My Eggs

carton-of-brown-eggs“How do you boil an egg?” my wife asked.

The question shocked me.

Granted, I do most of the cooking because I am retired and she still works, but how could she have forgotten something as simple as that?

Use it or lose it; I guess.

“You really don’t know how to boil an egg?” I asked.

“You misunderstand the question,” she said, “I asked how YOU boil eggs.”

I had to think about that.

Well, you start with eggs and water, then I suppose a pot and a stove are involved somehow and after a while, Voila, you have hard boiled eggs.

“In other words,” she said, “you don’t know how to properly boil an egg.”

“Is there a proper way?”

“Of course, there is a proper way to do everything.”

And right there is the root of 90% of our conflicts. Her upbringing compels her to do what she is supposed to do, the way she is supposed to do it.

I just wing it.

I do that because I am utterly incapable of following directions. If something calls for stepping logically from A to B, I will eventually get to B but not without first visiting G, W and several letters that are not even in the Latin alphabet.

I am not completely sure why I do this. I have been told it has something to do with attention deficit disorder and while that may be true, I have no trouble focusing intensely on things I am interested in and that rarely includes stumbling directly from A to B.

Instead, I begin thinking, why A?

And whats up with B, anyway?

And don’t W look interesting?

Then I start wondering, how does all this alphabet business work?

But the fastest way to get knocked off the tracks is to wonder what this thing is supposed to be like when I am done.

Instructions never tell you that.

For instance, have you ever had a recipe tell you what something is supposed to taste like?  Can words even describe what delicious is?

But to be fair, most of the time, instructions work.

If by working, you mean so-so.

It is experience that delivers Wow!

I truly believe that much of the dissatisfaction of our modern age comes from doing things the proper way without properly knowing what it is we want to do.

Which brings us back to eggs.

I got thinking, if there is a proper way to hard boil eggs, maybe I should know that. So I Googled: How to hard boil eggs and read the instructions off to my wife.

“That’s not the way I was taught,” she said.

Then holding up an egg, she explained, “this is what happens if you do it that way. See? The egg white sticks to the shell and makes it almost impossible to peel.”

“Uh darling,” I told her “that happens to be one of the eggs you boiled last week.”

Author: Almost Iowa

41 thoughts on “My Eggs”

  1. I admit I’m one of those weird people who actually reads the manual up front, possibly to save time later and possibly because I had to write a bunch of them over my career and have sympathy for the manual writer. (Unless it’s poorly written. There’s a special place in hell for those guys.) Of course, this doesn’t require I do what the manual says…

    In our house, the wife boils the eggs. Amazing how many arguments division of labor prevents.

  2. I’m a lot like your wife and my husband is a lot like you. After over 27 years of marriage, we balance each other out. Nevertheless, oftentimes, I wish I was more like my husband. I think his outlook on life, in general, is more positive than mine.

  3. When I was about eight years old, my father taught my sisters and I the exact right way to cook eggs, including scrambled, fried and hard boiled. Because there was, of course, only one right way to do that. It was years before I began experimenting with other methods that sometimes failed, and other times resulted in eggs that were unconventional but absolutely delicious.

  4. I’m the same way with winging it. When I step into the kitchen to cook, eggs or otherwise, my husband says something about “the mad scientist.” LOL. It’s true of most everything else I do too!

  5. Actually…. the older the egg, the harder it is to peel (regardless of when it was cooked). I just learned that this year. And directions… I’m with you – they’re the last resort if winging it fails. 🙂

  6. Okay, there are so many conversations just barely under the surface here I don’t know what to respond to. 🙂 I’ve been know to follow directions but I also wing it. When my husband cooks, he follows the directions exactly. If it says ‘rest’ for x minutes, he sets a timer. I get a spoon and dish it up. 🙂

    1. Okay, there are so many conversations just barely under the surface here I don’t know what to respond to.

      Hopefully, if I write my essays well, that is the way they should turn out.

  7. Oh my goodness – a shell will always stick to the egg if you don’t use a traditional 3 minute egg timer that is turned once for a 6 minute hard boil. These modern egg timers (such as the kitchen clock) that don’t use sand are nothing short of culinary-disastrous.

  8. We’ve had this very same discussion about how to hard boil an egg. He does it his way. I do it mine. The end result is a hard-boiled egg, sometimes with a greenish yolk (yuck), sometimes not. I’ve heard the sticky shell relates to freshness.

    Maybe we shouldn’t think about some things too much.

  9. I’ve heard storing them in a damp, airtight container helps with sticking shells. Best solution for me: Peel & eat immediately!

    1. Eat immediately!

      I should have a t-shirt that says that.

      Clerk: Do you want you candy-bar in the bag.
      Me: Nope, I doubt if it will make it to the door.

  10. After 30 years my wife and I finally came to an agreement on eggs. Cold water, eggs, bring to boil, cover, turn off heat, let stand 15 minutes, flush with cold water. This was after trying hundreds of combos. There is peace in our valley. Good post, Greg.

    1. THAT is precisely how the HOWTO said to do it and it’s wrong. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, I tell you. I will never admit that it is right.


      Ahh, I fell so much better now. Thanks John. 🙂 🙂

  11. A to B? Where’s the fun in that? They didn’t give us 26 letters to have us constantly working the first two or three. My wife cooks the eggs in a pan (not any pan, that pan) with just wet paper towels in the bottom. Shell never sticks to the egg. I’m sure if I tried this, I would set the house on fire.

    1. That is an odd way to cook an egg – but who knows, maybe it IS the proper way…… which means guys like us should never try it. It is way over our heads. 🙂

  12. At one time, I too, was an A to B person . It would seem that my alphabet has become less organized over time. I have now classified myself as an A to Z person. Start with A and get to Z on the route you know best(AKA an “end results” guy. I have learned much about myself and other people by adopting this method. People can teach you a lot if you stop and listen.

    1. It’s a funny thing but I have actually gotten more organized (and sequential) over time. I guess we never stop maturing (hopefully) and perhaps growth comes in the direction that is opposite of our inclinations. 🙂

  13. I don’t care how you get there. If you find a way to boil an egg so that it peels easily, let me know. I’m still wandering around in that particular wilderness, looking for anything that works. In a few years, I’ll be able to publish “One Hundred Ways to Boil an Egg.” It might sell.

      1. Hmmm… I found the article interesting, but a little overblown. I could be wrong, of course.

        As for a polemic tome on eggs, I’m much fonder of eggs than of polemics (or tomes, for that matter), so I’ll leave that one to someone else.

  14. Tread and crack carefully. I think that difference of how to do things affects many of us. That path from A to B is definitely optional for some of us. And so is the path to duck and make up after pointing out who boiled the last batch of hard boiled eggs.

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