"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Dumb luck poached eggs

by Julie Tilsner on August 14, 2008

in Kid Food, Minor Miracles, Breakfast


There are very few dishes that remind me of home. My mom didn’t really cook, although she recently tried to argue this point by reminding me that she put a chicken in the crock pot almost every week, and between that and her infamous creamed tuna on toast, who was I to continue claiming I grew up in a culinary wasteland of TV dinners and PB&J’s made with diet jelly product?

Still, my memories remain. And one of the only  meals I remember fondly from my childhood kitchen are poached eggs. For whatever reason, my mom had the secret of making them, and every so often when she had the time she would spoon them out over crisp English muffins for us, to our great delight.

Because of that, I am often the only one at the diner to order Eggs Benedict, so I can get a couple of egg, poached by a professional and smothered in Hollandaise sauce, over English muffins, with some forbidden Canadian bacon thrown in for extra pleasure.

These eggs have been on my mind lately. I’ve been coming across scandalously good-looking photos of poached eggs; I’ve been stumbling on recipes; essays on the egg, and so on. Wednesday, with the nits at their dad’s and out of all the usual breakfast foodstuffs (Jack, in his profound late-summer boredom, ate an entire container of blueberries the day before), I tried my hand at the simple-but-often-vexing poached egg.

No recipe, just some vague memories of how it’s done. I did quickly peruse Deb’s take on how to poach an egg on her blog, Smitten Kitchen, and took her advice to drop a dollop of vinegar into my water. Not sure why that’s important, but if she does
it I can only blindly follow. Be warned: Her photos are Triple X food porn.

The results, as you can see above, were quite pleasing. Now if I had had better bread, and not Van de Camp’s faux wheat loaf left over from beach camping, and some freshly picked tomatoes to go on the side, it could have been a memory. Better still if I could be sure of my ability to do it again, maybe for the kids, and make a memory for them. But that would be asking for too much. So I sat in my sunny kitchen and enjoyed the meal, and the quiet, and thanked the goddess of poached eggs for watching over me.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

kelli Johnson August 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

I think the vinegar helps keep the whites together, and conversely never salt the poaching liquid..this makes the egg whites scatter. I have also heard you should swirl the water around and drop the egg in the middle, getting the first few seconds in the water to wrap the egg around itself…Love poached eggs!! Yours looked really yummy – camp bread or muffin!!


JO August 17, 2008 at 2:02 am

Plenty of vinigar and a good swirll of the water to get them formed, never fails for me


bad home cook August 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Bloody hell! Jamie Oliver did not just leave a message on my blog, did he? It’s a piss-take, yeah?


ATriana August 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

oy; if you had only used a crispy English muffin for Jamie Oliver to see. Nice pic though- looks like your camera is working right again.


JulieR August 25, 2008 at 3:35 am

What a beautiful, beautiful egg!
My mom cooked but not really the way I wished she had – the fascination with the new technology of frozen foods was, I think, just too much for many of our modern-leaning moms in the 1960’s. My sisters argue with me on this point – they remember her as a fantastic cook…


la cousine August 27, 2008 at 5:49 am

Thank god I read you today Jules. I had $15 ($15!) worth of fresh Maine blueberries that I had left in the car to rot. Now, having had my brain jiggled by visions of Jack eating a whole pint (quart?), mine own are safely ensconsed in the fridge. I’m afraid I myself remember the tuna special served up at ristorante Tish. You must know that she got her egg-cooking prowess from Grandma Flo. Remember those delectable 3-minutes?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: