Take a deep breath. Today you’ll make your first heated meal. Don’t give that excuse of going to the dentist. I’ve heard it too many times.
Find a big pot. Gently put eggs, maybe four, into the pot. Be careful not to crack the eggs or they will ooze albumen, that white stuff, during the boiling. You will not have nice round eggs.
(Instead, you will be serving something that looks like a tentacled Jabba the Hut. Your dinner guests will laugh at you, first behind your back and then to your face. You’ll take up drinking. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself look down into the foamy abyss from the cliffs of Niagra falls, reliving that horrible moment one last time.)
So be careful when you place those eggs in the pot. Alternatively, consider putting more than the desired number of eggs in the pot. Try, for example, putting six eggs instead of the required four. This way, you can break the shells of up to two eggs and still pridefully serve the four remaining to your three dining companions and you.
Warning! Don’t place the eggs on the bottom of the pot by hand if the water is boiling or has even begun to heat. You’ll scald your hands. Ouch. Use a spaghetti spoon, one that cradles the egg, to gently deposit it on the bottom.
If somehow boiling water splatters onto your hands, immediately put your hands under the kitchen faucet and pour cold water on them. You have only a few seconds to do this to avoid searing pain.
And oh, I’m glad I didn’t forget this. Fill the pot with water until it covers the eggs and not to the top. Air bubbles form as the water boils, pushing the water upward. The water can then boil over onto the stove, making a big mess. It can also splatter onto your hands.
Anyway, turn the heat to high. For some minutes, nothing will happen. Nothing. Experienced chefs have a sixth sense of how long the water will take to boil and will retire to the library to knock off a few pages more of Moby Dick.
Once the water truly starts to boil–and you mastered spotting this in the previous chapter–-set the timer to how long you want to cook the egg. I prefer twelve minutes.
Green yolks come from the reaction of iron in the egg yolk and sulfur in the egg and occurs if the eggs are heated too long. Don’t let it happen.
Remove the eggs from the pot when the timer goes off. Use a spoon with holes in it or carefully pour the hot water out of the pot (Here’s a helpful tip! Pour the boiling water onto those dirty dishes in your sink. The boiling water works wonders in loosening the encrusted food from your dishes.)
Put the hot eggs into another pot or large bowl full of cold water. The cold water stops the cooking of the eggs. When the eggs stop cooking, you stop green yolk in its tracks.
Don’t peel off the shell until it is fairly cool. (Your fingers will thank and your neighbors won’t have to hear you cussing.) Examine the egg. Find the rounder, less pointy end of the egg. The empty pocket of well, nothingness, existing at this end makes cracking open the egg easier. Tap the rounder part of the egg to a hard surface–-don’t use your skull, a counter top will do. Carefully peel off the large eggshell bits and there you have it, a NICE HARD-BOILED EGG. Woo hoo.
1) A raw egg will wobble when spun. A hard-boiled one spins smoothly.
2) Poke a small hole in the bottom of the egg before cooking to make sure your hard-boiled egg will have a round bottom. Be careful, a large hole or crack lets much of the egg seep out and be boiled outside the shell.
3) Eggs age more in one day outside the refrigerator than inside. Use this to your advantage when considering the likability of your guests.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.