cooking

Huevos de Awesome

Beer: Not just for breakfast anymore.

No wait. This post isn’t about beer. For once.

Let’s talk about eggs. The great cornerstone of all cooking, the barometer against which all kitchen staples compare themselves.

The only legitimate reason for chickens to not live long enough to provide me more buffalo wings.

The only aborted fetuses that both sides of the aisle can agree on.

Heck, you can even use them to determine if you’re taking good drugs.

Who doesn’t love going out to breakfast? We don’t go often, but once or twice a season, almost always on Saturdays, not Sundays with the plebs, mind you. But bow howdy, plant me in front of a plate dripping with sausage gravy and hollandaise sauce, complete with the same number of calories I usually ingest over a full 24 hours, including that twelve pack of beer I’m probably burning off from the night before, and I’m in for a golden day. 

At least until 10 am, when I’m headed for an hour on the shitter.

But seriously, how hard is it to make those eggs over medium? It’s the kryptonite of every line cook. Over easy comes out like snot, while over hard is a brick of chalk. Over medium is named thusly for a reason. Cooked whites, runny yolk. Instead, they overcook it before the flip, making the yolk about 70-100% hard. On a good day. The other day I had a rock-hard yolk with snotty whites. How the hell does that happen? Medium means BETWEEN hard and easy, not 50% hard and 50% easy.

I could make it myself, after all. I’m paying you because I’m hungover. Or I’m about to be.

I can’t do poaching. Or hollandaise. Although I could’ve come up with a better name than Eggs Benedict. Greatest traitor in American history gets a yummy breakfast treat named after him? Cause it’s got Canadian bacon in it, and he tried to turn West Point over to the Canucks? 

Corned beef hash is about 50/50. I could probably do it, but damn, that’s a lot of effort. Better to get it at a restaurant. 

That’s what I enjoy most about eating breakfast out. So I can get something that’s a pain in the ass to make at home. It’s not like dinner, where they’re probably using better ingredients than I’ve got at home. The eggs and bacon and potatoes, I could do at home.

Some people order scrambled eggs out at breakfast. I cannot fathom such a thing. Why the hell would you pay ten or twenty bucks for something with such minimal effort? O By the time I get in my car, drive here and twiddle my thumbs, I could’ve scrambled eggs for ten people. h, and a sausage patty on the side? You mean the thing that you throw in a pan and flip once? Done!

While I technically can make a proper over medium egg, I’ll be honest and say it’s not 100%. The yolk ruptures on the flip, or sometimes on the initial crack. Sometimes I even do the overcooking that I malign the line cooks for. Then again, I make it once a month, not five hundred times every Sunday.

But scrambling? They take five minutes and are impossible to mess up. 

Most of the time, the scrambles I make at home are better than whatever they’re offering up at Breakfast R’ Us. It’s usually called “Whatever Leftovers We Have Scramble/Omelet.” Taco beef or fajita chicken? Throw it in. Pork chops and apple slices? Absolutely! Mac and cheese? Tator tots? You’re skeptical, but it all works, so long as you have some shredded cheese. 

Such is the majesty of eggs.

I have similar issues with pancakes and waffles. Pancakes aren’t tough, so if you want me to purchase them, you better jazz it up, make it something better than I could make at home. Coconut? I’d love some. Nuts and oats and shit? Sure, sign me up. 

Although probably not shit. Not that I see it on the menu often. Probably at Denny’s.

Waffles, on the other hand, are a pain in the ass to make. Even worse, I have to dirty a different dish than usual. A cooking device that I only use for one thing, so it’s way the hell in the back of the cabinet. Pull out the slow cooker, pull out the InstaPot. Move over the popcorn maker. Then I’m probably going to have to clean it once BEFORE I even cook with it. There’s a reason no menu features a dust-layered waffle. Not even Denny’s.

Then the waffle maker’s going to sit out on my counter for five days until I get around to its second cleaning. Probably right around the time I need the counter space for the slow cooker. 

But even when I order a waffle at a restaurant, it ought to come with an egg on the side. I’ll even allow scrambled.

Eggs (non-scrambled) belong with biscuits and gravy, too. Runny yolk mixing with sausage gravy together is the closest mere mortals can come to understanding the divine. The fact I usually have to order the egg on the side is criminal. I know the biscuits and gravy have a million calories, so they don’t want to add more, but come on! 

The point is that eggs were made for breakfast and breakfast was made for eggs and never the twain shall meet. Scratch that. Always the twain should meet. As long as I have substantial bathroom time, and maybe a twenty-mile jog, blocked out the rest of the day. 

You know where eggs cease to be wonderful? Recipes.

Eggs become such bullies, such persnickety little divas as soon as you start combining them with flour, milk, and oil.

I’m sorry you’re no longer the headliner, Mr. Egg, but must I really separate your whites from your yolks? Then whisk one whilst folding the other? Who the fuck died and made you Queen Bee? Just because omelets are French doesn’t give you the right to live high and mighty like Marie Antoinette!

What’s that? She was Austrian? And was executed? Huh. Maybe not such a fun life. The parties were fun before the whole execution thing, though. But aside from THAT, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

My biggest problem with eggs in recipes, however, is how poorly divisible one egg is. We have these wonderful measurement increments that can be doubled or halved, tripled or quartered, at will. My measuring cup has notches down to one-eighth of a cup and everybody knows that one-sixteenth of a cup is a tablespoon. Super easy. 

Yeah, yeah, metric system, blah, blah. How easy is it to cut your ten deciliters into fourths. I can sort of be talked into metric when it comes to distances, but in the kitchen, give me imperial units, because it’s very rare I need to cut a recipe in tenths. 

Although I’ll be the first to admit that three teaspoons per tablespoon is stupid. It completely defeats my argument about factors of two.

It doesn’t matter, because if the recipe’s got eggs in it, you ain’t dividing that shit up by anything other than the number of eggs. Recipe makes fifty cookies but only requires one egg? Then you better call some friends over – you ain’t making less than fifty.

Like the banana in the smoothie, that egg is a bastard of a bully. 

The pancake recipe I use calls for three eggs. Halves and quarters I can get behind, even tenths if I must sully myself with the metrics, but, like with teasponns and tablespoons, thirds are an abomination. You can’t even write them as proper decimals.

My family requires two-thirds of this particular recipe. So when it calls for a 1/2 cup, I now have to stretch the limits of my math prowess, carrying various numerators and denominators. Two-thirds of one-half? That’s like mixing hockey and football. Let’s see, one half of a soccer game is 45 minutes, 2/3 of which is 30 minutes, which is 1/3 of 90 minutes. Carry the seventeen and 1/3 of a cup is easy enough to measure. 

Or, you know, they could’ve written the recipe assuming 2 or 4 eggs.

Where this recipe legitimately catches me, every fucking time, is the milk. The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups. Want some fun figuring out two-thirds of 1.25? The best I can figure, being a history teacher instead of a math teacher, is to cross multiply 5/4 by 2/3, which gives me 10/12. Sure I can simplify that down to 5/6, but I’m still going to have to eyeball that one. Measuring cups might have a 1/3 on there, but they’re not adding smaller gradations. 

Because recipes aren’t meant to be divided by 2/3!

Perhaps I should be more skeptical of this recipe. It also calls for one tablespoon of sugar, but three teaspoons of baking powder. Why two measurements for the same amount? Would the metric version of this recipe read. 15 mL of sugar as opposed to three 5 mL of baking powder? 

It’s like a test you’re destined to fail. 

World War II ended in:
a) 1945 
b) the year after 1944

Wait, European theater or Pacific theater? And do we have to convert the year to metric?

At least this recipe doesn’t require separating the yolk and the whites. The recipe I use for waffles does, and I swear I did the math once and it required 13/12 of a cup of something. And that’s on top of unburying the waffle machine.

Go fuck yourself, egg. You ain’t all that.

Unless you’re properly poached on top of an eggs benedict. Then you can surrender my fort to the British any day of the week.