      I thought about referring to the toast batons as “soldiers”, but then promptly forgot all about it. I also considered discussing varying cooking times for the eggs, but then thought, “Well, I like a five minute egg, so I’ll just put that.” I’ll give a three minute one a go the next time and see how I like it. I definitely have no patience for six minute eggs.

      And I shall give you more essays in the future. Thank you very much for reading!

  4. Lynne Rees says:

    Oooh – only 5 minutes? And you didn’t have any sloppy white? I really can’t deal with sloppy white or anything close to the gelatinous shiver of an almost-not-sloppy-white. But I admit I am a hard woman to please when it comes to a soft boiled egg. Happy New Year. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

  5. Susan says:

    I haven’t had a soft boiled egg since I was a child which was a long, long time ago. Thank you for the humorous instructions. What surprised me is that you do not eat the white part.

    Thank you for posting and Wishing you good fortune in the New Year!

  6. Linda says:

    I’ve always said the soft boiled egg is woefully under appreciated. It is a lovely and comforting way to start – or end – a day. And since we need more comfort and love these days, this is a perfect post. Missed reading you. Happy New Year.

  7. David Leite says:

    Welcome back, sir. You have been missed.

  8. Nikke says:

    Happy New Year, and welcome back. I’ve missed reading your postings!

  9. Amanda says:

    So happy you are back.always a joy to see a post from you.

  10. Carrie says:

    Oh Michael, I’m so happy to see your new post! Just today, I was thinking about posting on the last one, to ask how you were doing.

  11. Jan Morrison says:

    I’m late to the party! Here you are with your eggs and your soldiers (I love a bread in uniform) and already to get nutritized and I’m just sipping my coffee in my PJs, my eyes all sleepy, and my mind full of dream fragments. This is my idea of the perfect party – no driving on icy roads, wearing soft things, making my eggs just like I like them and reading my book when I didn’t feel like talking.
    Michael, you are the ideal host – this decade is off to a wonderful start!

  12. Mary says:

    Happy New year! So happy to read your post. The year has had a rocky start for me but, I’m hoping it starts turning around soon. I so agree with you about not trying to schedule a breakdown.Mine refuse to abide by schedules. I think I’ll give that soft boiled egg a whirl, I don’t believe I’ve ever had one. This year will be a year of firsts for me. Fingers crossed it goes well!

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