9 AM, breakfast time. This morning I don't want anything too complicated, so I decide I'm not cooking. I tell the kids they can fry their own eggs and make their own toast. Soon there's a gaggle of kids gathered around the griddle creating eggy masterpieces. Even the 5 year old is cooking, under the watchful eye of an older sibling.
My version of egg perfection has grown increasingly finicky over the years. The golden brown crunchies that develop on fried eggs? They make me shiver. And unfortunately our microwave died an untimely death the other day, so I can't microwave-cook my egg either.
Poaching it is. It's my favorite anyway.
I get out a little pot, put in a few inches of water, and drop in a canning-jar ring and a bit of salt. When the water is just starting to simmer –steam with a few ittybitty bubbles– I very carefully crack an egg and using the canning ring as a bulls-eye, I plop the egg into the water and let it settle into the ring.
The egg white immediately begins turning from clear to opaque. Using a spoon, I gently encourage random floaty bits of white back down against the egg yolk, holding the spoon gently over the egg for 20 seconds or so, until the egg white gels a bit more and is less inclined to float all over the pot.
When the egg has cooked 2 minutes, I pop bread into the toaster. The egg will be done in another minute, and I want my toast fresh. There's nothing worse that soggy toast, after all. Except maybe egg crunchies.
One of my sons watches my preparations and reminds me of the wonderful eggs we had on a visit to Korea last year: poached egg, sauteed spinach, toasted English muffin, topped with a perfect Hollandaise sauce. Breakfast bliss. I ate that every morning of the trip.
I go dreamy-eyed and head to the fridge for spinach, which I saute' til just limp in a bit of butter in the corner of the kids' skillet. I think wistfully of Hollandaise sauce, but remember that I'm not cooking this morning.
The poached egg turns out so lovely that I make a second one for the pure pleasure of it. I didn't even know how to poach an egg until I saw the movie Julie and Julia, and it is a new enough skill that it pleases me immensely. Then, when putting it on my plate, it looks so very pretty — the white, the golden brown, the green– that I feel compelled to get out my camera and snap 2 or 12 pictures. First, though, I sprinkle sesame seeds on top. I resist the urge to toast the sesame seeds– I'm not cooking this morning, after all.
Finally, 15 minutes after I began, I sit down to savor my masterpiece. By now the kids, who like their eggs rubber-ball firm and think runny yolk is
disgusting, are mostly done eating. But they stick around to watch in horrified fascination as my fork cuts down into the egg, waiting to see the bright golden yolk dripping down and soaking richly into the toast.
I take my first bite. And sigh blissfully.
Uncomplicated? Maybe not.