As a cook, it is not unusual for me to find myself uncomfortably perched on the pointy bits of the dilemma which involves guessing an egg’s age. Not unlike ourselves, eggs of different ages behave very differently and I find that I can misjudge the age and behaviour of an egg quite as easily as I can misjudge the age and behaviour of my fellow human beings Living in the country has been a great help to me in respect of both of these failings as the date of an egg’s emergence is noted in pencil on the shell and there are not many people. However, individual egg dating is only evident when I buy, beg or borrow eggs from one of our neighbouring farms which is not every day…if indeed that was the case, I would have an egg mountain or be egg bound, which sounds like Westward’ho but isn’t and what few people there are here would hide from me which has set me wondering if there are in fact, or more precisely in hiding, more people here than I imagine. The two ages of egg that interest me are the age of easy separation, which in the human only depends on having someone from whom to separate, and the age of hard boiledness which is the eggage when the shell will peel off with ease after boiling..only Caligula or H.Lector would be an authority on the human equivalent. My relationship with egg white, as I have mentioned at other times, is strained and unreasonable: it is not unlike Henry VIII’s fickle attitude to wives’ heads and their continued attachment. There are boiled eggs, the mere sight of whose “white” will induce gagging, whereas I can stand at a bar on a market morning sipping a glass of muscadet and happily chomp on a lightly salted, hard boiled egg, a small basket of which it is not unusual to find perched on the “zinc”. The eggs that you see in the opening still life of this post, dated 15/7, would, by yesterday, have been ideal to be hard boiled but, following an unerring sense that allows me to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I chose to ignore their clearly marked age and treat them as adolescent ova whose albumen and yolks would be only too willing to separate from each other and in so doing allow me to transform one half of their eggy gestalt into soft sweet pillows of meringue. It is hard to imagine that any ambitious young egg would be able to resist such a career move but, as you know, these were not thrusting youngsters but old dodderers whose albumen and yolks were bound together for eternity, to whom separation was anathema. Never was the adage of the impossibility of making an omelette without breaking eggs so clearly illustrated, and that is what they inevitably became:a perfect liaison of their elements bound together with fresh herbs from the garden together with tomatoes, whose scented ripeness declared them unmistakably as fruit and hot, sweet butter. An omelette is the perfect solution for a person who plays roulette with eggs..
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