Eggs. I am not much of an egg fan… choosing first not to eat eggs… and then, if I have to, preferring them scrambled, so the yolk (AKA-chick embryo) is barely visible among the jumbled egg-heap. For me, eggs fall into the “Foods I’ve thought a lot about” No Eat Guideline. I think it’s disturbing, cracking open a shell and having a gooey matter fall out, knowing full-well it was supposed to be a healthy-grown chicken… yet, it’s time was cut short in the life cycle. And maybe I’m crazy… but honestly, whenever I am around eggs all I think about is abortion. Strange. But to me, it is taking a life… a baby’s life (be it baby human or baby chick) and stopping it suddenly before that life has had a chance to mature. …By the way, for all those my-side-on-abortion-is-the-only-one-that’s-right minds, I’m not on any side; I’m in the middle so my comments here shouldn’t cause a fuss. Anyway, abortion’s the last thing I want to talk about in my food blogs so let’s move on…
It should come as no surprise by now the next application dealt with eggs. Season three, Episode one: “The Egg-Files I.” It should also come as no shock this is the infamous application I failed. So here it is, out in the open for anyone to laugh, gawk… and hopefully help. I’m taking a big step forward admitting this… but I was wrong. I guess I knew cooking can be hard… and I know only a few people become master chefs… but… I truly didn’t expect to fail at it, so my egg defeat came as an utter shock. I felt like I was slapped in the face. I told anyone that would listen, “I believe as long as good directions are given, anyone can learn anything.” But that’s the trick — good directions. I fully believe (maybe in my warped mind) that if I want to become a chef, I can… with good teaching. Knowing I failed, this may lead you to believe Alton lead me astray… but I don’t want to think that way. Alton’s held my hand this entire time; why would he let go now? The answer’s undetermined, I suppose. I do know I’m not the first person to follow directions. In fact, my mentality about anything — be it something I believe I’m knowledgeable in… or something I know nothing about — is (as my family says) “it’s my way or the highway.” …But when I cook, I am anal about following the rules. So, in the end, I don’t know who let who down… and honestly, it doesn’t matter, because I have to learn to pick up the egg… or skillet again… and figure out what went wrong.
Alton writes, “When people tell me they want to start learning to cook, I say, ‘Eggs.'” I was excited to hear this. I felt like that one sentence was a challenge (and I love challenges). At that point, eggs sounded like something that could not be easily mastered… yet, when overtaken, the cook became better… moved up in the culinary world. And I, I shook Alton’s hand and accepted the challenge.
The first egg application: Eggs Over Easy. Gross! As I said at the top, if I have to pick, I’d choose scrambled eggs… with the very last egg-cooking-technique being eggs over easy. My gag reflex kicks in every time I see a person “pop” the yolk with their fork… causing the warm, yellow nastiness to spill forth… only for them to then sop it up with bread. So nasty. I prefer my food cooked. I already took a huge step eating a medium-temperature steak… but this? If eggs had temperatures like steaks, the yolk would be rare. Nasty, nasty, nasty. I confess, the application calls for two eggs… and I planned to give James both, because eggs over easy are his choice (I think it’s safe to say whatever I’m squeamish about, he’s drooling over). Yes, yes; I was going to try the eggs, but let’s not push it past the one-mouthful morsel. Remember: Baby steps.
Software: An eight-inch nonstick skillet. Heeere’s where the first problems arose. I am so thrilled I want to cook… I sometimes can’t wait for my two paychecks a month. As I already told you, I’m the definition of “impatient.” James was at my house one morning, we were hungry, breakfast sounded scrumptious… and oh! Low and behold, eggs are next in my book! It was too good to be true… except the software, that is. I didn’t own any eight-inch skillet… and (not being a morning person) I wasn’t about to run to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase one. I thought, “I have this grand ten-inch skillet just sittin’ here… waiting to be used this morning. And know what, James? Two-inches really can’t make much of a difference in cooking, so I’m gonna use just that.” Done deal.
Writing this now, I know I should have realized. It’s like watching horror movies and yelling at the girl not to go upstairs or in the basement because, “How the heck are you going to get out of the house, stupid girl?” And that’s what I was — stupid. I should have heeded Alton’s advice and cooked with the right utensils. *Sigh* Either way, here lays my cooking experience…
Problem Two: What the heck is foam?
Alton calls for butter to be added to the skillet, which is on low heat. He says, “When the butter stop foaming…” I can take my next stop and drop the eggs in. Here’s a problem though. Foaming? What is that? James and I got into an argument determining what “foaming” meant. Alton, there was no foam. I felt stupid not being able to find it. On the other hand, James was getting impatient and claiming, “It really doesn’t matter. The pan’s over low heat. The butter’s melted. Put in the eggs.” After several minutes of deliberation, I went for it… whether I should have or not, I did.
Problem Three: Is it ever going to set?
I followed all steps up to get me to this point: “… still over low heat, for one to one-and-a-half minutes… when it is fully set but not hard, it’s time to flip.” Fully set. What does this mean? Sure, he explains, “…examine the white for opaqueness”… but here’s the problem. The skillet is over low heat… which I kept, because Alton has to be right. But honestly, I felt my hair graying… my skin wrinkling… waiting for this “fully set” egg to appear. And appear it didn’t. Not after one-and-a-half-minutes… not after five… not at all. So, I decided because the egg was ever so slightly less opague, I would flip it. Still, “fully set”… I have no clue what that means. James said the heat needed to be higher; I said it needed to be on longer (despite Alton’s time advice)… Either way, our eggs never “set.”
Problem Four: Flipping.
Alton says flipping the egg was going to be the hard part; well, already I’d had two problems so, of course, this would be even more difficult. He describes how to flip the egg… and makes it sound relatively simple. I even practiced in an empty pan. Once I felt I had the movement down, it came time for the real thing. Instead, all I succeeded in doing was shaking the dish so hard the egg whites broke into several fragments and went everywhere in the skillet. Here’s my question: How do you flip eggs?! I’m still frustrated at flipping. I tried to flip the two eggs again, only to fail… and realize if they weren’t “set” (although how to get to set, I’m not sure), they aren’t going to flip; I will just destroy them trying. So, in my fury, I scrambled those two eggs… got rid of them… and grabbed a new one. I started at the beginning of the application… experienced the exact darn problems… and still tired to flip again. Another fail. I scrambled that third egg too… and went in on a fourth. I was hell-bent and determined to flip at least one egg during this application. The fourth… failed again! Four eggs. All four eggs would not set. All four eggs sloshed into different gooey segments when I unsuccessfully tried to flip. In the end, I ran out of eggs and never flipped anything.
I’m reminding you, I said I had a ten-inch nonstick skillet. Granted, chefs can probably flip any food in any pan… but can a beginning cook? I know I messed up not getting a smaller skillet (PS-As we speak, I have an order for an All-Clad eight-inch nonstick skillet)… but should it really have turned out this foiled? Or, did I mess up not knowing when my butter was finished foaming? Again — What. is. foam?! Ooor, did all my problems stem from not having the egg “fully set?” This, my fellow Bloggers, is where I need your help. Has anyone flipped an egg? Help me. Because right now I think my problem is all of the above… and who knows, maybe none of the above at this rate.
What I am sure of is eggs have become my arch nemesis. And I can’t move onto any new application because of my promise; so I’m stuck on those damned eggs over easy… which means, the next pay check, it’s a huge carton of eggs… and one small nonstick skillet. Oh, and add onto the To Do List: A wrist, well practiced in flipping techniques. So, until next time, eggs! You’ll be mine! …Hopefully…
— To be continued —