the Perfect Poached Egg

At last!  The secret to the perfect poached egg!  Try it!  Seriously!  It's magic!

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't" ~Bill Nye

Keep your eyes open. Learning is a lifelong, and often uncomfortable business. 

We start out, wide-eyed and gullible, with a belief that school will make us smart, and that diplomas and degrees will prove it. Don't be fooled. Formal education is not all it's cracked up to be. School is not Lourdes. It is not a place where you can leave the crutches of your ignorance behind, and kick up your heels for the rest of your days. No matter how much you know, no matter how many hours you have festered in classrooms that smelled of wet wool in the winter and worse in the spring, you will remain ignorant of a spectacular percentage of everything on God's green earth. It's a fact.  A challenge.  And a glorious adventure!

If formal education has proved an unreliable source of all that's true and dependable, what about the knowledge gained at Grandmother's knee? Well, it seems that grandmother's knees, aren't quite what, or even where, they used to be. For one thing, instead of sitting in a rocking chair, mending socks and spouting wisdom, Grandma has taken Grandpa in tow and is probably dancing the Marengue on a cruise ship, or scaling Machu Picchu.  And more power to 'em!

So what's to do?  How can we maneuver the seemingly exponentially increasing complexity of this modern life?  Well, I can tell you one thing. Probably more easily than we could before Google hovered tantalizingly at our fingertips tempting us with information both fair and foul. The Internet, like all technologies before it, has its share of truthiness and untruthiness, its bright side and its dark, but when it comes to titillating the tastebuds, it is a wonder to behold.  True, you do have to learn how to get around, but after that, the world is your oyster. 

I think we've all pretty much come to accept that we can learn things, certainly technology, from even the very young.  But don't be tricked into believing that they know it all either. They are as distracted by their hormones as we were back in algebra class, and have probably retained about as much. 

No, it's every man for himself in this brave new world. And it's up to us to determine where, and from whom, we can best do our learning.  

But don't let's give up! Do let's suit up!  There's so much out there in the world to learn!  And there's dinner to be made! 

Cooking people were quick to hop onto Internet bandwagon in hot pursuit of recipes.  Of course, some still clung, for a time, to clipped recipes stuffed in binders, or stacked in corners quietly disintegrating.  But time marches forward and copy/paste and the screenshot will soon replace those treasure troves, if they have not already. Suddenly home cooks can't seem to get along without rice flour or pimento wood chips.  That one dear old clipped recipe for Jerk Chicken is in competition with hundreds that look even jerkier! Go online and suddenly grandmothers knees are everywhere. Even on video!  Oh my. There she is now, in living color, concocting her dumplings, her jambalaya, her spätzles, her croissants.....Step by step! 

We feel all very bold and modern, mastering the technology and learning about the wide world, but somehow there's still the old, cozy comfort of learning at grandmother's knee.  And there's a lot to be learned. Even by those who are grandmothers themselves. 

Which brings us one on my lifelong pursuits:  The Perfect Poached Egg!

Yes, yes.  You can certainly find a variety of egg poaching devices in kitchen stores and oh yes, online, but I'm apparently all about the steep and thorny path. I love a fine poached egg and have researched traditional techniques. I have swirled the water with a spoon. No. Try a bigger spoon.  Maybe not so much swirl. Did you add a bit of vinegar?  Perhaps a bit more.  No, not so much. Some efforts were more successful than others, but no technique was ever reliable, never quite something I could hang my hat on. 

Now, I wouldn't dangle this shiny bauble before your eyes unless I could flash and dazzle you.  So here we go!

Whip out your medium saucepan. You know. The one you got in the set as a wedding present. (Not a small one. This matters. I tried). Fill it with water. Maybe 3/4 full. Add salt. No vinegar. Bring to a boil. Put a slice of bread in the toaster to be at the ready. Take out a strainer. A small one is fine in this case, but whatever you have.  Break your egg carefully into the strainer over the sink.  Seriously!  Allow the watery part of the egg white to fall into the sink.  This won't be much if you have a very fresh egg, but this is an essential step.  Then tip your egg into a small dish. Take your water off the heat to cease the boiling.  Slide your egg into the water. Cover. Set your timer to four minutes. Start up your toast.  Make coffee.

When the timer dingles, remove the lid.  Carefully remove your ball of a poached egg with a slotted spoon.  Dry off excess water.  Slather the toast with butter.  Slide your perfect egg onto the toast. Sprinkle with salt. Pour your coffee. Sit at a table. Cloth napkin.  This is an occasion. Celebrate the pleasure of a perfectly poached egg and the delight that learning something new always brings. Bon appétit!