Monday, October 27, 2008


I have started and stopped so many blogs in the past five years, and really I think I fail because I have felt conflicted about blogging. I've felt that I should be saying something important or clever...but no more. Nope. I just want to talk about food. Just food and how much I love to eat it and cook it, and watch people eat what I've cooked, and read about it, and watch it on television, and listen to people talk about it, and look at pictures about it. I love food. It's simple.

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I've been thinking about eggs a lot lately. Eggs are so strange...the goo that makes a life, housed in an inedible, thin, shattering, ovid shell. They are beautiful to behold uncracked, perfect smooth rounded forms. And then you rap them against the rim of a bowl, and out slips this viscous blob, this translucent semi-liquid in which a bright, sunny yellow-orange orb is suspended.

And the things you can do with that goo! Cooking eggs is a study in transformation. You apply heat, you denature proteins, you raise or lower your flame, you traverse worlds of liquid gold or yielding yellow, or soft, pale comfort. Eggs over easy ("dim pohss"...that is what my Bengali brethren call it. A misnomer ["dim" means egg, pohss is the Banglicized pronunciation of "poached"] but an endearing one) were my favorite sort as a child and still are today. Runny yolks and buttered toast with which to sop. But then there are poached eggs, over asparagus or arugula, or nestled within a decadent Benedict. And soft boiled, balanced in a special cup, top slashed, probed with a spoon or a searching spear of toast. Then there's hardboiled, chopped into a salad, or swimming in a luscious dim korma (if you don't know what that is, and you most likely don't, let me just say that your life is the worse for it). And scrambled, of course. Again with toast, but this time with the eggs steaming precariously atop a crusty slice. Salted, peppered, hot, simple, I love a good egg.

And how did those first ingenious cooks know to gingerly remove that rich, fat little yolk from its transparent, gooey home and place it in another bowl for later, and then whisk and whisk and whisk that clear goo until it becomes a cloud-like mass of airy white? How did they know the magic that would follow in the form of a souffle, or a meringue, or a macaron, even. Oh, let us all breathe a sigh of gratitude for the macaron. That's the egg-white, flexing its subtle but powerful prowess. But what of the yolk? The yolk, whisked into a melted pool of shiny chocolate, along with a dash of cornstarch and sugar, and a cup or so of milk, becomes chocolate pudding that has you licking spoons and bowls and fingers clean. And it makes a bechamel taste royal, a lemon pasta taste round and complex. And did I mention the amazing spoonful of heaven that is called creme brulee?

Let's not get into a discussion of eggs as an emulsifier and leavener in baked goods. What would cakes or cookies be without eggs? Impoverished and undelicious.

What can I say? I have said a great deal already. But mostly I want to say that I feel reverent before eggs, especially when they are fresh, when they are eaten the morning they were laid by happy chickens. I will take an egg over almost any food. That is certainly true.