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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fried eggs


I've mentioned on more than one occasion my mother was not a good cook, except pot roast on Sunday. 

I've spent most of my adult life avoiding cooking, too, but there was a ten year stretch when I did cook.

I was married, and my husband expected three meals a day. Yes, he came home for lunch. There were kids to feed, too.

My mother-in-law was an exquisite cook. Standing roast beef on Christmas Eve. You should have been there. I learned more about cooking from her than I learned in the kitchen of my childhood.

My memory of eggs at home is scrambled eggs, served for dinner, with spinach. (Mine went under the table.) 

I recall fried eggs as an outdoor camping dish, my brothers frying a lot of bacon and throwing in eggs at the end, while I toasted bread in a toaster that fit over another burner. It was a three ring Coleman, and I know a pot of coffee was on the third ring.

Fried eggs as an indoor breakfast dish did not cross my mind until my husband requested them. He watched from the dining card table in our miniscule apartment kitchen, and I do recall the instant I had the eggs nicely in the skillet he was at my shoulder, adding a tablespoon of water and clapping a lid on. OK, that’s how you fry eggs indoors.

My grandmother also was an excellent cook, and gave me some cookbooks. They were old, from the beginning of her marriage, now a hundred years ago. These actually were “housekeeping” books, and I could read about running a vacuum cleaner and dusting, where my skills were adequate.

The directions for frying eggs were so ludicrous I shared them with some other young wives at work, in the break room. Can you believe, you crack the egg into hot bacon grease, and then you can spoon the hot grease over the egg to hasten the cooking.

Silence. “Well, that’s what I do. How do you fry an egg?” from a person l admired.  I was so tongue tied by the realization that exploded in my mind I could not speak. First, my fried eggs actually were “fried” in water. Second, do not denigrate anything I did not understand well enough to have an opinion.

I never answered Meg’s question and the topic turned, of course. At my first opportunity I asked my mother-in-law, what’s that called, how you make eggs. “Oh, they’re steamed, my dear.”

I still have fried egg moments.




25 comments:

  1. Great post, Joanne, thanks for sharing. My mother, when she got married, didn't know how to boil water! LOL! My father taught her how to cook, and I enjoyed many good meals in my childhood.

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  2. I have to say, I've never heard of steamed eggs.

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  3. Wow! I didn't know you could fry an egg that way. I did not really know how to cook when I got married. I had a friend who gave me a bunch of cookbooks as a wedding gift. I sure needed them. My husband's mom was the cook for the restaurant they owned. Poor Art had to suffer through a few years until I became adequate. I'm still not good, but adequate.

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  4. Steamed eggs must be a lot like poached eggs.

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  5. It was after I was married before I learned to make basted eggs the way my husband liked them. I had always made fried eggs "over-easy".

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  6. Thanks to father having wanted a boy and mother wanting her kitchen clear I went off to university with no great idea of cooking, except how to make porage (thanks to father's mother).
    Desperation was a great teacher....

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  7. and now I'm singing, " How do you like your eggs in the morning ? " !!! I've learnt to cook over the years - I don't follow cook books, just what seems right x

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  8. I steam/fry my eggs, too. It's much healthier and they don't get all tough. I learned from a lady I roomed with one summer between university years. She was a retired dietician and her meals were delicious, three cooked meals a day. I gained ten pounds in four months and had to make new clothes. As soon as I went back to classes I lost it again - all that walking on campus, plus I didn't eat breakfast and the other two meals were usually a salad followed by ice cream or jello with whipped cream. Oh, to be young and eat whatever I wanted with impunity :) I can cook a decent meal as long as you want shepherd's pie or lasagna, hold the spices.

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  9. I remember the story of the first time my mom cooked a whole chicken she cooked it with the package of gizzards, liver and neck inside the chicken, as they used to be packed inside, not sure they are packed that way any longer.

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  10. My mother was a good cook - unless there were vegetable involved. They were always boiled to a nasty grey mush. Though my partner's mama told me that her mother put the greens on to boil at the same time as the roast went into the oven. Eeeeuw.

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  11. Fried eggs are a favourite of mine, I fry them in vegetable oil with bacon so you end up with a bit of fat in there too.
    Cheese and mixed herbs added on top of the egg and the lid put on, this is called a Far Lap surprise, I once grilled the cheese on the top of the egg in the oven but now I do it all in the frying pan.
    Merle............

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  12. Laughing. I grew up on a farm and that is a fried egg. You make the bacon first and then when it is almost done, you crack in the egg and let it fry in the bacon grease. But..I have never heard of scooping bacon grease over it to make it cook faster. I LOVE this sort of breakfast, but my partner will have none of it. Bad for our hearts and all that. In fact, I cannot remember that last time I ate bacon. Nope. We baste our eggs (and this sounds much like your fried egg), put a pat of butter in the frying pan, let it melt, crack the eggs and then put a quarter cup of water in and cover with a lid, leaving about a half inch open for the steam to get out. Scrambled are my favorite, though. I make them with cream instead of milk. Yum.

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    1. Oh Yes!
      Always cream for scrambled eggs.

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  13. You're so right. We should be so careful about laughing at things we think are odd especially when in a group. I've been there and made a fool of myself or embarrassed someone else with my big mouth. I guess the safer way is to ask questions instead. I've 'fried' eggs both ways and like each way for different reasons.

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  14. One thing I've not had much success with is frying eggs. Scrambling them, fine. Boiling them, great. But can't get the frying ones down, maybe its because I'm not using bacon grease?

    betty

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  15. I LOVE old cookbooks like that!
    I have fried eggs for breakfast every third day or so, for the protein, plus they're quick and easy. I rarely eat bacon though, I find it too salty these days, so my eggs are fried in butter. Gently flipped over near the end of cooking to cook the top of the yolk a little, called "over easy".

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  16. Since I started my 2 day a week fasting diet, I eat a couple of fried eggs twice a week for breakfast (they only contain about 30 calories each). Previously I'd eat a couple, plus a few rashers of bacon, almost every day.... which is why I'm now on the diet!!!

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    1. p.s. Just after the last war my mother discovered Elizabeth David's wonderful Mediterranean cookery books, so we ate very well at home. I was also extremely lucky to attend a school where we had a Belgian chef who's breakfasts, lunches, and dinners were all spectacular! I think I am almost alone in such luck.

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  17. I think I will try that 'steam' method... sounds a bit like poached -- which are my favourite, but a bit of a pain! Not that I have them very often. My youngest son like to fix his Mom breakfast -- though. How I miss him now that he's in far off Vancouver -- "Hey, Mom -- would you like poached eggs and bacon?" And on Christmas morning he'd add hollandaise ...

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  18. What a great post! Lol. I sometimes make an egg casserole and bake it in the oven. It's delicious!

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  19. Awesome post, as always. I remember picnics in Brecksville Park, Dad cooking eggs over the Coleman. (My brother still bastes his eggs in bacon grease) Oh yes, that is the technical term - basting your egg - water, bacon grease, whatever.

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  20. I love to cook, but THREE meals a day. I think that might put a damper on my culinary endeavors. It's a bit past lunchtime here and reading this post reminded me I'm hungry! :)

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  21. I am a plain cook -- only make basics -- only to survive not for gourmet dishes for sure. But it all tastes very good. And if it doesn't my dog gets a free meal. I think women and men should share the cooking -- barbara

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  22. Basted in bacon grease, that is how my husband's parents and mine prepared eggs. I remember one whole winter when I was ten, my mom fried potatoes and scrambled eggs right in the pan for dinner several times a week. I got so sick of that one pan meal.

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  23. After reading all of these comments I realized several things: I'm hungry, I love eggs fried or otherwise, simple subjects bring out the best in people and the best people, I want to go camping just to get the smell of campfire bacon and eggs in to my head again, and lastly I'm glad I dropped by here.

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