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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Boiling An Egg - The Skinny

I have chosen, in honor of Easter, to write about boiling eggs, which we all know is a major element in celebrating Jesus rising from the dead, lo those many years ago. We boil eggs, we color them with festive inks and dips, then we hire an extremely intelligent and ambitious rabbit to hide them, so that our kids can search them out then retreat, with an elevated sense of accomplishment, to their teeming baskets of chocolate. What better way to celebrate the divine resurrection of the Son of God than with colorful eggs, an imaginary rabbit and chocolate?

None that I can think of, but I digress.

Just this once, "Boiling An Egg" is not just a clever metaphor for having sex - I am actually addressing the procedures and complicated calculations necessary for dropping an egg into some hot water and its subsequent retrieval for consumption.

I have long been vexed by the inconsistency of the boiled egg - at least the eggs I boil, anyhow. I can boil a half dozen eggs from the same carton, in the same water, for the same amount of time and when the time comes to eat them, I find that some peel as willingly as a stripper at a bachelor party, yet others hang onto their shells like a one-legged Portuguese fisherman clinging to an overturned bay skiff. In a rainstorm in shark-infested waters. Having just seen the movie "Jaws". You get the point.

In a rare turn of events, I have done some research on the matter of the egg-boiling. I had always simply thrown the eggs into some water, set them to boil and turned off the heat ten minutes later, let them cool, tossed them in the fridge and enjoyed their deliciousness. The eggs seemed to cook just fine - if only they would peel uniformly, my life would be complete. Then, I had the misfortune of seeing someone on the television who informed me that there were more delicate intricacies to the egg-boiling, all related to the three basic tenets: boiling, timing and cooling. That was when my life turned into an egg-boiling nightmare.

Hmmm..., I thought. I figured that perhaps following some of these helpful hints might solve the mysterious inconsistency of the peels. I might finally be able to enjoy the delight of an entire carton of stripper-eggs! So, I added salt to the water. And I made certain that there was an inch of water above the eggs and that the water was cool when the eggs were immersed. I was diligent in not boiling the eggs fresh from the store and even let them set out at room temperature before I put them in the pot for their final solution. I turned off the heat once aboil and timed the subsequent cooling of the eggs in the hot water to a precise ten minutes. It was a lot of work for boiling a Goddamned egg, I thought, but then again, if it worked...

I paced in anxious nervousness as the first batch of the scientifically-boiled eggs cooled in the fridge. This is what it must have been like when the scientists who cloned Dolly the Sheep were waiting to see if their Frankenstein sheep would live, I thought. Finally, the test. I pulled the eggs and began peeling the lot of them - I figured that the only way I was going to get any feasible data was if all the variables were as similar as possible, so I had to peel them all at the same time. I had watched enough Mythbusters to know that much. The first six eggs peeled as if I had buttered them on the inside. Yum, I thought. I wonder if that would be possible? Anything was possible in my new scientific cooking world - even pre-buttered boiled eggs. I was giddy with the possibilities.

Then, I hit Egg Number Seven.

As I peeled Number Seven, great chunks of egg-flesh pulled away from the egg, as if I were tearing the egg to pieces with pliers and a screwdriver, instead of my own delicate, finely-tuned, scientific fingers. "NOOOOOO!" I screamed, tears rushing down my cheeks. I was doomed. The experiment had failed. Of course, I fiddled with the numbers - boiled the water longer, then for less time, varying the cooling times, adding such ingredients as vinegar, lard, putty, dirt and feces to the water in hopes of affecting the peel. Nothing worked. It seemed my lot in life was set - I would be forever guessing on whether my eggs would peel in an acceptable fashion. I moved on.

Then, a couple of nights ago, I saw a show about cockfighting - again, not some kind of perverted code, but actual roosters clawing the hell out of each other as chicken-haters cheered and bet on the outcome of the bout. Those are some angry chickens, I thought. Then it struck me: Maybe the easy-peeling eggs came from happy chickens and the shitty ones from angry birds. It sure made sense to me. Would I rather have an egg that was produced by this fowl:

 Happy Chicken - borderline ecstatic.

Or this one:

Pissy Chicken - an egg-peeler's nightmare.

I slept peacefully that night for the first time in months, my scientific mind finally at ease. I now knew that I could have no say in the outcome of the egg-peeling - science for once had no part in the process. It was simple fowlish disposition. I would simply play the egg-hand that was dealt me and accept the fact that regardless of whether or not my egg peeled easily, I would have my ultimate revenge in the end. And that would be enough. I was able to smile again, and it felt good.

The Ultimate Revenge.


  1. LOL, this is awesome! I don't think I've ever put that much thought into boiling an egg... Good job Jerry!

  2. Way to launch into year 3! I almost cried with laughter by the time we hit "egg number seven".