Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Good Egg

Yesterday Joe turned 30 years old. So I thought it was the perfect day to try to poach some eggs.

So I did.

I read the recipe on how to poach an egg and I asked around and was surprisingly encouraged not to try it, that it was indeed an insurmountable task and that it simply would not work. But it has been done, I thought, many many many times. Why would it not work for me? A scientist in training, whose strength is patience and a gentle approach.

I would not let an egg make a fool out of me.

I boiled a flat pan of water and then cracked a very fresh brown egg into a separate bowl (that I usually use for cereal). Then put the cereal bowl down into the boiling water and let the egg slip into the pan, without much fanfare or agitation, although I was quite stressed at this point, guests were coming in a matter of minutes and this was my first time doing it.

Almost immediately after the egg touched the water, its transformation started. And in moments I knew that I was no longer a cook, or a scientist, but a magician. The egg white turned opaque and it swayed in the water like a diaphanous ghost, or a beautiful gossamer jellyfish, defying the laws of what we usually know to be real. Feeling confident in my new powers, I put in several eggs and they all danced in unison, bubbling and waving in celebration of the Birthday of Joe. We watched in amazement.

Then we took them all out and placed them on the smoked salmon covered toasted english muffins that sat and waited for their eggy miracle. I poured a little dill hollandaise sauce over all of them. The entire time I was on edge of sanity. But the eggs knew better.

The guests arrived in moments and cleaned their plates faster than the eggs took to poach. It was a celebration of all things that began as an egg, be it fertilized and born human 30 years ago, or layed from a chicken and poached with poise and hope.

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