Opinion

New thoughts on an old favorite: hard boiled eggs

Let’s start with boiled eggs.

To make sure I knew what I was talking about, I went down the hall to the kitchen to boil an egg. I whipped out my trusty saucepan given me by my mother (one of my parents’ wedding presents that’s still kicking). I filled it about two thirds of the way up (enough to have extra water for a cup of tea before I dunk the eggs) and set it on the front-right burner.

My arm found a pretty cup and the Kenyan black tea a good friend brought to me from her faraway home as I awaited the heating water. I poured off some water into the blueberry painted mug and watched the bag bob and release black ribbons melting into water. Tea steeping, water boiling again, I plopped an egg into the hot tub—then another, remembering how delicious they are. Seven minutes on the clock to wait. I love to wait for things such as this. I think I have spent as much time as others have spent brushing their teeth or reading the newspaper in a lifetime, squatting in front of the oven or tending a pot on the stove.

There are as many methods for boiling eggs as there are for skinning cats. I used the one a friend told me last week. My momma learned on our trip to Germany this past summer that one should put the eggs in cold water in the pan and bring them to boil from there. Once the water reaches the chatty 212 degrees, they’re done. My seven minutes of cooking in already-boiling water got me eggs over easy (or perhaps over medium). Great news! One of the things that kept me away from eggs cooked this way in the past was their chalky yolk. These were the consistency of slightly warm peanut butter, felt like velvet, and tasted like butter.

My eyes were only just opened to the marvels of the boiled egg. Previously, I had only thought of them invariably linked to the stinky egg salad my dad makes periodically or the potato salad I once repelled or the deviled eggs I only recently tried. I’ve a history of picky eating. Last week was the first time I’d truly tasted them—and on my own prerogative. I ended up eating four, dripping Cholula hot sauce and buttery yolk down my chin, for supper.

Book worms, studiers, dorm-livers, shut-ins, rejoice! You could make these in your little hot-water kettle you use for Ramen. Also, upon a little reflection and simple math, I found that supper costing me less than a quarter. That is, if you don’t factor in the cost of the hotsauce and if you buy your eggs from Aldi.

I’ve been surprised time and again with the simplest of foods and the humblest of ingredients. With each new adventure—tasting something I should have tasted before, I shake my fist at my picky childhood. But there is something fun about a belated exposure to new (or newly appreciated) little treasures. I can’t wait for the next one.