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.
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.
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.
• 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you have a gentleman’s gentleman to do this for you, you may ignore steps 1 through 3.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat until all of the yolk has been consumed and ignore the remaining, solidified white that still clings to the inside of the shell.
- Ring to have your tray removed.
- 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.
- 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.