Friday, July 2, 2010

Boiled egg challenge

For an unknown reason I had a flash of insight the other day regarding my childhood anxiety caused by boiled eggs.  I don't know why, but maybe some of you folks will find it interesting.

Background: when I was a young tyke, four or five years old, my dad would from time to time boil an egg for me to eat for lunch on the weekend.  This would invariably end with him getting cranky with me and telling me off.  He would ask me how many eggs I wanted.  I would say "one egg please" and he would boil me an egg.  I'd eat it up, then ask him for another one.  He'd get cranky and tell me I should have asked for two eggs in the first place.  So the next time I'd say I wanted two eggs and he would cook me two eggs, but after eating one I would say that I didn't want the other and he'd get cranky at me again.

The insight I had the other day was this: I don't like eggs that have runny whites.  Transparent whites are horrible but even if the white is a little soft and yielding it gives me the shudders.  Now that I'm an adult for the most part I can cope but when I was a kid it was a big deal.

So the problem was that Dad was cooking me either one egg or two, but was cooking them for the same amount of time.  So if I'd only asked for one egg, it'd be perfectly cooked and I'd want another one.  But if he cooked me two, the water would cool down too much when he popped two eggs in the pot and they'd both end up underdone.  I'd get grossed out by the soft white in the first egg and would decline to eat the other one.  Either way, Dad got cranky.

Not surprisingly, I was unable (or perhaps more accurately, unwilling) to communicate my egg requirements clearly to my father.  But it does seem strange to me that somehow I failed to noticed the anti-correlation between the egg count and the egg quality.  All I knew was that having Dad cook me eggs for lunch was pretty much a crapshoot in terms of what you got, and you were going to get snarled at no matter what.  No wonder I never fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming an actuary!

(ps - new poll up.  Vote early, vote often!)


Anonymous said...

Interesting reflection, made me think about this batman parody (also a sort of insightful reflection) -

PTR said...

So am I Batman?? No wonder I'm so tired in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Your Dad must have been using a very small saucepan if the addition of an extra egg meant that both were undercooked? Was he boiling them in an egg cup?

Or, did you grow up on an Ostrich farm?

PTR said...

While I did indeed grow up on an ostrich farm, we mostly ate chicken eggs because the ostriches were all male.

The reason the extra egg made such a big difference is that we spent a lot of time on weekend climbing mountains and water boils at a very low temperature at 20,000 feet up so the eggs take a long time to cook.