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From My Window

Issue Date: March 29, 2018

Eggs-iety

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

I had to hard-boil quite a few eggs for an industrial-sized batch of potato salad I was making for my granddaughter's first birthday this week. As always I was hoping for perfection in the eggs: easy to peel; properly cooked through, and no green around the yolk.

Hard boiled eggs shouldn't be difficult to make. It would seem all you need is eggs and water. It would be logical for there to be one "right" way to make eggs to be sure they always hit the trifecta of three perfect characteristics; however, I am still in search of the one true way.

Just look in any cookbook or on any on-line cooking forum. There are admonitions about what material the pot should be made of; how fresh, or NOT fresh the eggs should be; letting eggs warm to room temperature before cooking or not; adding or not adding salt and vinegar to the water; starting with lukewarm or cold water; bringing to a full boil or not; shutting off the heat at various times, letting them sit on the burner or off the heat; I could go on and on. Every single recipe is a bit different and I've tried a lot of them. And there are even "rules" about letting eggs warm up before peeling, or peeling under running water to simplify the job. But my eggs still are hard to peel " the poor things come out missing chunks of their flesh all over; some of them look like they have been ravished by chicken pox.

I decided to give another method a try. This one calls for vinegar in the cooking water, and I was full of hope that this method; plus my new secret weapon would make the difference. The "secret weapon" was a little on-line video clip of a chipper woman I had seen, showing how she peels her eggs which is "fool-proof." Her method is to tap the egg on both ends to crack the shell, and then gently rolling the egg on a cutting board to crack the rest of the shell before peeling. Her eggshells practically jumped off her flawless eggs in nearly one piece and I was confident of victory this time.

The new method calls for bringing the water to a boil while the stove is set at medium burner temperature. This is annoying to start with, as of course it takes a long time for water to boil that way instead of using high heat. I am not the most patient person, but I waited this out. I had to be hovering around the stove, because the minute the water DID start to boil, I had to take another action. But it would be worth it to have easy peel eggs, I thought.

Alas, despite the new cooking method, and the secret weapon peeling method, large hunks of egg continue to cling to the eggshells, resulting in the usual ugly eggs. No matter; they had to be chopped for the potato salad recipe I was using so I declared yet another failure and have resigned myself to a future without perfect hard boiled eggs. At this point the only authority I would listen to is whoever it was that used to make up the big glass jar of pickled eggs at the local corner tavern we used to frequent in Marinette for fish fries. Those eggs were always picture-perfect; I don't eat them but they went through a lot of them at that place, as they were wildly popular, so whoever was making them either had hard boiling eggs down to a science or they were feeding the hard-peeling "failures" to the family dog.

Perhaps my problem is the eggs themselves. Maybe the hens are not happy with the new rooster. Or maybe the atmospheric pressure at my house is too high. Or too low?

No matter. I will leave the deviled eggs to someone who has the egg science figured out; feel free to call on me for the potato salad or other chopped-eggs dishes to mask my inadequacy.

Happy Easter to everyone! May your day be filled with easy-peel eggs, hope, joy, and the fun of watching a toddler find their first Easter egg.

I am still getting "privy" communications. An unusual perspective from Charles, who served in Viet Nam (thank you for your service, sir!) and is from Coleman:

In Vietnam at Dong Ha, around 1969-70; outhouses were two-holers with a trapdoor in back. Underneath were cut-off 55 gallon barrels slid under each hole. Every day except Sunday, a detail was assigned to empty the barrels out, then pour diesel fuel on top and light the pile on fire. If you flew over the base you would see these small fires all over billowing black smoke. It was the best sanitation to be had; given the situation. Charles says, "I guess you could say our "day of reckoning" was almost every day." He adds that urinals were culvert pipes put into the ground vertically with walls on three sides. Charles, thanks for this perspective on life in a combat area during the war.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


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