Monday, August 29, 2016

Peeling eggs

When I realized I had forgotten the secret to peeling hard-boiled eggs, I had to learn a new one. The bowl to the left shows the sad results of my first efforts. 

The secret? Shake that baby as hard as you can in a glass with a bit of water. 

Eggs came straight from the warm feathery undersides of chickens when I was growing up (you had to beware of the hens that pecked), so they were cheap and plentiful food for a family of seven. We used eggs in all ways. Mom perfected angel cakes over years of practice, and whenever a whites-filled angel cake appeared, you knew the yolks would turn up a day or two later in a jam roll-up sponge. In the summer, boiled eggs were mixed with potatoes for potato salads, and boiled eggs went into egg salad sandwiches year-round.

I learned to cook from mom, and in those years in the kitchen, I would certainly have learned the best way of peeling hard-boiled eggs. I realized on Sunday, as I was preparing eggs for a salad nicoise for guests the next day, that I had forgotten that little secret. Thinking it was probably ingrained in there somewhere, I charged ahead, cracked the cooked eggs on the counter, and produced -- a mess. Instead of falling cleanly away from the whites, the shells clung. My eggs were as pitted as the moon; some disintegrated altogether.

Too embarrassing to present such a mess to guests, so I turned to you-know-what. The Internet had many sites about peeling eggs -- clearly, I'm not the only one who has had problems. The advice ranged from making sure your eggs are aged -- really? -- to boiling them in salt or baking soda to cutting them in half and scooping them out with a spoon (very defeatist!). The one I liked best was to put the egg and some water in a glass, shake it vigorously to create lots of little cracks, and "the egg will slip right out of the shell."

Well, they didn't quite slip out on their own, but the next batch ended up whole and shiny; I didn't have to pretend the salad was supposed to have chopped-up eggs. Whatever the old secret was for performing this miracle, I have learned a new one.

The pitted and torn first batch will go into potato salad. Or egg salad sandwiches.

More shaking. I like the energy I am putting into this. John took the photos.

A hopeful sign -- the first bit of shell separates nicely from the white.

It's going well -- the egg is half-peeled, and it's still in one piece.

And, the last piece of shell comes off in a satisfying big chunk. 

Voila! Smooth, shiny and whole. The secret is mine!

1 comment:

  1. Who knew? What would we do without the Internet?