Flavor of the Week: Poached Eggs

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“Poached eggs are so trendy these days,” I said in complete sober delirium last Saturday night in head-to-toe black leisure-wear, sprawled out on a friend’s common room couch.

My two other friends exchanged glances at each other, furrowing their eyebrows and cocking their heads to the side in complete dismay of my valid observation. They don’t think I saw this interaction, but now, after reading this, they will know that I did, and they will know that I could tell they thought I was saying another one of my ridiculously trite Hannah-isms, when, in reality, I was not.

This, in fact, may have been one of the most legitimate things I have ever said.

Tell me this — does a photo of a restaurant dish make you salivate more if a pristinely fluffy egg is sitting atop it? How much do you want to order something on the menu “just because it has the egg?” And do you “want to see what it’s like with an egg?” Doesn’t it better your burger? Your bagel? Your tagliatelle? Your poutine? Your arugula salad?

The thing about eggs is that they are the most platonic food there is. We have always had them, they have always been a sort of a staple in the American farming and production industry, and they have always been cracked open and cooked in an infinite amount of ways to suit your needs. An egg can be an ingredient, a glaze, or a lone soldier that is scrambled and served on toast your father poorly buttered for you. (Dads always have a way of putting too much spread on toast, and then spreading the spread poorly.)

Recently, the egg has been reborn. Its resurrection makes it not just an assumed constant — oh, there’s egg in this fill-in-any-food-here — but an added gain. The egg is now an extra. It’s a treat. It’s that fifty cents at Goldberg’s Bagels, or, as I previously mentioned, your excuse for ordering the thousand-calorie poutine when you really, really, really were trying to keep it simple this meal.

Such as this, which I ordered and consumed because it had an egg.

Such as this, which I ordered and consumed because it had an egg.

Have our tastebuds evolved to find the egg better-tasting? Do you enjoy yolk more than you used to? And tell me, did the egg white ever really have a distinctive taste at all?

In a culture where people are so difficult to please, we have somehow found a home for the egg as the ultimate bite. Oh yes, an egg, that’s exactly what that needs! The idea followed by the action of popping a perfectly poached egg in a florentine benedict makes us feel like children stomping on bubble wrap. With the tips of our forks we are able to bring something from its togethered stage to its decomposed one. We, oddly, love ruining pretty things.

Sometimes, I find the poached egg so pleasing because it looks more like a dollop of cool whip than it really does an egg at all, and it is more mouth-watering to stare at something sweet, spreadable, and, for lack of a better word, fluffy, than it is to have an egg. We never are excited by the taste of the egg and how that can change a dish. We order the tagliatelle because the yolk will make the pasta swim in this soupy, creamy, saturation. We don’t order something with an egg because we’re “in the mood for eggs.” We’re in the mood for eggs on Saturday and Sunday mornings when we find ourselves suffering from extreme protein deficiency and the repercussions of last night’s minor alcohol abuse. Every other day of the week, we want an egg for the way it looks; for the way it is going to change our entire meal in a matter of seconds. (Once it’s been popped, that is.) See below:

And it’s not just poached eggs — it’s all eggs, in any un-scrambled form. We want fried eggs wherever the poached egg would not properly function.

The poached egg is so trendy these days. I don’t even know how to make a poached egg, or how to poach an egg, but I like poached eggs.

When you think about it, a poached egg is kind of pointless. When you pop it, it just becomes something that’s almost the same as a sunny side up egg, or almost like the type of egg that sits in the middle of a Shirley Temple (what my grandmother used to called an “egg-in-a-hole”). But poached eggs look a lot nicer, and a lot fluffier, and taste a lot better. Apparently, at least.

I’m just sitting here hoping that one day, any piece of cheap, arbitrary clothing that I own will revolutionize itself as the egg has. We should admire the egg, really, as in a time when everything is “basic,” it has become… so… not.

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