Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Egging me on

My MIL* has an egg piercer fridge magnet. It's been on her fridge for as long as I've been visiting, which is over 13 years.

An egg piercer? What the heck is that for? Maybe there are some Americans who know, but I certainly didn't. The English like their soft boiled eggs (or "boiled eggs" as they're called here). To boil them, they first pierce the end with air (the 'pointy' end of the egg), then boil them from cold with about 3 minutes at the boiling point# (how long depends on the size of the egg). They cut their toast into strips called "soldiers", and dip them into the soft yolk. Egg cups are commonly seen in shops that sell kitchenware. Even the ubiquitous chocolate Easter eggs are sometimes made so they sit in a plastic cup (though most are a good 6-7" high, so those wouldn't be mocked up as a regular egg...).

Obviously, with all the equipment around, there must be a penchant for eggs around here. And so there is. Since I have been here, I have not only had chicken eggs, but duck and goose eggs. The only non-chicken egg I recall having in the US is quail eggs on my sushi. You should see a goose egg; I hadn't till I moved here. It's enormous! The size of 2 chicken eggs, easily. I am not overly fond of duck eggs - the yolk is too rich and the white is too rubbery. But goose eggs, now there's a treat, with whites even nicer than a chicken egg. Sort of fluffy.

Chicken eggs - my are they good here. We don't buy our eggs in the supermarket, oh no. The local butcher has them delivered from a local farm, and most of the time we buy them there. But not always. The other day, while sussing out places to live, Richard decided to stop at a pub in Long Ashton (just southwest of Bristol city center) he used to frequent when he worked in Bristol. Lauren was asleep in the car, and MIL* opted to wait in the car while we had a drink. I really didn't want anything, so Richard got a pint and a cup of tea and came back outside. He gave his mum the tea, and I took a walk down the road to take in the view at the end. It was a quiet little lane with some old homes and a church at the end. Also at the end was a farm with eggs for sale. Total honor system, the eggs were just sitting in a sort of hutch with an overflowing money box next to them. Even though we didn't need eggs, I couldn't resist 1/2 a dozen (a common amount to buy here). And there was one goose egg, for a pound (US$1.76). MIL* bought the goose egg (via me). Let me tell you, these were delicious eggs! Yolks a deep yellow, full of flavor. Yummy.

Yes, I have taken to having a couple of boiled eggs a week. Yes, I am using more eggs in my cooking. No, I have not had my cholesterol checked lately...

# The English say the water "comes to the boil" or "reaches the boil". No random boils for the English, no siree, not like the American "a boil", it's definitely "the boil". Perhaps it's short for "the boiling point of water".