Slightly Bemused writes:
I bought a latte today, first one in months, from one of those machine dispensers. I would love to tell you how it tasted, but I managed to knock it over unto my floor just after getting home. Until I figure out how to use my wet and dry vacuum cleaner again, my living room smells of milky coffee.
So I made egg flip. Some people call it differently, never mind. But there is a trick to it when done for just one person. Beat the living daylighths out of a single egg in a large mug, add sugar (which I consider essential) and others like vanilla or cinnamon. I have never understood cinnamon, but when Little Slightly was still very little we took her on a spice tour around Zanzibar island, and I saw how vanilla was grown. It was interesting, but the little one preferred the coconuts.
Any way, then you pour boiling milk on the egg, which cooks it, but you still have to beat the liquid or you end up with lumps, which while safe and tasty, are not so pleasant over the tongue if you are a fussy little eejit like I was.
Now, my mother used make this a little differently. There were quite a few of us, so something close to industrial processing was needed, and out came the Krups liquidiser.
Eggs were cracked, and sugar was added, and occasionally honey (we have a whole shelf of glass beakers that used be honey jars). Swooshed on low setting while one of us kept an eye on the pot of milk getting ready to do its best to overflow and make a mess.
What has this to do with my latte? Well, my dad took a flask of coffee to work for lunch every day, made with boiled milk. The rest of the milk went into the liquidiser, and egg flip was dispensed like magic.
Now at the time we did not have a dishwasher, but by the time we came home from school, that wonderful machine was back in the cupboard, clean and ready for more delights on another day. Usually it was only on cold mornings, if my memory is right, and this morning was cold and damp. The spilled latte reminded me of my Dad’s coffee, and so I made egg flip.
Did you know that Ireland cannot export eggs to the US? Most of our eggs are brown, and most, if not all I have ever cooked in the States are white. That has nothing to do with it, but it is interesting, and related more to the breed of chickens and their feed than anything else. I never checked out goose eggs over there. Maybe next time.
The main reason is actually to do with the laws around eggs preservation. In the US, eggs have to be washed, which removes a coating that is a little yucky, but serves as a bacterial barrier. As a result, US eggs are always in fridges in the supermarkets, and have relatively short shelf lives.
EU rules say they should not be washed, keeping the yucky barrier. Chickens have been laying eggs for a long time, and this protected them as they were incubated to hatching. And so eggs in most Irish supermarkets (when there is not pandemic rush) are out on the shelves. I know most people then put theirs into their fridges at home, and this does extend their shelf life.
Oh, a quick tip if you are somewhere that may not have perfect weather for eggs, ask the seller to shake them gently. If they rattle, do not buy that one. And get a small cup or similar, and crack each egg into it one at a time, just in case, before transferring to whatever you are cooking.
My mother used to cook what we called an omelet but was much closer to a fritatta every Friday. Sunday was a roast. If a chicken, then Monday was ham, and Wednesday ham and chicken pie. But in keeping with no meat on Fridays, she lined the big grill pan with pastry (we used it to grill the sausages on Saturday :-) ) and at least a dozen eggs went into that liquidiser, while onions and tomatoes were chopped. And someone had to shred the cheese.
The grill pan first went into the oven with tinfoil over the pastry, then out it came, and the mixture was put in, except the cheese. That was put on after the mix had set, and the last spell was under the grill. The arguments over who got a corner piece could be famous.
But my floor still smells of latte, the wet/dry carpet cleaner awaits, but for a while my living room smells of my childhood, and egg flip.
Slghtly Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.