Isn’t there something so fundamentally amazing about an egg? Eggs top my list of favourite ingredients (yes, I have a list of favourite ingredients. Don’t you?). And lots of other people must think this way, too; have you noticed that many cookbooks, especially old school sort of basic ones, devote a chapter to the egg and all its glorious possibilities? I know they want to teach you some cooking basics, but to me these chapters confirm … the joy of eggs.
If I’m feeling lazy, or too-tired-to-cook, or unwell, or just plain can’t-be-bothered, I still hear a sensible voice in my head (that sounds remarkably like my mother’s) saying ‘eat something or you’ll get sick and die’ (tough love, my mother). So I get out the carton of eggs.
Because eggs are nutritious, straightforward, neat, quick. Soft boiled eggs, two, are a favourite – just eggs in all their simple wondrousness. Just a smidgeon of salt and pepper to snuggle around the flavour of those two beautiful yolky globes. And soft-boiled eggs are like a hug from your mother when you’re tired or under the weather: comforting.
It’s a family tradition of ours to have eggs on Sunday for supper, though I’ve let this slide a little – largely because I sometimes have eggs for supper on Tuesday, or Friday. There is a secret smug pleasure in being a single girl and having eggs as your main meal during the week: ‘Oh, I wish I could do that!’ say paired-off friends who have to cook meat and two veg – A Proper Meal - every night for their males (I have been known to occasionally eat just cake for dinner and that elicits the exact same response).
Sometimes it’s boiled eggs (my preference is for soft to just-firm, never hard). Sometimes it’s folded eggs, as I think Bill Grainger does them, where they are lighly beaten with cream and gently moved around a small pan until they look like silky golden folds. I have those silicone egg poachers, and though I have had less success with them than I have hoped, I will persevere – because, as I said, sometimes an egg should be plain, without even cream or butter or oil. But then, a fried egg all crispy and slightly greasy around the edges is a pretty good thing to slide onto a piece of just-buttered wholegrain toast.
And it goes without saying that good egg meals can only be made with good eggs. My preference – my luck – is to have eggs from mum’s chooks. They look and taste so much better. But if the girls are off the lay then I buy moral, ethical eggs. Happy chooks are happy eggs.
What's your favourite way to eat eggs?