Boiled Eggs: How Do You Eat Yours?

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The ideal ending to a bluesy Sunday. You are far too lazy and far too depressed to even consider cooking anything that requires more than three ingredients. Frankly, the idea is absurd.

Thank chickens for eggs. Easy, simple, beautiful eggs.

Of course, an egg is not an egg without soldiers. All in a row. With identical suits of black armour. It has to be my mate, Marmite. For those who are too rich, too cultured for poor man’s soldiers, spears of asparagus are the next best thing.

Either way, these troopers are defenceless, doomed to a digestible fate. A fate inextricably linked to the consistency of the yolk. More fiercely debated than the philosophical question of ‘the-chicken-or-the-egg’, the correct method of boiling the perfect egg is hotly contested. It has become, courtesy of Delia Smith, an art.

Whether you are, by nature, hardcore, mellow or somewhere in between, we are all aiming for that ‘pierce-and-ooze’ quality that our brave little soldiers can paddle in.

Step one: water in pan.



The jury is out.

What you are more concerned with is how to get those delicately suicidal eggs out of the fridge and into the pan all in one piece, without burning the skin off your fingertips. Spoon them in, roll them in, catapult them in but for goodness sake do not allow them to crash against the bottom of the pan. The dubious crack that oozes white pus signals game over.

Two bald ovals bump and bubble like silly twins riding the dodgems.

Minutes on the clock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Timing is everything.

So is the eating.

Are you a Fisher or a Whittaker?

Egg eaters the world over will fall into one of two categories — Fisher or Whittaker.

If you are a Whittaker, like my grandfather, you will possess a merciless demeanour and a guillotine sharp knife. In manner of The Queen of Hearts, Whittakers wield their blade with a firm hand and emit a bloodcurdling “Off With His Head” as their target is struck.

A resounding crack of terracotta shell and it’s all over. Beheaded and bleeding sunshine, your victim awaits enemy invasion. Alas, your valiant soldiers meet a similar end, drowned in golden glue.

Or maybe, like my grandmother and the Fisher clan, you advocate a rather more nonviolent demonstration and commission mirror shine spoons instead.

Concave meets concave. Gentle tap. Carefully and with love, Fishers peel the jigsaw pieces away to reveal a milky moon. A smooth edge sinks into pale skin with ease, uncovering the roof of a golden pool for off-duty soldiers to bathe in.

Whittaker or Fisher, we all mourn the empty, melancholy shell.

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t manage it but you can. So, without hesitation, put Humpty Dumpty back together again with a condescending pout.

Scrambled. Poached. Boiled. Fried.

Sunny-side up. Sunny-side down.

Raw with meat. Chocolate and sweet.

How do you eat yours?

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