Monday, January 11, 2010


Eggs are a very personal matter said my friend Dina the other day. We were talking about my love of a fried egg on greens or on leftover reheated dal, or on anything that catches my eye really. From there we went on to talk about omelets and scrambled eggs.

I don't scramble eggs often, in fact really never. But a couple of weeks ago I was staying with friends in the country, and bacon and scrambled eggs was on the breakfast agenda. "Sure, I'll do the eggs if you'd like," I found myself saying. And then I realised that as a non-scrambler of eggs, I was operating under false pretences. Ah well, these are close friends, so why not try it anyway, expertise or not? (And my friends have, over the years, become very tolerant of my approximateness!)

I broke six eggs (good farm eggs) into a glass bowl, whisked them, then added a generous quarter cup of cream and whisked some more. In went salt, pepper, a dash of soy sauce... not much really. I heated a mix of olive oil and butter and tossed in a little chopped green onion, then poured in the whisked eggs. I did the slow pulling of the cooked edges inward method, then at the almost last-minute, sprinkled on some small pieces of smoked salmon (leftovers from the night before, lightly tossed with a little lemon juice first).

The egg was lush and tender, still moist in many places, but not runny. And it was delicious!

Hurrah for the cook who takes a chance! It seems to me that if you love eggs, as I do, and have confidence in them, then you can't go far wrong. So take your preference for eggs and go forth with valour and determination! If others criticise your way with eggs, let them make their own. You know what you are good at, and you just go right ahead in your own way!

It's now January 13, the birthday of two good friends, precious, both of them... and tomorrow I catch a plane to fly to Thailand. It's a direct Toronto-HongKong flight on Air Canada, a thrilling route over the pole. This time last year I wrote about the flight and also about the January 14 date, because it is my father's long-ago death day. And this year I'll actually be flying through the air in a kind of timeless limbo on the 14th. I'm glad. I don't feel the weight of the "surly bonds of earth" as the poet refers to them. But I do love the between-places feeling once I am fully en route.

There's also something about the turning of the year that is freeing, don't you think? As we enter the year of the Tiger, my birth year, and wonderfully associated with strength and good fortune and energy, I find I'm feeling revitalised and ready for whatever comes next. I hope you are too.

POSTSCRIPT: But of course there's no way that anyone can be ready or should have to be ready for the kind of extreme tragedy that the people of Haiti are living through right now. It seems from reports that the most effective way that outsiders can be of help is to donate money, rather than material help such as clothing; the time for that will come later.


Micheline said...

Dear Naomi, you and your friend are so right about cooking eggs for others. In all my life as a cook I always let others cook their own eggs even my husband. I prepare delicious omelet, soufflé etc but when it comes to fried egg it gets touchy so that's the way I dealt with. Then I know nobody worries to get an overcooked or undercooked egg.

Poor Man's Feast said...

Hi Naomi, I loved--LOVED--this post. We are lucky enough to have a neighbor who is raising chickens, and the fresh eggs are just remarkable. They're the world's most perfect food. Travel safely.

robin Hardy said...

Hi Naom, I read in Julia Child's life in France book that the Paris Cordon Bleu instructed her not to whisk eggs before scrambling but to gently fold them together then pour them into hot pan with melted butter and let them sit for about 3 minutes, then whisk them while moving pan quickly over stove element. Pour cream into eggs to stop the cooking and serve...delish, almost custardy. Yours sound super too.

naomi said...

Fun to have these comments: On the Julia/France technique, yes, the eggs should sit quietly in the pan, but then I don't like that whisking in the pan. I find it too jumbly. And Dina, whose comment started this blogpost, always sieves her eggs before scrambling them. I think if I whisk them enough and add cream they are smooth enough, silky, without being custard. But see, here we are talking about matters of preference, and it is SUCH a specific and personal thing, isn't it?

robin said...

My goof....

Oops! I did not whisk eggs in pan but scrambled them quickly before adding cream. Apologies to Cordon Bleu and Naomi!