Food For Thought: Boiling Eggs

Today is Father’s day, so it is quite natural for me to spend much of this Sunday thinking about my Dad.

I have many amazing memories of Dad (and I am sure many more to come. I am not writing you off quite yet!).

Teaching me to waltz to Rainbow, as in the rock group, not as in George, Bungle and Zippy. Him playing Puff the Magic Dragon on his acoustic guitar in the ‘best’ room. Him listening to and loving Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine as he and Mum drove us all around France in the white VW referred to as the Big White Van. And him, Mum and their friends belting out Eagles songs on the electric piano. Apparently the volume on an electric piano is directly proportionate to the number of glasses of red wine one drinks.

As well as musical memories, there are also food related memories. Over the years my Dad has become the main cook in his home, and often in my home, helping prepare dinners for our ever-growing family while I try and do something not kitchen related for a few moments.

Dad invests a large amount of time planning different meals throughout the week for various events and various guests. Considering he would rather be on his own in his shed for much of the time, the fact that he bothers to do this says a lot about his considerate personality. Although note, the person in the kitchen can often get away with avoiding chatting to the more irritating visitors, and should this strategy fail, the kitchen is generally nearer the sherry.

Lots of his food is sourced from his local market. It sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled: the concrete under cover indoor market that he frequents looks a little different to the quaint farmers one you are picturing. Nevertheless, he can find tasty, good value produce there, helping him to deliver his mantra of creating dishes that are ‘cheap and cheerful’.

Given the time, energy, thought and love with which Dad has prepared so many fabulous feasts, the meal that evokes the strongest memories seems a little peculiar. For when I think of Dad, I cannot help but think of boiled eggs.

We can all picture that perfect boiled egg. A sand coloured shell, cracking satisfyingly to reveal a pure and perfectly set egg white that encases a sumptuously bright, sunshine yellow yolk, oozing invitingly.

Alas, some of us are also rather adept at picturing boiled egg hell. Scalded finger tips scrabbling to pick off fragments of fractured shell, a yolk of rock or, even worse, a yolk that runs with a gut wrenchingly disgusting consistency into the even more vile unset egg white.

My Dad can achieve the former vision, I can only manage the latter. I can’t even boil an egg. Fact.

I suspect one of the reasons I can’t boil an egg is that when I was little Dad was always boiling his before he went to work, and before I got out of my bed. I never watched and learned. But I do vividly remember coming downstairs to sit opposite him at the table, sun streaming through the window into the red and white kitchen, as he finished eating his boiled eggs.

What I also remember, with a self-amused little smirk, is my simply brilliant little prank that I would play on him day in and day out. I would collect his left over egg-shell, and place it upside down back into the egg cup, with little evidence that this mere empty vessel was anything but a nice, new, freshly boiled egg.

“Daddy, you’ve got another egg here.”

Dad would, without fail, look absolutely more surprised than any man has ever been, retake his seat at the table, and once more begin to attack the egg-shell with his spoon.

Then, as the greatest jape of all time began to unfold before his eyes, he would slap his forehead, and declare his utter amazement that this genius small child of his had fooled him. Again.

“Where’s all the egg gone???”

Absolute hilarity. If you are 5. Admittedly, perhaps a little wearing if you are a Dad. Although I never remember him acting like this ridiculous ritual was a chore.

So today, on Father’s Day, as I think of my Dad and boiled eggs, I leave you instructions of how to boil an egg. Because how else could you possibly recreate the most side-splitting trick of all time, the empty egg-shell joke?

A word of warning: I follow these instructions and it never works. But perhaps you will have that certain something that will make you an eggspert in this field (God I’m still so funny).

  • Take a room temperature egg
  • Use a spoon to carefully pop the egg into a pan of gently simmering water
  • 4 1/2 minutes for medium egg
  • 5 minutes for large
  • 10 minutes for hard-boiled
  • Crack open egg
  • Either eat with delight, or look at it, disgusted, and throw in bin.

Love you lots Dad. Hope you have had an eggscellent Father’s Day. Ha Ha Ha.

Now, where’s that sherry?


This post is for my Dad, prompted by Father’s day, and I used this WordPress writing 101 challenge to provide some food for thought.




2 thoughts on “Food For Thought: Boiling Eggs

  1. Olivia FitzGerald says:

    Aww what a lovely daddy you have. I had completely forgotten the empty egg-shell trick! Must get the kids to play that one on my husband.
    Uncooked egg-whites… I share your revulsion so I just cook the hell out of them. Sweet post 🙂


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