Jun 23, 2005

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

So a chicken and an egg are lying in bed, smoking cigarettes. The chicken turns to the egg and says "Well, I guess that settles THAT."

Consider, if you will, the egg. And if you won't, you might as well stop reading, because I'll be talking about eggs pretty much the rest of the post.

So. The egg. What a wonderously designed piece of work. A potential chicken, housed in a very thin shell made up of calcium that is produced by the chicken's own body. It has a stupendous bursting resistance (place an egg flat in your palm, and squeeze without pressing your fingers into it; you won't be able to break it.) It's oval shape is designed to evenly distribute crushing pressures evenly across it's surface, and it makes a great photographic subject (clamp one in a steel "C" clamp and snap to your heart's content...utterly fantastic!) It is a marvelous object d'art (take a flat rock and place a glass Coke bottle on it, lay two twigs and a flower on the rock in front of the bottle and place the egg standing broad side down on the top of the bottle and voila', Art!) and Nature was even thoughtful enough to design them so that they're tapered at both ends, so when a bird lays one their birdie wazoos don't slam shut.

*cluck cluck* *cluck cluck cluckcluck*



Utterly dreadful.

Used to toss at houses and cars to show both dislike and love, best of all they are incredibly delicious in a number of ways, both as a stand-alone dish (deviled eggs, scrambled for brekkie) or as a side-player in a bigger game (used as garnish on top of a spinach casserole, for instance.) You can even eat them raw if you like that sort of thing, or put them in an alcoholic drink ala The Redeye. And if you're Sylvester Stallone you can pop a few in a blender with some other icky stuff and drink the whole thing down.

The egg. Multi-faceted, incredibly talented, a master of physics properties, and darn cool to boot.

So why is it that I can't shell one to save my damned life?

Consider The Boiled Egg. Long a staple food of the picnic, as well as the brown-bag-lunch set, it's about as easy a dish to prepare as anything. Place egg(s) in pan. Fill with water, and boil. Shell, and eat. And I'll even give you a trick to try--don't like the yolk turning that horrid flat green colour after you've boiled your egg? Then do this--boil the eggs as you ordinarily would, but just when the water comes to a rolling boil turn off the fire and cover with the lid. The boiling hot water trapped under the lid and in the pot will finish boiling the egg for you (the water is, after all, still boiling hot,) but at a temperature just low enough that the yolk will not tarnish, and you'll have perfectly hard-boiled eggs in about 20 minutes which have beautiful, sunshine yellow yolks. You're welcome.

But see, the problem arises here--I can never peel a boiled egg properly. I mean, it's not rocket surgery, I can get the shell off, but I can never seem to get the shell off without tearing the egg to utter bits and pieces. I have tried letting them sit overnight in the fridge, I have tried peeling them the second they come out of the water (paid for that one with an afternoon's stay in the local burn ward) and I have even tried soaking them in cold water right after boiling so that the resulting temperature shock would somehow perhaps shrink the egg inside while leaving the shell bigger so that it would come off evenly and it didn't work either so there.


Eggs defeat me. The simplest package Nature ever devised, including fruits. And don't try and show me a banana, because bananas are silly and don't have that wonderous resistance to crushing pressure as well as a thousand and one other features. Just try squeezing a banana and see how far it gets you. Go ahead, I dare you. And who ever heard of a chicken laying a banana? And for that matter, eggs don't have silly songs made up about them that stick in your head forever. "Cellular, modular..." indeed. Pfui.

So why can't I get the shell off while leaving the whites in one smooth piece? I am forever prevented from making beautiful deviled eggs because I can't shell one properly. I mean honestly, who wants a deviled egg that has a big flat spot on it. "Ooh yes, I'd like the one there with the silly tilt to it, the one that seems to be forever falling over." Feh.

Nature, you defeat me yet again.

1 comment:

Regal Monkey said...

try adding a little salt and a little garden-variety vinegar to the water you boil the eggs in. I do both, and mine don't stick... not sure if it's the salt or the vinegar that helps. Try experimenting maybe? "The incredible edible egg." (remember those commercials in the 80s where these hands would sweep over one another to reveal one of the hands gently holding a perfect little egg while someone sang that tagline? ... somehow that sticks in my head.)