When I was very small, the simple hard-boiled egg was the way to go. Dipped in a smidgen of salt, the warmth of the yolk and white tasted like home, even touching on a bit of independence, as this was something I could eat without utensils or a plate.
Yolks weren’t runny back then; even with a fried egg, I wanted a firm yolk. Then one morning when I was about eight, I asked my father for a bite of his over-easy fried eggs. The yolk was soft and runny and I savored the taste as it disappeared down my throat. I asked for another bite. When I asked for a third bite, my father, without saying a word, abruptly and somewhat huffily got up from the table and went over and fried me an egg, holding his pink coffee mug in his left hand, and a spatula in his right.
I was about ten the first time I had Pork Noodle Soup garnished with sliced boiled eggs in a Chinese restaurant in Livermore, California. That was my go-to order for several years after, anytime I would go out for Chinese food.
The combination of broth, starch and dairy still has the ability to both tantalize my taste buds and nurture my soul. I love to crack a couple of eggs into a saucepan of simmering chicken broth, steamed rice and garlic, and poach the eggs for several minutes. Once in the bowl, I love the ribbons of ochre-colored yolk as I cut into the eggs with my spoon. I had learned to make egg-flower soup in my late teens, but this was much more voluptuous and savory. I call it Garlic Egg Soup.
I once had a roommate who commented that I “sure ate weird food,” when I made shirred eggs one morning for breakfast. I wasn’t phased by her rudeness. (I found her on Facebook a while back, and her life looks pretty boring.)
Ever since a trip to Hawaii back in 1990 where I had a breakfast of scrambled eggs served over steamed rice at a Jack-in-the Box (apparently how they do it on the islands, mon), drizzled with soy sauce, that has been another go-to meal that I always have the ingredients for.
I tried Scotch eggs at a restaurant buffet brunch in Hermosa Beach right after I got married. I searched high and low for a recipe after that, eventually to find an Italian variation called Trattoria Eggs in one of my Bon Appétit cookbooks. Sausage packed around hard-boiled goodness, then dipped in flour, beaten egg, then breadcrumbs mixed with grated parmesan; a bit labor intensive, yes, but so worth it. No complaints from brunch guests, either.
Quiches, frittatas and omelettes are good, but for some reason I don’t make them as often. If offered, of course I will partake, as I do love eggs in many forms and I appreciate their versatility.
There is a restaurant near my home that offers eight different types of eggs benedicts; if you have a hard time choosing — and you will — you can get two different ones.
Last Thursday, for a Thanksgiving appetizer, I made deviled eggs. I have made numerous variations, but this time, along with the standard dollop of mayonnaise and squirt of dijon, I mixed the yolks with some green olive tapenade from Trader Joe’s. I then topped each deviled egg with a slice of bleu cheese-stuffed olive (from a jar that I usually reserve for martinis). I will definitely make these again (and maybe have some with a martini).
What brought all this on, this revelation of my obsession with the humble egg? I got up from my nap earlier this afternoon, hungry and short on time. I was craving my standby combo of starch, dairy and broth. Not having time to boil an egg, I reached for a package of ramen noodles, dissing the flavor packet for chicken bouillon in its stead; then, as the noodles softened, I broke an egg right into the saucepan and poached it, similar to how I do with my Garlic Egg Soup. Once in the bowl, a drizzle of soy sauce completed the dish. Delightful enough to determine what I would write about this afternoon: my love of eggs.
30 minutes later I get to work and for the first time hear about a mass shooting in San Bernardino. Another shooting. 14 people dead and 14 injured. I feel numb. I am going to find a way to have eggs for dinner tonight.