Whenever my mom cooks eggs for breakfast, she will throwback to when I was little, when I was a fussy eater. She would stand over the pan and commit herself to stirring until the eggs were scrambled to perfection. I hated brown, overcooked eggs. My grandmother never knew about this dedication. One morning, grandma made breakfast and was surprised when I cried and refused to eat.
‘What’s wrong with them?’ she asked.
‘There’s brown on them.’ I pushed the plate away and threatened to starve until they were made correctly.
If it wasn't for my mom’s scrambled eggs, I don't think I would have ever been a fan of breakfast. Pancakes were never my favourite. You can only do so much with pancakes. Add blueberries. Add chocolate chips. Attempt to form the batter into comprehensible dinosaur shapes and then mess up when flipping. Could care less about pancakes. But eggs, especially scrambled, always tasted good and there were many varieties to try. Thus, my egg evolution began.
My scrambled ways continued through college as this style was the only offered in the cafeteria. They weren't like mom’s. They were brown. So, I would drown them in ketchup and still hate them (if you have to add ketchup, the food isn’t good). Lucky Charms replaced eggs and eventually became my go-to for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No surprise. Cafeteria meals were nothing to be praised.
After scrambled came fried, but not until I was mature enough to venture out of my beloved comfort zone. My first year living in Calgary, I rented an apartment in the expensive, hipster neighbourhood of Sunnyside. To go with the name of where I was living and because I was slowly transforming into a hipster myself, I started to eat sunny side up eggs on toast. But I found I liked the egg white more than the egg yolk. Hated reaching the middle of the toast where the yolk resided and taking a big bite into its gooey center. The yellow slime would pour onto my plate and drench my other piece of toast. Bread is not meant to be wet. To correct this unwanted egg eruption, I learned to stab the yolk with a fork once cracked into the pan and let it ooze in with the egg white. Problem solved. The yolk cooked to completion quicker and I didn’t have to endure a couple bites of the concentrated center.
My grandma may have ruined scrambled eggs, but she was the one who introduced me to basted. A summer trip out to Seattle, she revealed the magic of adding a little water to the pan. After a few minutes covered with a lid, I watched the steam settle over the yolk, creating a thin layer of white. A little blanket for the yolk. Every morning, we would eat our breakfast outside with the company of hummingbirds. Grandma is high fashion and apparently, so are her eggs. Basted was elegant. It was different. It was and still is my favourite style.
I never could master the omelette. Always had a problem with flipping (same reason why I hate cooking pancakes). Either I mixed too many eggs and the medley was too thick for the small skillet or I added too many ingredients and the omelette would break from the weight once flipped. It was beyond frustrating. Then my sister in law, Holly, made breakfast for us one morning in Hawaii. Her omelettes were outstanding. She steamed the vegetables before adding them to the egg, which removed density and made for an easy flip. Once ready, the omelettes slid off the pan, a light, golden yellow (not brown, never brown). Instead of dipping the omelette in ketchup, she suggested mixing with salsa. It was an adventurous change to the standard taste of eggs. Holly is the best omelette maker I know. If anyone thinks they can do better, I would like a taste test. Seriously, though, I love omelettes and still can’t make good ones for myself. Anyone who makes an omelette for me is an instant friend.
When working downtown Calgary, I thought it was convenient to eat out every lunch, until I saw how quickly all of the Chachi sandwiches added up at the end of the month. I have been budget minded ever since. And when travel became a passion and priority, packed lunches became a prerequisite. I soon learned hard boiled eggs were easy to pack and a great addition to a boring salad. Being a terrible cook, my hard boiled eggs were never right. Don't know how many tutorials I watched to learn how to properly peel off the shell. Tapped both ends against a hard surface and began to chip away until the entire egg was clean. Took me most of my lunch hour and it still was never smooth. The entire egg wall was dented and scarred by my fingertips. If I ever did manage to uncover an egg without damaging it in the process, I would spend more time admiring it than eating it.
‘How did I do that?’ I would ask myself, trying to remember that specific technique so I could use it on the next one. No matter though, I still ate two eggs for every lunch for two months. Did you know you can eat too many eggs? I didn't; not until my body completely rejected them and I spent my lunch break in a bathroom stall rather than in the office cubicle.
Took a long break from eggs after that episode.
When I did introduce them back into my diet, I was travelling through Central America. Plantains, rice & beans and eggs. Staple foods in the Spanish diet. A new twist! Found out scrambled eggs are delicious mixed with pico de gallo. Therefore, my egg evolution cycled back to scrambled. I ate like my five year old self again. Scrambled, scrambled, scrambled. For four whole months. This time, my stomach did not get sick of eggs by sending them back up. Probably because it became repulsed by rice and beans instead. Don’t ever give me a plate of rice and beans again. Separate is okay, but please, never together.
Coming home this spring, I was excited to eat something other than eggs for breakfast. Then Eric told me we were selling farm fresh eggs this summer. Oh perfect. Only makes sense to sample before we sell. Back to basted!. It is the style I know and love best. With two basted eggs on top of toast spread with avocado, I am hooked again. Farm fresh eggs all summer long.
These are all examples of unwanted brown.