Hard Boiled Egg

January 14, 2011

One day, when I was in my early teens, I got a hankering for a hard-boiled egg. Not sure why, but that's what I wanted.

Being the mollycoddled child that I was, I asked my mom to boil an egg for me. I was rebuffed.

"Go boil one yourself."

"Well, okay. How do you do it?"

"Look it up in The Joy of Cooking." I got the kitchen equivalent of being told to look up a word in the dictionary when you didn't know how to spell it.

Kids of today will first be amazed at our antiquated way of finding the spelling of a word. Go pull a book off a shelf. Then, find the word and confirm how it's spelled. Perhaps they will think about our ultimate frustration -- if we didn't know how it's spelled in the first place, how the hell were we going to find it in the dictionary. Regular readers will understand what a horrible challenge this must have been for me.

But I didn't want to be taught how to find out how to cook. I just wanted to boil an egg. "C'mon Mom, that won't be in there. It's not a recipe."

"It will be in there. Look it up."

"Please just tell me."

She refused. I asked again. She wouldn't relent.

All these years later, I understand that she didn't know how to boil an egg. My guess is that she wasn't sure how long it should boil, since the rest of the process couldn't be more elementary.

Of course, how to boil an egg is covered in The Joy of Cooking. Since then, I've continued to refer to that book to find out how to make things that normal people should just know. I referred to it today to figure out how to turn whipping cream into a whipped cream topping.