Storm in an egg cup.
July 10, 2017 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Americans don't have egg cups. Brits are outraged!
posted by fearfulsymmetry (298 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe not, but we have cameras.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on July 10 [11 favorites]


We have a set (purchased while living in Europe, natch) but we don't use them frequently because I am too lazy to boil eggs for breakfast. Fried eggs take less time and don't feel quite as fiddly to me.

Besides, I'm pretty sure we're required by law to boil eggs hard enough that they can bounce without breaking.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:04 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


How do you all survive? It must be awful.
posted by pharm at 11:05 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I have, like, 6 egg cups. Honestly. Fake news even by British journalistic standards.
posted by GuyZero at 11:05 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Brits One guy on Twitter are is pretending to be outraged!
posted by neroli at 11:06 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


Weird. Canadians have egg cups. (Although only old people use them, because why in the hell would you soft boil an egg when there are eleventy-million better ways to cook an egg?)
posted by Fish Sauce at 11:06 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


Brits are is outraged!
posted by munchingzombie at 11:06 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]




Wait, what?! No: there is nothing better than a soft boiled egg at /just/ the right temperature so you can dip your toast in the yolk. Mmmmmm.

If you’re unable to hit that sweet spot, then they’re grim I agree.
posted by pharm at 11:08 AM on July 10 [11 favorites]


I grew up with egg cups, but my mom is from Ireland. The main reason nobody has egg cups in America is because soft boiled eggs are fucking disgusting.
posted by bondcliff at 11:09 AM on July 10 [68 favorites]


What am I suppose to do with the six eggs I'm about to eat? Have six egg cups? Also, how do you mix chopped pickles into your mushed up soft boiled eggs with an egg cup? I have an egg cup, it's supersized, it's called a bowl.
posted by bdc34 at 11:09 AM on July 10 [42 favorites]


(The white has to be set & the yolk should be warm to hot, but still liquid. If the yolk has set but is still soft you can spread it on your toast, but it’s not the same.)
posted by pharm at 11:09 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


A soft boiled egg in an egg cup was every Sunday morning as far back as I remember growing up in Germany. It took me years to get over the egg-cup-less barbarism of the US. Ah, who am I kidding. It still gnaws away at my soul when I lie awake at night, unable to sleep, remembering better soft-boiled-egg filled days.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:11 AM on July 10 [23 favorites]


eggy goodness
I have an eggcup (American, but I live in Denmark, but I got it from my American mother-in-law)
I also have eggs.

Maybe I should put those together.
posted by nat at 11:12 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I think we mostly do fried over easy for the runny yolk/solid white food space. In the US, boiled eggs are something you do in batches so you can pull one out of the fridge for quick protein in breakfast or lunch.
posted by tavella at 11:13 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


Egg cups are adorable, but soft-boiled eggs are the pits. So many opportunities to end up eating shell! Ugh.
posted by annaramma at 11:13 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I never met an American that said, "Boy I really enjoy a good soft boiled egg." I'm eggagerating a bit.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:13 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Now I want eggs and soldiers and I'm wondering if a shotglass will work.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Hairy Lobster, the only time I ever used an egg cup was during a semester abroad in Germany. Nothing like the Keystone Kop humor of a bunch of American students trying to figure out how to soft boil eggs.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:15 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


So many opportunities to end up eating shell! Ugh.


Not if you do it correctly. Use a knife to crack the shell and then clip the pointy top off. Enjoy your first little nibble of white. Then use a tiny spoon to scoop out the goodness. Two pieces of shell left over. Be sure to toss them in the tiny tabletop garbage pail.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:15 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I grew up with egg cups and I eat tons of soft boiled eggs. I had no idea any of this was weird or foreign until today. Now I know never to discuss my egg habits in public
posted by theodolite at 11:17 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


A pair of soft boiled eggs is the perfect breakfast*, served with lots of hot toast soldiers to dip into the liquid yolk. Learning how to crack one open neatly is an essential childhood / life skill.

*or lunch / afternoon tea / dinner / supper / random snack.

Hard-boiled eggs serve only one purpose: for pickling, to eat with chips from the chippie.

Based on a California road trip last year, including visits to some pretty huge supermarkets, you don't have nail brushes, either. But that's an anecdote, not data.
posted by dowcrag at 11:17 AM on July 10


These false outrages are funny, but also a bit tiresome. Different countries have different food customs. Shock! Outrage!. But so what?

I didn’t grow up on soft boiled eggs, though know of them and find the concept only mildly interesting, but I’ll not begrudge another country’s taste for them. Soft boiled eggs haven’t ever seemed a very American thing, TBH, but your mileage may vary.

If I'm going to eat a boiled egg, the ideal for me is hard boiled, ice cold, and dusted with salt and pepper. American? Southern? Family custom? I have no clue Just enjoy your food and relish in the knowledge different places like things differently. It makes travel more interesting.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:18 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


Never had a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup. I do, however, know what a toast soldier is.

#NotAllEggCuplessAmericanBarbarians
posted by Samizdata at 11:18 AM on July 10




Not if you do it correctly. Use a knife to crack the shell and then clip the pointy top off. Enjoy your first little nibble of white. Then use a tiny spoon to scoop out the goodness. Two pieces of shell left over. Be sure to toss them in the tiny tabletop garbage pail.

I'm an American and I own egg cups and I definitely also had this fantasy, but it was not my reality in the slightest.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:20 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


What do you do about the egg white? Throw it out with the shell? Carefully excavate it with a spoon? The first seems wasteful and the second tedious.
posted by Pyry at 11:21 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Please, someone tell me that I am not the only one thoroughly grossed out at the thought of eating runny undercooked yolks. Y'all who like it, go ahead. I just don't want to be alone.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:21 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


Use a knife to crack the shell and then clip the pointy top off. Enjoy your first little nibble of white. Then use a tiny spoon to scoop out the goodness. Two pieces of shell left over. Be sure to toss them in the tiny tabletop garbage pail.

Sounds great as a sequence from a Wallace & Gromit movie, but that's certainly no way for a human adult to eat breakfast.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:22 AM on July 10 [30 favorites]


You're not the only one, u_c, my dad is too. But he's not in this thread and I am so I can tell you you're missing out.
posted by nat at 11:22 AM on July 10


Please, someone tell me that I am not the only one thoroughly grossed out at the thought of eating runny undercooked yolks.

No, you're not alone. My crazy old father, who wants his vegetables boiled to mush and his lettuce iceberg or nothing also shares your distaste for delicious eggs.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:23 AM on July 10 [19 favorites]


Now what am I supposed to do with these egg cups I picked up at Crate & Barrel? I mean, they're not even supposed to exist.
posted by needled at 11:25 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I think some of you need a lesson on how to make a soft-boiled eggs.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:26 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Pyry: You eat the white of course. Why would you throw it away? Usually with a teaspoon, treating the egg like a small pot from which you are scraping out the white.
posted by pharm at 11:27 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


I'm an American and I own egg cups and I definitely also had this fantasy, but it was not my reality in the slightest.


I certainly struggled for years on my own attempts. After several European trips and a bit of clandestine observations in the Frühstücksraum I saw how it was done. Once you get it down, it's like magic. Pisses me off now to get a hard boiled egg because the technique doesn't work as well with them.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:30 AM on July 10


I'm confused that some people seem to be implying that without soft boiled eggs, there's no way to enjoy toast dipped into runny yolk, as if eggs over easy didn't also exist.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:31 AM on July 10 [27 favorites]


but that's certainly no way for a human adult to eat breakfast.

You'd think, but it's magical, and "lecker".
posted by humboldt32 at 11:32 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


It’s just not the same without the little ritual of cracking open the top of the egg & dipping your toast soldier in Atom Eyes.
posted by pharm at 11:32 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Egg cups are adorable, but just seems like a crazy unitasker.

A special container for a single food item, amounting to approximately 70 calories? Do you still use celery vases, too? Bacon tongs?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:35 AM on July 10 [27 favorites]


Shot glasses, anyone?
posted by HumuloneRanger at 11:36 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Usually with a teaspoon, treating the egg like a small pot from which you are scraping out the white

It's half the fun!
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Just learn to poach them, it's not that difficult.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:38 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


I just want to point out that the Wikipedia article on egg cups is so charmingly low information, because how much more information do you need?
- They are a thing that holds eggs, and the look like this: [photo]
- History: An early silver egg cup was found in the ruins of Pompeii
- Collector's item: Egg cups are collectible items. Collecting egg cups is called pocillovy

I don't know why that makes me so happy, but it does.

Un/Related: if you want stormy eggs in an egg cup, you could probably burn or heavily season some cloud eggs, which are apparently all the rage, somewhere online (Mirror.co.uk article with auto-playing video and terrible Death of the Day articles in the side bar).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on July 10 [15 favorites]


A special container for a single food item, amounting to approximately 70 calories? Do you still use celery vases, too? Bacon tongs?

The deal with eggs is their protein content, which people need to live and eggs give you a lot of. They may be the cheapest bang-for-buck for protein you can get.
posted by JHarris at 11:41 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Shot glasses, anyone?

Questions: 1) how big are your shot glasses, and/or 2) how small are your eggs?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:41 AM on July 10


Ahhhhhh, egg cups. My Scottish mother tried so hard to raise my brother and I to love eggs and soldiers while we were growing up in Canada's arctic. I can't imagine she found egg cups there - she must have brought them with her when she moved up north, which says a lot about her sincerity in this pursuit.

The stove was a battered, leaky, gas-powered monstrosity, the eggs were far past fresh and tending to green, and the bread was some frost-burned chunk left over from the last time the good stuff had come in on a sea can. To this day, I can't eat a soft-boiled egg without an imaginary whiff of gas and an expectation of food poisoning. Love you, mom.
posted by ZaphodB at 11:44 AM on July 10 [25 favorites]


So many opportunities to end up eating shell! Ugh.

That's why we invented the Eierköpfer (egg beheader)... decapitate your egg and remove the top end in one single elegant motion.

What do you do about the egg white? Throw it out with the shell? Carefully excavate it with a spoon? The first seems wasteful and the second tedious.

Yes you excavate it with special smaller versions of tea spoons called, you guessed it, Eierlöffel (egg spoons).

As has been pointed out the egg white should be set and the yolk creamy. If done right all that will be left is the clean shell of the egg still lined with the shell membrane.

Another piece of specialty equipment is the ingenious Eierpikser (egg piercer) which you use to poke a tiny hole into the bottom of the uncooked egg so that it won't crack in the boiling water.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:44 AM on July 10 [12 favorites]


Was referring to this:
A special container for a single food item, amounting to approximately 70 calories?

Normally only use shot glasses for liquor, and an ounce of 80 proof is about 70 calories.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 11:45 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Soft boiled eggs are tasty. I just take them out of the shell and put it on a plate (or bowl, I guess). Or just slice it open over the toast itself. Egg cups seem a little precious to me, but to each their own.
posted by defenestration at 11:47 AM on July 10


Shot glasses generally won't work well unless they just happen to have the right shape which is not a given. They won't hold the egg in a stable fashion making it hard to eat without applying force to the egg risking breakage.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:48 AM on July 10


Weird. Canadians have egg cups.

Canadians also have and use electric kettles to boil water, even though it makes little sense, electrically-speaking.

It's the little differences.
posted by rokusan at 11:49 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Little sense, electrically speaking, compared to what?
posted by pharm at 11:51 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Probably a hob or firing microwaves at the water or some other dumb nonsense.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I'm an American and this is my egg cup. I also eat my toast while it is still warm because our forefathers fought a war.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:53 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


That's why we invented the Eierköpfer

Everytime I see one of those I think I've accidentally wandered into some especially-nasty corner of the BDSM darkweb.

It's like that time I tried googling Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by its usual acronym.

Makes me twitch just thinking about it, and not in a good way.
posted by rokusan at 11:53 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


You've basically not lived if you've not eaten two (always two) soft boiled eggs in egg cups with toast soliders* all coasy warm inside on a dark winter's Sunday tea time whilst watching some BBC adaptation of a Dickens' novel. Bonus points for toasting the bread on an open fire.

*thinly spread with proper butter (if you are some kind of complete monster you can have marmite)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:53 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Well, I at least have a plug in kettle that I use all the time, so I'm not a complete monster.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:53 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Canadians also have and use electric kettles to boil water, even though it makes little sense, electrically-speaking.

I don't have a gas stove. What else should I use to boil water if not electricity? (I also own a stove-top kettle, which I like, but it's an enormous pain in the ass when I want to both cook a meal that requires several burners *and* make tea to eat with that meal.)
posted by Fish Sauce at 11:53 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


UK kettles draw more power since they're on 220V and draw ~3000W.

US/CA kettles top out at ~1500W.

The issue is that what are your options? Boiling water on a stove? The trouble is that coupling losses mean that a stovetop kettle isn't going to be any faster and it won't do useful things like turning itself off automatically.
posted by GuyZero at 11:54 AM on July 10 [8 favorites]


Yes, you just peel the soft boiled egg and put in right on top of a nice piece of buttered toast. Then take a bit and the yolk flows lusciously all other the bread. Mmmmm.

But I can see the usefulness of the egg cup. Because sometimes it happens that the shell will NOT peel off and you have to throw the lovely soft boiled egg away, and that, my friends, is heartbreak.
posted by kitcat at 11:54 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


A special container for a single food item, amounting to approximately 70 calories?

Ever eaten a soft boiled egg without one?
posted by humboldt32 at 11:54 AM on July 10


I should add that even better than a 3kW electric kettle is a Zojirushi kettle where the water is always hot.
posted by GuyZero at 11:55 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


In European and other nations with 220v electrical power, an electric kettle makes a lot of sense because it boils water very quickly. Convenient!

In Canada and USA, 110v electrical countries, kettles take approximately thirteen and a half years to boil water, while that much more powerful stovetop over there can do it in half the time, in a dumb old stovetop kettle.

(Disclosure: I have an electric kettle, in the USA, but sometimes I wonder why I'm so dumb. And apologies in advance if I just created a toilet-paper-over-under drama.)
posted by rokusan at 11:56 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I knew a guy in school, put egg in cup, now he's in prison.
posted by chavenet at 11:57 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Guyzero, those are much nicer. Though my real preference is for the plumbed-in hot water taps that give you coffee-or-tea temperature water instantly. Can't squeeze one into this sink, sadly.
posted by rokusan at 11:57 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]




Canadians also have and use electric kettles to boil water, even though it makes little sense, electrically-speaking.

Little sense, electrically speaking, compared to what?


This is not the Kettle War you're looking for.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:03 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


In Canada and USA, 110v electrical countries, kettles take approximately thirteen and a half years to boil water, while that much more powerful stovetop over there can do it in half the time, in a dumb old stovetop kettle.

Maybe this is the case with a gas stove, I don't remember, but my electric stove takes forever to boil water and the electric kettle I keep at work can do a full kettle (30 oz) it in 4 minutes, 14 seconds (I just checked). Maybe my stove top is much bigger or something, but I find the electric plenty fast.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:04 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Soft-boiled eggs done my way (which is of course the correct way):

1. Steam eggs for 6-1/2 minutes.
2. Run eggs under cold water for maybe 15 seconds, until they're cool enough to handle.
3. Tap a spoon gently around the equator of the egg, cracking the shell.
4. Over a bowl, use thumbs to pry apart the two halves.
5. Use the spoon to scoop egg from each half into the bowl.
6. Salt and pepper eggs, and, with a fork, mash them into a glorious eggy melange. Eat, swiping up the yolkier parts with buttered toast.
posted by Kat Allison at 12:05 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Amazing! If you don't have egg cups, then I assume you don't have egg cosies either. When I was a child, knitted egg cosies were some of those little craft projects suggested as home-made presents.
posted by Azara at 12:06 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


talk about your tempest in a egg cup!
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:06 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


My parents own egg cups and occasionally use them, and we'd have soft-boiled eggs for breakfast more often than not when I visited my grandmother, but I don't own any. So clearly Millennials are killing egg cups.

Of course, the important thing is we all agree that the egg should be opened from the little end and people who open them from the big end are wrong.
posted by ckape at 12:07 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Egg cups, schmegg cups. Try explaining toast racks to the yanks.
posted by carter at 12:12 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Of course, the important thing is we all agree that the egg should be opened from the little end and people who open them from the big end are wrong.

Wait, what? There are people heretics that would open eggs from the bottom end??? That... doesn't even make any sense. The big (bottom) end has an air pocket (which you can pierce with the aforementioned Eierpikser so it won't expand and crack the egg). If you open the egg from that end you'll have to deal with the membrane which is usually detached from the shell there. You'll likely end up with bits of membrane in your egg.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:13 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Lyn Never: Just learn to poach them, it's not that difficult.

Seriously. This may be the Ugly American in me, but soft-boiled eggs make no dang sense. Do you just... eat the soft yolk? How do you eat the white?

Poach an egg. Place it on a piece of buttered toast. Cut another piece of buttered toast into strips, and dip them in the yolk from the poached egg, when you're done with the toast soldiers, cut up the white and yolk-soaked toast and eat it with a fork. Yum.
posted by SansPoint at 12:14 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Soft boiled eggs are really easy to make in an instant pot if you just try to hard boil eggs but don't know what you're doing and are unwilling to not eat the result of your own mistakes. Tasted exactly like every other egg I've ever eaten.
posted by mattamatic at 12:14 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


carter: No, toast racks make sense. Toast can get soggy if you stack it up.
posted by SansPoint at 12:14 PM on July 10


If you don't have egg cups, then I assume you don't have egg cosies either.

I literally just saw a picture of one of these on an Irish B&B website about 10 minutes ago and thought, "what the hell is that felt thing?" before I realized it was part of the egg ensemble.

My favorite breakfast thing we don't have in the US is the toast caddy. You know that rack where all the little pieces of toast stand up together so they stay crisp. Why don't we have that?? I've only ever seen it in UK B&Bs.

(Lack of preview: Jeez! I read the whole thread and did a ctrl-F for toast and you people still brought it up before I finished my comment.)
posted by something something at 12:15 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Okay, wait, we don't have egg cups or kettles? What were those egg-cup like things that I grew up with? In what did we boil water for tea every day? What is that red metal thing that lives on my stovetop and whistles when filled with water and heated?

I admit that I don't have egg cups right now, but that's because I don't eat very many soft-boiled eggs.
posted by Frowner at 12:15 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]




Seriously. This may be the Ugly American in me, but soft-boiled eggs make no dang sense. Do you just... eat the soft yolk? How do you eat the white?
You eat both! There's great joy in cracking your egg, carefully removing enough shell to let your little spoon in, dipping your toast in the soft yolk and finally scraping out the white from the inside of the egg. It's a ritual. Try it some time!
posted by peacheater at 12:18 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Amazing! If you don't have egg cups, then I assume you don't have egg cosies either.

OK I now realize this has all been some kind of elaborate Prank-the-Yanks stunt thread and I regret having ever participated.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:20 PM on July 10 [23 favorites]


No one in the USA eats only one egg.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:21 PM on July 10 [21 favorites]


peacheater: That sounds like a lot of work for an egg.
posted by SansPoint at 12:22 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Maybe this is the case with a gas stove, I don't remember, but my electric stove takes forever to boil water and the electric kettle I keep at work can do a full kettle (30 oz) it in 4 minutes, 14 seconds (I just checked).

I've definitely timed electric kettle boil speed against stoves I've had, both gas and electric, as well as against microwaves. The electric kettles always boiled the same volume of water faster. Even in the US. Automatic shut-off is an important safety feature, and variable temperature settings are great for anything that doesn't require a full boil.

I have no interest in preparing or eating soft-boiled eggs, but I know one thing about egg cups: An egg cup makes a very good hat.
posted by asperity at 12:24 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


So is a Japanese tea ceremony just for some tea, but people do it all the same.
posted by peacheater at 12:25 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]



Ever eaten a soft boiled egg without one?


It's a really chicken-or-the-egg scenario, innit?
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 12:27 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I am an American living in Texas with a Polish wife. We have some egg cups that came with some kind of pottery set, but we really just use them as fancy shot glasses.
posted by LiteOpera at 12:30 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


On our recent vacation, which included a couple of days in iceland, we were presented with soft-boiled eggs in egg cups for breakfast at a nice little place in Reykjavik. Though I had never actually used an egg cup, being an American swine, I at least knew exactly what to do with the egg inside as a life-long lover of soft-boiled eggs and toast. I demonstrated opening the egg and dipping the (unfortunately not-toasted, though delicious) bread in the yolk to my wife and daughter, who were summarily disgusted and handed theirs over to me to gobble down greedily.
posted by briank at 12:33 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


What is that red metal thing that lives on my stovetop and whistles when filled with water and heated?

(Speaking as an American), when British/Irish people talk about "kettles," 99% of the time they're referring to electric kettles.

In my limited experience in the UK (I've never been to Ireland) stovetop kettles like the one you refer to are very rare.
posted by andrewesque at 12:34 PM on July 10


Americans have egg cups. If they didn't I would never have been able to watch my grandfather eat a softboiled egg, which experience led me to the conclusion that eggs are tremendously icky. I have spent 40 years not eating eggs because of egg cups.
posted by surlyben at 12:36 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers were what I got whenever I was recovering from an illness during childhood (and I inherited my mother's egg cups when she moved to Florida in the 90s). So I associate them with comfort and being taken care of. I had surgery to remove a tumor from the salivary gland in my left cheek a few years ago and when I could finally eat solid food again, all I wanted was a soft boiled egg and toast soldiers. My husband valiantly tried to make some for me. Of the four attempts: two were too soft and two were too hard. I tried next. Same problem. We'd gone through eight eggs at this point and I was literally in tears because I just wanted the damned eggs and soldiers and I wanted to feel that comfort again. I told my husband to forget it and I went upstairs to cry. Unbeknownst to me, my husband called my mother and had her walk him through the procedure.

They were perfect and I have the best husband in the world.

But when I want runny yolk goodness now, I just cook up some over-easy eggs. So much easier and faster than soft boiled and the results are the same, plus I use butter to cook the eggs, so: butter.
posted by cooker girl at 12:41 PM on July 10 [23 favorites]


As a southerner, I have to ask. Do Brits have deviled eggs? Obviously due to our climate differences, hot tea and warm under-cooked eggs are not ideal here. Deviled eggs and iced tea are vastly superior when it's 97 degrees out.
posted by domo at 12:42 PM on July 10 [14 favorites]


Soft boiled egg mashed together with half an avocado, some mayo, and a little some salt and pepper is delicioso!
posted by P.o.B. at 12:42 PM on July 10


I'm pretty sure that I ate soft-boiled eggs as a little kid but I don't think that we had egg cups. I doubt that I've eaten one in forty-five years though. I did have toast recently for the first time in a long time though.
posted by octothorpe at 12:42 PM on July 10


Americans have egg cups. If they didn't I would never have been able to watch my grandfather eat a softboiled egg, which experience led me to the conclusion that eggs are tremendously icky. I have spent 40 years not eating eggs because of egg cups.

So, I guess you could say that your grandfather taught you not to suck eggs?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:44 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


A better, more technically advanced way to cook eggs which involves a frivolous single-use kitchen gadget, you say? (via)

Of course, no discussion about eggs on the blue would be complete without pointing out how to make a long egg has now been discovered, in order to perfect the English delicacy known as a gala pie.
posted by fragmede at 12:49 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


You may think its funny
When yolks are runny
But its snot.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:50 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Years back my (now wife) and I were back home in CT for my cousins wedding. The day before we hit up Mystic Village for some random shopping and tourist stuff. One place they had these decorative egg cup/stand things on display. She asked what you would ever need a decorative egg cup for and I said half smart ass/half not "for displaying your decorative egg", she scoffed at such a thing. Two days later at my cousins (Ukrainian wedding) each place setting had...yes...a decorative Ukrainian decorated Easter egg....I turned to my wife and said "If only we had some way to display it!"
posted by Captain_Science at 12:57 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


Do you have to start with room temperature eggs, as Delia Smith suggests above? Because you're not making this look any easier for a 6:30 am operation.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:02 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]



Weird. Canadians have egg cups.

Weird Canadians have all kinds of shit.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


In Canada and USA, 110v electrical countries, kettles take approximately thirteen and a half years to boil water

They're not _that_ slow. They also have other advantages, like being able to heat water to a particular temp and keep it there (you don't actually want boiling water for green tea, for example).

They're still somewhat popular in the US (at least in California, I know tons of people with them). And almost everyone in Japan has an electric kettle, despite 100V electricity.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:11 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Not growing up with egg cups, I always assumed they were some ingenious device for cracking and peeling the shell off, rather than just a way to do it without having to hold the egg in your hand.

Do these originate from a time that egg shells were commonly contaminated and there were health benefits to only touching the shell with utensils? (Although it seems even the rarest soft-boiling would kill most of the germs.) Or is this just the same fussiness which makes it impolite to pick up your steak and eat it like a chicken leg?
posted by straight at 1:16 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I use an electric kettle to boil water for pour-over coffee every morning and it works fast enough for me and its auto-off feature saves me from worrying that I forgot to turn the gas stove off.
posted by octothorpe at 1:17 PM on July 10


"Then use a tiny spoon to scoop out the goodness."

oh uh we just use those for cocaine

"What else should I use to boil water if not electricity?"

can canadians not boil water with psychic hydrokinesis man what a tire centre

"Ever eaten a soft boiled egg without one?"

Yeah, all the time. Sometimes I use a ramekin, usually I just do a quick cold bath to make it easy to handle, then shell it quickly enough that it's still hot and eat it on toast or (even better) roasted asparagus. I do this because it's less hassle than trying to perfectly poach an egg.
posted by klangklangston at 1:20 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I love me a good soft boiled egg, but yeah: I want more than one, and they work delightfully on a piece of buttered toast.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:23 PM on July 10


I've definitely timed electric kettle boil speed against stoves I've had, both gas and electric, as well as against microwaves. The electric kettles always boiled the same volume of water faster. Even in the US. Automatic shut-off is an important safety feature, and variable temperature settings are great for anything that doesn't require a full boil.

I just tested this in Toronto using a cold electric kettle that hadn't heated anything for a couple of hours and a cold stovetop kettle from my basement, not used since 2016, maybe. I put 10 ounces of fresh, cold tap water in each and placed the kettle on the usual burner on my gas stove (9200 BTU), then started both. At 1:25, the kettle switched off, followed by the stovetop kettle whistle at 2:05 -- 40 seconds slower than electric.

The stovetop kettle would have done better if I had placed it on the larger 16,000 BTU burner, but I reserve that burner for larger pots that cover the entire flame. Besides, look at all the heat and energy that is wasted to the open air versus being contained fairly well within the electric kettle. I don't find waiting less than 90 seconds for the electric kettle to be a chore.

Bonus round: 10 ounces of cold water in a Pyrex cup in the microwave took 2 minutes to start a few bubbles, but the full boil didn't start until 2:15.
posted by maudlin at 1:28 PM on July 10 [11 favorites]


I am an American living in Texas with a Polish wife. We have some egg cups that came with some kind of pottery set, but we really just use them as fancy shot glasses.

Egg cups and drinks go back a long way. Consider the Sazerac: "According to popular myth, he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and the Americanized mispronunciation resulted in the word "cocktail"."
posted by leotrotsky at 1:37 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


It's eating the soft cooked egg still in the shell that I can't quite fathom. I've cooked what Jacques Pepin calls "Mollet eggs" though: you prick a tiny hole in the rounder end of the egg with a pin, lower it into boiling water and cook for six minutes. Then drain the water out and roll the egg(s) around in the pot a bit to crack the shells so you can peel them under running water. Set whites, liquid yolk, no shell. Easier than poaching.
posted by dnash at 1:52 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I am more likely to make coffee in a coffeemaker, so I don't have an electric kettle. Counter space is limited. I do enjoy an occasional soft boiled egg with salt, pepper and a little butter. Not often enough to have eggs cups.

The distress at the lack of egg cups is kind of startling. Do they think we have murdered them? Taken them out, lined them up, and shot them? Hanged them? Hit them with cars?
posted by theora55 at 2:01 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Somewhere in the kitchen is an egg coddler . Haven't seen it for years, let alone used it. Nice eggs IIRC.
posted by StephenB at 2:10 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


You should never coddle your eggs. Coddled eggs make for weak chickens.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:13 PM on July 10 [17 favorites]


Speaking as a vegan, this is like reading a heated debate about transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation.
posted by kyrademon at 2:23 PM on July 10 [15 favorites]


I am American and I eat soft boiled eggs almost every day.

I don't understand people saying it takes so long to soft boil eggs, though. It takes, like, 6 minutes from start to finish and I don't even have to wash the pot.

I put a couple eggs in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover, put the lid on and put it on high heat. When it boils I take them off the heat and let them sit for 2 minutes with the lid on. I dump out the boiling water, fill the pot with cold, then take out the eggs once they have cooled a bit. They come out perfect every time. I usually eat them on toast, but sometimes I'll break out the egg cups if I'm not feeling rushed.
posted by ananci at 2:26 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


To break character and actually comment on-topic for a moment, I refuse to eat boiled eggs (of any firmness) for the same reason I don't golf or play bridge.

i.e. I'm not seventy yet.
posted by rokusan at 2:31 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Egg cups have an upwardly concave portion to hold the egg

Wikipedia seems to think Americans don't understand the concept of cups, either.
posted by Segundus at 2:31 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I'm shocked nobody has mentioned the need to smash the eggshells once finished, so witches can't make boats out of them
posted by KateViolet at 2:34 PM on July 10 [17 favorites]


Brits don't have Salmonella. Americans are envious!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:36 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Do you still use celery vases, too? Bacon tongs?

Yes. Yes. Wide mouth vases and small tongs are hardly insane unitaskers.


Do these originate from a time that egg shells were commonly contaminated and there were health benefits to only touching the shell with utensils? (Although it seems even the rarest soft-boiling would kill most of the germs.) Or is this just the same fussiness which makes it impolite to pick up your steak and eat it like a chicken leg?

No. They originate from a time 30 seconds after the egg comes out of boiling water, and is 100°c all over, and hence painful to handle. I mean, you can hold your scalding egg in your fingers if you want, but if wanting to enjoy breakfast with being exposed to a sort of ovoid gom jabbar makes me an effete limey ponce, so be it.
posted by howfar at 2:38 PM on July 10 [26 favorites]


British eggs can be kept at room temperature for weeks because our H+S standards don't require farms to wash the protective layers off our eggs before sending them to the shops.

(This nceessarily isn't a knock on US standards btw - each embodies a different approach to dealing with the threat of food poisoning from eggs. The US way is to sterlise the snot out of the outside, with the concomittent cost that you have to keep your shop bought eggs in the fridge & they don't keep very long whereas the British way is to ship eggs pretty much as they came out of the chicken, in which state they keep for weeks at room temperature but anyone who touches them would be well advised to wash their hands straight afterwards, just in case.)
posted by pharm at 2:51 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


Wow, I assumed "celery vase" was just a joke comment like "hah how absurd that would be". Until howfar's followup I had no idea that was a real thing.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:51 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Do you still use celery vases, too? Bacon tongs?

My purpose-built asparagus pot is used to make jamaica, nine uses out of ten. The lift-out strainer is just perfect for the leaves.

Crucify me.
posted by rokusan at 2:57 PM on July 10


We ate soft-boiled eggs on the reg when I was a kid (raised by English types), and I certainly have a set of eggcups in the cupboard, though my preferred egg ordeal lately is to soft-boil it and then eat it with avocado and, if possible, leftover taco fixings from the night before.

The most favored eggcups of my youth looked like little Welsh ladies. Even had nice black and lace Welsh hat egg cozies. I tell you this in the strictest confidence so as not to tarnish my tough guy image.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:04 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the current habit of turning one's nose up at purpose-driven engineering. I don't think I could live without my chicken gizzard cruet or salt shaker sneeze guard. Are we animals now?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:07 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Wow, I assumed "celery vase" was just a joke comment like "hah how absurd that would be". Until howfar's followup I had no idea that was a real thing.

....

Oh my god, same. What's next, special ham plates? Different knives for food of different colors? Metal caps you put on your teeth whenever you eat yogurt?
posted by thedaniel at 3:11 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Where I come from, Yogurt tooth caps are made of baked enamel.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:12 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


Another one with European parents who grew up with egg cups. We had some like these that were double-sided, so you could eat from the egg in the small end, or scoop the egg into the big end (perfect for dipping toast!)

The problem isn't that Americans don't use egg cups, it's just that Americans don't eat a lot of soft boiled eggs, I don't think, unless they're in Benedict form.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:17 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Where I come from, Yogurt tooth caps are made of baked enamel.

That's so 17th Century. Early 20th Century bakelite caps are cooler looking and more comfortable due to reduced weight.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:21 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Oh my god, same. What's next, special ham plates? Different knives for food of different colors? Metal caps you put on your teeth whenever you eat yogurt?

I'm fascinated by the idea that standing herbs and salads in water (which is all that a celery vase is) is some esoteric ritual rather than a useful way of keeping them fresh.
posted by howfar at 3:23 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Where I come from, Yogurt tooth caps are made of baked enamel.

That's so 17th Century.


Well, I was born in the 17th Century, so that tracks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:27 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I owe my longevity to a special tea infuser made for me by ancient alchemists that measures exact amounts of special oils from select rare herbs and powders.

I've never aged a day, thanks to the pour trait of Earl Grey.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:57 PM on July 10 [27 favorites]


#dadjokes
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:00 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Pretty rich coming from a country whose government--right now! in 2017!--involves a coalition with the fucking DUP.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:09 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I have egg cups, though I've only used them twice. Too much hassle for too little reward. If I want a hassle making eggs, I'll poach the fuckers. Poached eggs are a reward.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:13 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I have five or six egg cups (two of them have adorable little feet on them). I use them all the time and have since childhood. I'm an American.
posted by thivaia at 4:24 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


a dark winter's Sunday tea time whilst watching some BBC adaptation of a Dickens' novel

this is basically my prescription for nudging back an upsurge of clinical depression. It is very effective.

But as much as I would love to fit egg cups into my life, it isn't going to happen. Perhaps someday. Over easy/over medium laid gently on buttered toast or some kind of hash when eating carbs, or topping a burger. Poached if I feel like stirring things and scrubbing away loose white, which is almost never.

Washed celery with the base cut off gets transferred to a large glass of water in the fridge when it starts to wilt a little, perks it right up. Had no idea there were vases for it. I'll add the idea to my list of things to look for if I ever buy a house.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:33 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Those tweets are hilarious but damn, someone get Mr Egg Cups/toast soldiers to a Waffle House for a proper American breakfast.
posted by Ber at 4:37 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I care about this issue deeply. I am not kidding. I am a loyal American but each weekend AM I steam two (pasture raised free range) eggs using this awesome device, to a magic point I think of as medium boiled, then place each in one of my beloved egg cups, of which I have a collection. Then I top my eggs with this wonderful device, leaving nary a shell sliver. Then, one egg at a time, I scoop out my egg innards with this wonderful spoon, and slather on its designated slice of buttered whole wheat toast. Then I sprinkle atop it lots of this amazing hot sauce, and finally I eat it bite by succulent bite.

Yes, I have found breakfast nirvana. Egg cups are definitely required.
posted by bearwife at 4:39 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Couldn't you just use the device to poach the eggs and avoid the cutting and spooning parts?
posted by tavella at 4:51 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]




Why the fuck would you eat a soft boiled egg when we live in a world with poached eggs? Same yolky goodness, no fiddly shell bullshit.
posted by supercrayon at 5:08 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I love poached eggs and make them often, but I still hanker for my old egg cup and the deeply satisfying process of dipping toast until the yolk is mostly gone, then cleanly scooping the rest of the egg out of the shell. You don't have to get fiddly unless you want to.
posted by maudlin at 5:25 PM on July 10


Easter Sunday, the whole family had boiled eggs on which my father had drawn caricatures of us with Magic Markers. It was quite thrilling to slice the top of one's own head off with a knife, and then dip soldiers into one's brainpan. Let alone scooping the white matter out with a teaspoon.

Utterly impossible without egg cups.
posted by Devonian at 5:31 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Why the fuck would you eat a soft boiled egg when we live in a world with poached eggs? Same yolky goodness, no fiddly shell bullshit.

To retain control of the yolky goodness (and regulate its temperature), instead of letting it run all over the place like a goddamn Philistine. :-)
posted by BlueDuke at 5:42 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I love soft-boiled eggs, but only at a breakfast buffet at a European* hotel where they have egg cups and an endless vat of pre-boiled eggs so I don't have to bother to boil them myself.

* I've never seen soft-boiled eggs at American hotel buffets.

** There was this one hotel in Switzerland that had a basket of raw eggs, a pot of boiling water, and a set of wire spoons and digital timers with matching color coded tags. You'd put your egg in the blue spoon and dip it into the pot, then take the blue timer back to your table with you. When your timer reached your preferred egg number, you'd go back and fetch your perfect egg from the blue spoon. That was really clever, but I'd rather just have an endless vat of pre-boiled eggs.


jeff-o-matic: No one in the USA eats only one egg.

Why do French people eat only one egg for breakfast?

Because one egg is an oeuf.
posted by moonmilk at 5:53 PM on July 10 [33 favorites]


One of the many YouTube tutorials on how to make soft-boiled eggs and toast sticks. Seems more complicated than my normal breakfast recipe of ripping open a clif bar package and eating it sullenly with a cup of black coffee.
posted by octothorpe at 6:01 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


My egg cups. I love soft boiled eggs. I love dipping toast soldiers in to them. I love dipping bacon wrapped asparagus in as soldiers. Soft boiled eggs are the best (if made properly).

There is much talk above about differing abominable egg related devices... For me the single most abominable egg related unitasker is the deviled egg tray. Deviled eggs = the worst! So why have a tray? What else can you use them for? Maybe a tray for radishes?
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:35 PM on July 10


The set of dishes my parents got when they married, which I now have, has two things that I understand to be egg cups, which I have only ever used for ketchup.
posted by wreckingball at 6:38 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Deviled eggs = the worst!

I did it, everybody! I found history's greatest monster!
posted by ckape at 6:46 PM on July 10 [27 favorites]


I just found out that Americans don't eat boiled ham cream or Lord wadelswather rumplebottom tea cakes!? And no Egg pudding ???
 — @Lindzeta
posted by moonmilk at 7:04 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


You know what I've actually been wondering lately is if you can use an electric kettle (I have one, here in benighted America) to soft boil an egg or two faster than on the stove.

I recognize that this is probably heresy.

I think I have some egg cups around somewhere. I definitely have a pair of egg scissors for cutting off the top. The handles are cleverly shaped like a chicken and the blade is round and they have fascinated many generations of children in my family. In fact they look almost exactly like these.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:10 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


innes mckendrick: "just been invited on a podcast to talk about eggs, this is too much, i would like to remove myself from this narrative thanks"
posted by RobotHero at 7:18 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Because of this thread I now remember eating out of egg cups. My sister is not there so I must be 34 months old max. Was that a thing in the late sixties? I don't recall any egg cup sightings after sis was born.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:21 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Deviled eggs = the worst!

Only if you put relish in them. Otherwise, they fucking rule.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Down with single purpose kitchen tools!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:50 PM on July 10


You can do other things with that there tool...
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:02 PM on July 10


And no Egg pudding ???

My Italian immigrant grandmother would mix egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and call it 'egg frosting.' Me and my siblings used to scarf it down like there was no tommorrow.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Even worse.

America no longer has Viennetta.
posted by schmod at 8:29 PM on July 10


I know what egg cups are, though I've never used one. When I was a kid my dad would occasionally soft-boil eggs for breakfast; we each got a couple and poured them out into a bowl and added a generous dollop of butter, salt and pepper. My mouth waters just thinking about it. But no soldier things for me; I've never liked dipping things in eggs.

I sometimes have butter on my sandwiches, especially if they also include peanut butter. My oldest son thinks this is gross of me. I do not care.
posted by lhauser at 8:32 PM on July 10


Huh. As a Canadian I had no idea people existed who did not have egg cups in their homes. What sort of horrible barbarians are you guys down there? Ugh.

Poached eggs are neither equivalent nor superior to a proper soft boiled egg. They are soggy and nasty.

The proper way to eat a soft boiled egg it to lop the top off, poke a bit of butter into the runny yolk, salt and pepper to taste, and eat it with some nice toast to dip.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:40 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I find the idea of delicately extracting soft-boiled egg from a shell at the time of day when I am barely capable of walking straight mystifying, but hey, whatever cups your eggs.

I do use tongs for my bacon, because I make it in the oven, and you need tongs to get it off the baking sheet onto the paper towels to drain. (also that link doesn't mention, you don't preheat the oven). Mostly I make it for dinner though.

I also have an pitcher-sized electric kettle I use it to boil water that I then use to steep two bags of tea which will later become a giant pitcher of iced tea. It's very handy when you need a lot of very hot water, takes about 3 minutes to get to boiling maybe.
posted by emjaybee at 8:48 PM on July 10


I can't believe all you people eating multiple boiled eggs at one sitting - one egg is un oeuf.
posted by unliteral at 9:05 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Egg cups and soft-boiled eggs are a way to make eating eggs really fun for children. So you have different egg cups with funny designs, of course you use an egg cosy, then the special utensil to cut off the top. Then you dip your mouillettes in the egg. You need to balance between inserting the mouillette too deep and having yolk spill out or not dipping enough and eating more bread than egg.

And...

I'm shocked nobody has mentioned the need to smash the eggshells once finished, so witches can't make boats out of them

No! you turn the emptied shell of the egg upside down in the egg cup, put it in front of your mom or dad when they aren't watching and tell them they got an extra egg. They in turn start cutting the top off, realize the egg is empty and throw their napkin on the floor in mock anger. That's what growing up in a civilised country means.
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 9:10 PM on July 10 [14 favorites]


Nothing delicate, difficult, or tricky about eating a soft boiled egg out of the shell. Put in spoon, scoop it out. Even small children can do it. Scooping out grapefruit with a spoon is more difficult.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:11 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I like to medium-boil my eggs. 7 minutes. The white is firm, and the yolk is creamy, but not runny.

I hate hard boiled eggs. Horrible memories of firm, chalky yolk.

That said, nothing is more disgusting than an undercooked soft boiled egg, where the white is roughly the texture of vitreous humour.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:12 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Soldiers I could take or leave, but soft boiled eggs are Necessary for ramen.
posted by emeiji at 9:13 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


There's great joy in cracking your egg, carefully removing enough shell to let your little spoon in, dipping your toast in the soft yolk and finally scraping out the white from the inside of the egg. It's a ritual. Try it some time!

This sounds like a ritual that could have been developed during the rationing years. You might get only one egg, there wasn't enough gas to boil it more than soft, and the toast had to be cut into little pieces so everyone could get some, but at least you could find a way to stretch the eating process out for a good half hour and in the process the warm egg might ease your chilblains.

More seriously, I've eaten eggs like this (in the US and while traveling) but find it too fussy to really enjoy. I don't mind runny eggs, but that is easily done in the frying pan or poached; all the extra work for no reward doesn't do it for me.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:16 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


First Trump, now this. You'll be telling us you've never been caught behind trying to glance a googly to square leg on Boxing Day next.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:43 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


You'll be telling us you've never been caught behind trying to glance a googly to square leg on Boxing Day next.

I, er... yes?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:58 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


one egg is un oeuf

Not for Gaston!
posted by ckape at 10:11 PM on July 10


Just chiming in to say that it's real weird for Americans to not acknowledge runny eggs. Egg cups aren't a thing, but over-easy eggs totally are. WhoTF are these US weirdos who have never heard of over-easy eggs?!
posted by desuetude at 10:26 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I had soft boiled eggs tonight for dinner because of you. Six minutes. I have egg cups, but the eggs were mostly a glaze for some roasted CSA veggies so I half-beheaded and half-peeled them until I could pop them atop the veg. I did take an egg cup down from the shelf and consider it. Maybe on the weekend.
posted by janell at 10:33 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


The white was so much better than a poached egg. Velvety. YUM.
posted by janell at 10:37 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


No! you turn the emptied shell of the egg upside down in the egg cup, put it in front of your mom or dad when they aren't watching and tell them they got an extra egg. They in turn start cutting the top off, realize the egg is empty and throw their napkin on the floor in mock anger.

But how would that work? They'd have to flip the egg over first to open the egg from the proper side, thus destroying the illusion.
posted by ckape at 10:41 PM on July 10


A soft boiled egg in an egg cup was every Sunday morning as far back as I remember growing up in Germany. It took me years to get over the egg-cup-less barbarism of the US.
Meanwhile, I emigrated to the US - West Coast even! - just to get away from those disgusting soft-boiled monstrosities. It worked for a while but who am I kidding. We're on a Germany vacation at my in-laws' house right now and my daughter has decided she likes soft-boiled. I bought an egg cup for her to take home in our suitcase. Red with polka dots. No escaping the soft-boiled tradition :/
posted by The Toad at 11:04 PM on July 10


And you know what's really missing in the US? Kinder Surprise Eggs!
posted by The Toad at 11:05 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


The deadliest candy of all.
posted by Artw at 11:09 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


WTF Brits! All that boiling and special cup and ungainly "topping of the egg" only to dig around inna tiny, dainty hole to dip toast???

My modern American method uses only one bowl. Break four eggs into a deep bowl without breaking the yolks, sprinkle with pepper, microwave for just over a minute or until one egg "explodes" (hence the deep bowl). This makes firm whites with runny yolks which can be sopped with bread. One minute, y'all. No shell in the eggs. One dish to wash.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:24 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


If you're going to make scrambled eggs just go ahead and make it, I'd say.
posted by Artw at 11:32 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Has no one mentioned the thing where you invert the empty shell in the cup, say you're full, and then pass it off to your sister as a free egg?
posted by pompomtom at 12:23 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


WhoTF are these US weirdos who have never heard of over-easy eggs?!

I once made the mistake of ordering sunny-side up, when I meant to say over-easy (I was hung over). I can't for the life of me understand why people want their eggs half raw like that.

I've actually wanted an egg cup for years, but I still can't picture what people are describing here. You... take the top half of the egg off? I don't understand. My only comfort is in knowing that there are things about American culture that must surely bewilder visitors to our great nation, just as I was once bewildered by the sight of gooey raw eggs ruining an otherwise perfect breakfast meant to cure a hangover.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:35 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


You think this is exciting? Here in Korea we have bacon for dinner!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:48 AM on July 11


I once made the mistake of ordering sunny-side up, when I meant to say over-easy (I was hung over). I can't for the life of me understand why people want their eggs half raw like that.

The whites are supposed to get basted so they are fully set. If done right, sunny side up maximizes the amount of delicious runny yolk. If done wrong, it's a gloppy mess and you'd be better off just sucking the egg down raw, Rocky-style.
posted by stopgap at 1:49 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I got stuck in on this original thread, and kind of regretted it. I asked all my friends who the hell has never heard of egg cups and basically got "We had 'em but my family's Russian/German/Czech." and "My grandparents had them, and we inherited some." I wonder if poaching took over most of the runny-yolk-without-oil method, as that tends to be more common in the US these days.

As for frying, I actually had a friend (originally from Leicester) who'd moved back from the US to London and tried to order "over easy" from a local fry-up place in Pimlico. It didn't go well:
"This isn't New York, mate! You want a fried egg, ask for it, or get out!"
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:04 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Fun fact #1 I learned today: Eggs have a protective coating, which makes it possible to store them outside the fridge.

Fun fact #2 I learned today: Apparently, it needs to be sprayed on, which makes it kind of impractical.
posted by sour cream at 2:34 AM on July 11




I hadn't thought of it in years, but when I was a youngster -- the late 1960s, per Mr. Yuck -- my mother would occasionally give me a hard-boiled egg in a plastic egg cup. Often to her regret, as I wanted no part of it. I haven't seen that egg cup since.
posted by bryon at 4:40 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Now, I know this may not be true, but it has the sound of truth, which is surely good enough for an American:

In one of his "I an American lived in the UK for a long time" books, Bill Bryson makes the observation that pleasures in the UK tend to be more modest and routine, while Americans expect their pleasures to be overwhelming and orgiastic. This seems to me to explain the seemingly intractable difference between "and you make a nice egg, and eat it slowly with a small spoon and toast soldiers" and "cook four eggs, then eat them with avocado and other rich toppings on many slices of toast".

Another thought: based on nothing more than reading a lot of books about food, it seems like there's more of a tradition of a varied breakfast plate in the UK. I know that, just as we don't have, like, pancakes and waffles and quiche and donuts all together every day, people in the UK don't generally have fried mushrooms and beans and toast and eggs and bacon and fried tomatoes for breakfast. But when I compare what I've grown up with as the Sunday fried breakfast, it seems to top out at three or maybe four things, whereas it seems like four or maybe five on the fancy fried breakfast plate in the UK, at least in the books. So one egg cooked simply makes a lot of sense.

When I was growing up, when we had eggs it was one per person. Once a week or so I have eggs for supper and I have two. But actually, a soft-boiled egg and toast soldiers sounds really good, and I think I may try that this week. Also, I bet eBay is rife with super cute vintage egg cups for, like, a dollar.
posted by Frowner at 4:42 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Checking in from Southeast Asia to inform you we've perfected the soft boiled egg, both in the making and the eating. Foolproof.
posted by cendawanita at 4:49 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


You know what else you need, according to my soft-boiled Munich inlaws? An Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. Literal translation: eggshell-intended-break-line-causation-device.

I don't know how the English do this. Probably just smash the top of the egg in with a spoon? 'Nasty, brutish, and short', as they have always lived...
posted by The Toad at 5:11 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


When I was growing up, when we had eggs it was one per person.

I'm honestly kind of boggled at the idea of having two if you're dipping toast into it. If I'm making plain fried eggs, I'll have two, but if I'm eating toast as well one will suffice.

I think this is another thing about American food traditions that I kind of find confusing: We treat bread like it's an extra - like it's not part of the meal. A plate of food will have the same amount of food on it whether there's a bread roll or not. So I usually end up not eating the roll and wondering where everyone else is finding the room for it all.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:59 AM on July 11


After reading (nearly) this entire thread, I realize that I am alone, but I must bravely stand up for my people: those of us who don't want to see where the yolk leaves off and the white begins.

Thusly, my very brief egg menu: scrambled or omelet.
posted by virago at 6:06 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I don't know how the English do this. Probably just smash the top of the egg in with a spoon?

As children, some of us Brits develop a Zen-like understanding of when, where, how to crack the shell of a soft-boiled egg.
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:08 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: This isn't New York, mate! You want a fried egg, ask for it, or get out!
posted by moonmilk at 6:23 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


A plate of food will have the same amount of food on it whether there's a bread roll or not.

Legitimate question: is there some other kind of roll that people are distinguishing by saying "bread roll"? It rings very oddly in my ear, like saying "bread toast."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:28 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


But when I compare what I've grown up with as the Sunday fried breakfast, it seems to top out at three or maybe four things, whereas it seems like four or maybe five on the fancy fried breakfast plate in the UK, at least in the books. So one egg cooked simply makes a lot of sense.

This is definitely true. I think that English (and to a slightly less extent Welsh, I can't really speak for Scotland and NI) breakfast cooking fits within a rather odd pattern of meals where formality trades off against caloric significance. The traditionally most formal meals: lunch, afternoon tea and dinner (the former and latter being characterised by Russian service and afternoon tea having its own rituals), are interspersed with much less formal meals of breakfast, meat (or high - although this has been misappropriated to describe afternoon tea) tea and supper. These are all most typically characterised as some form of "spread", although a light form of any of these meals might consist of just one or (more usually, if you count toast) two items from the range of dishes. The kind of varied plate you describe seems to reflect this approach.

There are strong class connotations relating to the consumption of different meals, with meat tea in particular being non-U, maybe making it difficult to come up with a good general account of them. However, I think breakfast is somewhat less socially striated, with the ideal of a working, middle and upper class breakfast all being pretty much the same: a spread, possibly spilling over into a buffet where resources allow. I think the perception you have of the varied plate reflects a cultural appreciation of certain sort of informal variety as characteristic of comforting consumption. Which sort of reminds me of Maugham's (I think) claim that "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day": breakfast was the one informal meal consistently available to the upper classes.
posted by howfar at 7:30 AM on July 11


Because of this thread my breakfast this morning consisted of a soft-boiled egg, toast, and an espresso. Thanks!
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:31 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Americans think Brits eat mince on toast! Brits are outraged!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:33 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


However, I think breakfast is somewhat less socially striated, with the ideal of a working, middle and upper class breakfast all being pretty much the same

Interesting. I feel like the opposite is true in the US? The stereotypical giant American breakfast feels coded as a working class thing, and restaurants often assign the bigger ones names implying with manual labor (lumberjack breakfast, country breakfast, etc.) whereas I think of the upper classes as having something dainty like pastry.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:39 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


[...] only to dig around inna tiny, dainty hole to dip toast???

This is one "Oo-err, missus" away from belonging in a bawdy 1970s hospital.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:40 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


  the Eierköpfer (egg beheader)...

… that leaves tiny ground shards of eggshell throughout your repast. No thank you!

Diced boiled egg in a cup is a great health restorer. The mere noise of someone making it for you when you're poorly has a vast placebo effect.

The toastrackening is too much for North America to handle. Let's just say an incident (the ‘Toast Snit’) involving a toast-rack (rather, the lack of one) is probably why certain close relatives from the UK have never chosen to visit us in Canada again.
posted by scruss at 8:04 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


  mince on toast

Wait, cold mince on toast wasn't a thing for you?

(srsly, no word of a lie, cooked but cold mince on toast was something I grew up with. A somewhat revolting waxy/granular thing, but a thing nonetheless.)
posted by scruss at 8:12 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I mostly see toast as something you have when you eat out for breakfast. We don't normally keep bread around the house because there are only two of us and a loaf of bread normally goes stale/moldy long before we can finish it.
posted by octothorpe at 8:20 AM on July 11


Legitimate question: is there some other kind of roll that people are distinguishing by saying "bread roll"?

Swiss roll? Spring roll? Sausage roll? Arctic roll?

Plus once you get your basic bread roll and put something in it then its name can change to reflect that.
posted by biffa at 8:27 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I have a set of "poaching pods" that basically allow you to get the poached/soft-boiled perfect state while simultaneously having a) no shell and b) no egg white going everywhere. They take a little time to get used to, but the results are exactly the way I want an egg to be if I want it to be that soft but don't want a fried egg.
posted by Sequence at 8:50 AM on July 11


I know I'm late to this party but not a single mention of soft boiled eggs sous vide? One of the easiest things to do with an immersion circulator (no vacuum bags required). Eggs, once brought to temp, stay perfectly soft boiled until you're ready to serve and eat.

And that's why we don't have even need egg cups in 'Murica!
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:02 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


Legitimate question: is there some other kind of roll that people are distinguishing by saying "bread roll"?

There are other types of rolls. I'm sure it's useful to distinguish them.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:29 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


All this talk of kettles and boiled eggs prompts me to warn that, according to my mother, you should never boil eggs in the kettle because it gives you warts. I've never boiled an egg in the kettle, and never had a wart, so it must be true.

My mother also instructed me to turn the empty eggshell upside down after eating, and smash it with a spoon "for the sailors". I found out very much later that witches were supposed to take the intact shells and used them as boats so they could sail out to sea and cause storms. This method was supposedly used by witches in an attempt to sink James I's ships. Several people were were executed. and Shakespeare got some good ideas for the witches in Macbeth.
posted by Fuchsoid at 9:46 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


As a kid I always thought it was fun to do things like trying to get the biggest piece of shell, or the smallest usable opening. #onlychildgames
posted by Room 641-A at 9:58 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


No lie, I'd never heard of "toast soldiers" before this thread. I know I could look them up, and based on the stated use of dipping them in a still be-shelled runny egg, I assume these are slices of toasted bread cut into thin strips so as to fit inside a small opening, but I'm not going to look them up, because I am loving the idea that all of these years Brits have been needlessly trimming toast points into the actual detailed shapes of soldiers, preferably the ones in the ridiculous tall Q-tip hats (like cats trying to make themselves look bigger). One assumes, these being Brits, that virtual wars have been waged on whether it is acceptable to use pre-shaped toast cutters rather than free-hand trimming (or, heaven forbid, buy those disgusting loaves of bread already baked and sliced into the shapes of soldiers), and whether a true toast soldier must be cut out before or after the bread has been toasted. Also, whether electric toasters are permitted, or whether a true soldier is only ever held over an open-flame burner.

Presumably, here in the states one can buy "toast soldiers" which are actually stale Necco wafers in microwave pouches, but these are only available in New York.

Please do not disabuse me of these new, delightful notions.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:59 AM on July 11 [11 favorites]




Couldn't you just use the device to poach the eggs?

Er, no. It is designed to steam them in the shell. Which gives you a lovely tender egg white, without the wateriness of even the best poached egg and a huge amount less work.
posted by bearwife at 10:57 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I am loving the idea that all of these years Brits have been needlessly trimming toast points into the actual detailed shapes of soldiers

Revealing another facet of my obsessiveness on this subject, I want to tell you that I do in fact have a red plastic mold designed specifically to be imprinted on buttered toast to cut it in the shape of little soldiers. Also I have been known to use said mold when I am approaching my soft boiled eggs in fully British style.
posted by bearwife at 11:00 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Sadly, per Wikipedia the toast soldier appears to be a sixties marketing invention. Also, the ploughman's lunch was a product of the Cheese Bureau and the Milk Board post-war.

I feel that the British need to conceal their invention of tradition better. More with the "scouring the chalk horse, an unbroken 3000-year tradition" and less with the "cheese is off the ration list", please. Toast soldiers should go back at least to Napoleon - obviously you're dipping them in the egg and biting their heads off to signal your opposition to old Boney.

On another note: I have read that during WWII, the UK had only one kind of cheese. I mean, I assume other kinds were made at small scale and informally, but due to rationing, cheese production was, um, rationalized. It took into the seventies and eighties for UK cheese production to really recover. I myself feel that there is a long way to go in UK cheese exports, because I can hardly ever even get any red leicester over here, never mind much else.
posted by Frowner at 11:27 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Also, if British people are so outraged about our lack of egg cups, maybe you should arrange some kind of egg-cup lend-lease or airlift or something. When you airlift me my emergency egg cups, you can throw in some cheese, maybe a Milk Tray and a couple of bottles of golden syrup.
posted by Frowner at 11:35 AM on July 11


per Wikipedia the toast soldier appears to be a sixties marketing invention.

I should edit that Wiki entry... my mum invented toast soldiers in the 1950s.
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:36 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


If I get an American in the secret quonsmas draw can you guess what they will be getting?
posted by biffa at 12:18 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Couldn't you just use the device to poach the eggs?

Pretty much all the US-available "egg cooker" devices include a poaching tray you can swap in for the egg-holding tray, yes. Some also have an omelette tray too.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:51 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Okay, so there have been multiple posts here poo-pooing the wonderful egg cup as a horrible unitasker that has no place in a kitchen, and yet you guys are okay with egg poaching and cooking devices? Pish. Cooking an soft-boiled egg only requires any old pot.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:06 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


People who see the egg cup as an unitasker lack imagination. They have a myriad of uses!
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:09 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


The first time I ever interacted with an egg cup, I thought they were really weird mise en place bowls. They are pretty great for staging dry spices and that kind of thing. But the ones I saw didn't stack, and I get cabinet rage over stuff that doesn't stack/nest.

(I'm not really into egg devices either, but that's because I have an Instant Pot.)
posted by Lyn Never at 1:18 PM on July 11


Stacking egg cups do exist! I have a nice set of vintage saucer-shaped Danish melamine egg cups that stack.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:36 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Eh. I think the rage against unitaskers is overblown. A unitasker you use is well worth it. I have a simple three cup rice cooker. I use it for only one thing: dumping rice and water into and walking away. Given how often I cook rice, it is entirely worth the top of fridge space it occupies. Similarly, if you eat eggs every day, it's probably worth it to be able to dump eggs and water into an egg cooker and go do other things.
posted by tavella at 2:23 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


This thread. It's like I don't know any of you at all.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:30 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Since we're also talking toast, what is it with Britain's lack of toaster ovens? After searching in vain for our first week or two here, we finally broke down and just bought a two-slice upright toaster. But of course it really only fits the smallest factory-made bread - anything larger has to be flipped mid-toasting. (I doubt it could even accommodate a bagel, but then that's a moot point.)
posted by HumuloneRanger at 3:33 PM on July 11


I don't know why anyone is bothering with shells and special tableware when you could just make eggs in a basket.

Take a nice 1" thick slice off a good loaf of bread and cut a hole in it (a cup can be used for this). Pan fry one side in butter, then drop 2 eggs into the hole and once the whites have firmed up on the bottom flip it and fry the other side till both sides of the bread are golden brown and delicious, and the eggs are cooked a perfect over easy.

You can still fry up the circle you cut out too, for bonus dipping bread. Gooey, eggy perfection.
posted by tocts at 4:08 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I don't know why anyone is bothering with shells and special tableware when you could just make eggs in a basket.

That's called a toad in the hole. You philistine.

But more importantly, why is anyone bothering with tables? And eggs?

You can just eat dust bunnies off the floor. Much easier.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:33 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I honestly can't stomach calling it toad in the hole because Danny, the Champion of the World uses that same phrase for a totally different dish involving sausages.

Not that I know jack shit about English cuisine or anything.
posted by tocts at 5:03 PM on July 11


Toad in the Hole is a big Yorkshire pudding with sausages in.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:06 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]



Since we're also talking toast, what is it with Britain's lack of toaster ovens? After searching in vain for our first week or two here, we finally broke down and just bought a two-slice upright toaster. But of course it really only fits the smallest factory-made bread - anything larger has to be flipped mid-toasting. (I doubt it could even accommodate a bagel, but then that's a moot point.)


What does a toaster oven do that the regular oven or grill (broiler in US Eng) can't? Serious question.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:08 PM on July 11


What does a toaster oven do that the regular oven or grill (broiler in US Eng) can't? Serious question.

Well, the point is that is does pretty much anything the larger appliance can, but it sits conveniently on the counter and is easier to monitor, it heats faster, doesn't heat the entire kitchen, and it uses less energy. If you just want to toast a sandwich or make a couple baked/jacket potatoes, it's easier and more energy efficient to use the toaster oven. If you live in an area with good bagels, it's also great for toasting those, too.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 5:20 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


You might as well ask why someone would need a dedicated appliance to boil water when you could just as easily do it on the hob.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 5:35 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Hahahaha British people being smug about food HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I mean we have curry too hahahaha
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:05 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


There's just something cosy about the process of dippy soldiers, a little like those miniature kitchen videos, that is missing when you dump an egg out on to a slice of toast, even though the content is exactly the same. I still like to go tap tapping around with a spoon even though I know it's faster to slice the top off too, I didn't develop this egg peeling thumb for nothing.

> You might as well ask why someone would need a dedicated appliance to boil water when you could just as easily do it on the hob.

Tea is important.
posted by lucidium at 7:10 PM on July 11


Tea is important.

No kidding.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:13 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


And you know what's really missing in the US? Kinder Surprise Eggs!

There's nothing quite like lopping off the top of a Kinder Surprise egg, dipping your bread in the tiny plastic toy bits, and then trying to scrape the chocolate from between the inner plastic shell and the inside of the foil with a tiny spoon. Memories!
posted by Kabanos at 7:16 PM on July 11 [16 favorites]


Kabanos, I have bronchitis and that made me laugh/cough so hard I think I bruised a rib.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:35 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Hahahaha British people being smug about food HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I mean we have curry too hahahaha

Barely.
posted by Artw at 8:59 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Frowner: On another note: I have read that during WWII, the UK had only one kind of cheese. I mean, I assume other kinds were made at small scale and informally, but due to rationing, cheese production was, um, rationalized. It took into the seventies and eighties for UK cheese production to really recover. I myself feel that there is a long way to go in UK cheese exports, because I can hardly ever even get any red leicester over here, never mind much else.

Perhaps obligatory.
posted by bryon at 9:47 PM on July 11


Legitimate question: is there some other kind of roll that people are distinguishing by saying "bread roll"? It rings very oddly in my ear, like saying "bread toast."

"Sausage roll" comes immediately to mind (I suppose also hand roll and California roll).
posted by pompomtom at 12:18 AM on July 12


Well, the point is that is does pretty much anything the larger appliance can, but it sits conveniently on the counter and is easier to monitor, it heats faster, doesn't heat the entire kitchen, and it uses less energy. If you just want to toast a sandwich or make a couple baked/jacket potatoes, it's easier and more energy efficient to use the toaster oven. If you live in an area with good bagels, it's also great for toasting those, too.

I think the difference is UK kitchens are generally somewhat smaller than US ones, so counter space is at a premium. Often once you've put the toaster, microwave, and kettle on the counter there's just enough space left for food prep. Another microwave-sized appliance would take up most of that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:59 AM on July 12


The most bizarre thing about this thread is that it appears on neither side of the Atlantic do people regularly eat eggs with proper half-developed embryos inside. If you crack the shell just right the embryo unleashes the sonorous unearthly wail of an unborn-yet-damned soul trapped in the mortal plane by the intensity of human gluttony.

As a kid I always thought it was fun to do things like trying to get the biggest piece of shell, or the smallest usable opening. #onlychildgames

Ovolaparoscopy
posted by XMLicious at 6:14 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


eggs with proper half-developed embryos inside

Filipino street food! Balut! Balut! (2nd link: Viewer Discretion is Advised)
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:07 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I think the difference is UK kitchens are generally somewhat smaller than US ones, so counter space is at a premium. Often once you've put the toaster, microwave, and kettle on the counter there's just enough space left for food prep. Another microwave-sized appliance would take up most of that.

Every toaster oven I've owned has been much smaller than a microwave. About the same footprint as a four-slice upright toaster, which it's meant to replace, not supplement.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 7:18 AM on July 12


Tea is important.

No kidding.


The First Opium War is one thing but even more recently (that conflict probably deserving of FPP on the Blue).
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:15 AM on July 12




Darn it destrius, you beat me to it :)
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:05 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


No lie, I'd never heard of "toast soldiers" before this thread.

This comment reminded me of recently deciding, after years and years and years of reading books in which British people eat breakfast, to find out exactly what a "rasher" of bacon was. It's a slice. A slice of bacon. One piece of bacon. I'd always imagined it being some kind of set serving of a certain number of slices of bacon. But British bacon, like Canadian bacon, isn't quite the same thing as we commonly eat here in the US, either.
posted by Orlop at 10:10 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


In my soft-boiled-egg-in-cup German youth, Sunday breakfast became more interesting the day my dad suddenly shelled a whole egg, plopped it into a wineglass, cut it open lengthwise, added the obligatory dab of butter, salt&peppered it, and proceeded to spoon-eat it from there. (Though I never asked, I took it that the distribution of butter and seasoning had seemed too constrained by the shell.)

It became a kind of passage, from our childish, toast dunking ways, to the adult way to enjoy an egg. Even leaving the empty-but-smeared glass seemed somehow more worldly than our neat, clean Eierbecher and little heap of shell-shards.

(We called the toast soldiers "Ritter", knights.)
posted by progosk at 10:10 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


You know, this whole toast soldiers/knights thing is pretty metal. I mean, what is it implying? That you are some giant, monster or dragon which picks up fighting men, bites their heads off and devours them....for breakfast.

Poor little toast soldiers. They probably just wanted to finish out their enlistment and get back to the loaf back home.
posted by Frowner at 10:53 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


Don't let the toast soldiers fool you. They're just in it for the bread.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:23 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


But British bacon, like Canadian bacon, isn't quite the same thing as we commonly eat here in the US, either.

As an American, it's soooo much more to my taste. I don't mind eating high-fat foods but I just don't like pork belly adipose tissue. I think all of the bacon I've had in the UK has been prepared from much less fatty cuts of meat than pork belly.

The only variant of bacon other than pork belly I've found available in the supermarkets around me is pork jowl bacon, which evidently has higher fat than pork belly.
posted by XMLicious at 11:36 AM on July 12


Less fat, but more rash.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:40 AM on July 12


Look for real back bacon / peameal bacon from Canada, which is NOT the horror-show that is "Canadian bacon". It's just wet-cured pork loin, pretty lean except for a little easily separated fat trim, but still luscious and sweet.
posted by maudlin at 11:52 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]




Americans don't have washing machines in the kitchen...

oh good grief.
posted by GuyZero at 2:12 PM on July 12


I know of egg cups, but now I use rice instead. Mmm. Rice and soft boiled egg.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:36 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


> What does a toaster oven do that the regular oven or grill (broiler in US Eng) can't? Serious question.

Said like a person who likely either has central air conditioning or doesn't need it because of climate.

Toasts without heating the entire kitchen is what. I don't have a toaster oven, so our bread gets fried rather than toasted in summertime.
posted by desuetude at 10:41 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I don't have a toaster oven, so our bread gets fried rather than toasted in summertime

Ok, I'm going to regret this, but: you don't have a toaster?
posted by pompomtom at 1:15 AM on July 13


I guess toasters are un-American ?
posted by pharm at 1:26 AM on July 13


Since we're also talking toast, what is it with Britain's lack of toaster ovens? After searching in vain for our first week or two here, we finally broke down and just bought a two-slice upright toaster. But of course it really only fits the smallest factory-made bread - anything larger has to be flipped mid-toasting.

I am struggling to understand this last bit, if your bread product doesn't fit into the toaster how does flipping it in the middle become relevant?

Regarding sizing, its easy to buy toasters with bigger spaces if your toast needs stretch to a wider gauge.
posted by biffa at 3:55 AM on July 13


If the maximum size of bread product your slot toaster can fully accommodate is 𝑛×𝑛, then it's also possible to use it to fully toast intact bread products up to size 𝑛×𝑚 where 𝑚≤2𝑛, because flipping it halfway through the toasting process makes it possible to toast two separate 𝑛×𝑛 regions at opposite ends of the 𝑛×𝑚 object.

Alternatively, if you can get hold of a superdense cosmic string that folds spacetime in its vicinity, properly aligning a two-slot toaster can also make it possible to fully toast an intact 𝑛×𝑚 bread product by simultaneously inserting that single object into both slots at the same time. However, the entire universe may be destroyed at the end of the toasting cycle when it pops up.
posted by XMLicious at 4:19 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


I mean, if I have really tall bread I just cut the slice in half and put one in each slot, but you know the string thing works too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:35 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


As does buying a new toaster as suggested above, of course, or simply eating bread that isn't fully toasted. It's just a matter of picking your toast-poison.
posted by XMLicious at 4:51 AM on July 13


Ah, I was thinking in terms of bread fatness and in terms of two sides rather than top half and bottom half.
posted by biffa at 4:59 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


>I don't have a toaster oven, so our bread gets fried rather than toasted in summertime
Ok, I'm going to regret this, but: you don't have a toaster?


Quite the contrary: as everyone knows, all Americans own approximately half a dozen toasters.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:28 AM on July 13


As a single person with very little counter space, I abandoned toasters for a toaster oven long ago. It does all the toaster things, but also lets me warm up frozen pastries (microwaving them tends to make them soggy), melt cheese on sandwiches, etc. Especially since my stove doesn't have a broiler.
posted by tavella at 8:58 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


After much searching, I was able to locate for our counter a toaster/toaster oven combo. This little baby does it all, in one compact, stylish package.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:34 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: Yeah, but how good of a slot toaster is it, and how good of a toaster oven is it? Maybe I've listened to too many John Siracusa Toaster Oven Reviews, but I'd rather two appliances that do each job well than one appliance that's kinda meh at both jobs.
posted by SansPoint at 10:10 AM on July 13


Alternatively, if you can get hold of a superdense cosmic string that folds spacetime in its vicinity, properly aligning a two-slot toaster can also make it possible to fully toast an intact 𝑛×𝑚 bread product by simultaneously inserting that single object into both slots at the same time.

My favourite is toasting tortillas! You have to fold in once across its diameter, then spritz the outer faces with water, then make a radial fold to allow both wings of your whitebread condor to fit within the toaster's fiery grasp. And, in order to ensure toasting on both sides of the radial hinge, you need to remove it and fold it back the other way halfway through toasting.
posted by howfar at 10:44 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


howfar: Or you could just use a non-stick skillet. A lot easier.
posted by SansPoint at 11:07 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I had breakfast with an egg in an eggcup throughout my childhood. And this was in NEW JERSEY. (To be fair, my folks are German, & I have no idea whatever happened to all those eggcups.)
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 11:17 AM on July 13


SansPoint: Honestly, it's been good enough for our uses on both fronts, but we are a two person household and our toasting needs are modest. There is one toaster opening, which is fat enough for even a thick slice of bread or an average bagel slice. Depending on the width (rather than thickness) of the bread slices, we can sometimes toast 2 slices at once in the toaster opening, but often must toast slices individually. This is usually not a problem for us as we rarely need to toast more than 2 slices at a time, and even that is more than our typical usage (I'm not a huge toast eater). So one or two slices at a time is not a deal breaker for us.

The oven is on the smallish side, but can accommodate most everything we use it for (2 large bagel slices open-faced with cream cheese, Havarti & roast beef toppings, for the most common example). It cooks fine.

If you have a large family to make toast or toaster oven products for (or are a toast purist), you'll want to stick to individual toasters & ovens. But if you have modest toasting/toaster oven needs, then this particular model does a fair enough version of both, and is a real space saver. Frankly, my biggest beef with it is that it has an annoyingly insistent signal when your toast is done. Really, toaster? Do I need 5 loud beeps?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:41 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: Frankly, my biggest beef with it is that it has an annoyingly insistent signal when your toast is done. Really, toaster? Do I need 5 loud beeps?

Yikes! My toasting needs are modest too, but jiminy, that alert thing is a deal-breaker right there.
posted by SansPoint at 12:15 PM on July 13


There may be a way to disable that - or at least turn it down - but I've been frankly too lazy to look.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:24 PM on July 13


We have six egg cups because we had two egg cups (one for each of us) and that turned out to be annoying, but then we couldn't buy two more that matched the first two. But ever since I got my sous vide gadget I don't boil six minute eggs (which I found maddeningly inconsistent); I do 45 minute, 145° F eggs (AKA 63° eggs). We also have one of the spring loaded egg toppers, and we finally got some spoons. I've discovered that it's best to swipe the spoon all the way around inside the shell before cracking the white, which allows you to extract the whole thing in one piece if you desire.

But I'll admit I had never even seen a soft boiled egg until Bryan Voltaggio made one on Top Chef. Before that I was a big fan of over easy, though. I like a runny yolk. I hate a hard boiled yolk. (And my wife refers to soldiers, but since I'd never eaten a soft boiled egg I also hadn't ever learned this term).
posted by fedward at 4:22 PM on July 13


Consider the Sazerac: "According to popular myth, he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and the Americanized mispronunciation resulted in the word "cocktail"."

Like a lot of drink lore, this is hokum. The last paragraph of this (excellent) interview of David Wondrich has the real origin of the name.
posted by fedward at 4:27 PM on July 13


Came back to vote for toaster ovens over toasters. Toasters might as well be uni-taskers. And toaster ovens are great when it's the aforementioned 95 degrees outside and you don't want to turn on the oven for any reason.
posted by domo at 7:08 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Toaster ovens also use less energy.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:29 AM on July 14


There's no better way to reheat left over pizza than a toaster oven especially during those four or five months when you're not about to fire up the actual oven.
posted by octothorpe at 9:56 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I skipped to the bottom of the thread after reading about halfway through; my impression is that we're debating whether to toast eggs in a toaster or a toaster oven now because toasted eggs is totally thing related to some fiddly yolk-centric ritual that Americans have been missing out on, please don't disabuse me of this notion
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:10 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Also, apparently, British soldiers dip their toaster ovens into eggs for some reason.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:24 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


My old nan gave me the most wonderful set of egg toasting greaves before she passed. Those are what you put the eggs in so they'll fit in the toaster slots, just check out this google search if you don't believe me. They were made to resemble bulldogs wearing fusilier uniforms and the eggs always came out perfectly toasted; one tap of your pewter toasted egg mattock and all the delightfully uncooked yolk would come spurting out in runny gouts, just like I remembered when I had the dropsy and lukewarm toasted eggs were the only thing I was allowed to eat. Now, you'd have to position your porcelain toasted egg troughs just so to catch the yolk as it came off the dribbling gutters, but ah! is there anything more delicious than scooping up that tepid goo with your larchwood toasted egg spade and smearing it directly onto your extruded tongue, as you do? There is no better way to enjoy an egg, I say, and the whole process scarcely takes more than an hour and a half. Far easier than poaching, or as my old nan called it, "the devil's egg-bath." Of course, after eating toasted eggs, it is traditional to retire to one's toast pantry to enjoy pieces of sliced toast, or "soldiers," as we called them, which of course are prepared by boiling.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:47 AM on July 14 [16 favorites]


This is like when someone from a different country does fake English that sounds like English but is actually gibberish.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:51 AM on July 14


Exemplary soft-bolied egg opening technique on display in this early 1960s advert shown on UK telly. Starring Tony Hancock... Go to Work on an Egg
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:52 AM on July 14


it's never a good thing when I discover threads from the sidebar, folks
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:53 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


My eggs don't have cups, they have Egg Pants.
posted by rocket at 1:58 PM on July 15


Nobody look at the GOOP thread.
posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


/Quasi derail/
All this discussion about electric vs. stovetop kettles. I don't get it. Skip them both and get an insta-hot.
(And now I am wondering if there is a not so secret group of people who think that is the wrong and terrible way to get hot water fast, so I'll just be scooting on out of here...)
posted by k8oglyph at 3:31 PM on July 18


Tea purists want full boiling water which a hot water dispenser doesn't quite achieve.
posted by GuyZero at 3:51 PM on July 18


Well, black tea purists, anyway.

The insta-hot taps at work are super for green and oolong teas.
posted by janell at 4:47 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Tea purists want full boiling water which a hot water dispenser doesn't quite achieve.

Not quite = not tea.
posted by Artw at 5:42 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


We sous vide our eggs in the shell, then either crack them for poached eggs if we're feeling hip and urban or serve with toast, en coquille if we're feeling nostalgic. The best of both worlds really.

Truth be told you do need to tweak temperatures and times a Iittle, for softboilled or poached, but it's not really a huge difference.
posted by bonehead at 7:31 PM on July 18


Last week I cooked a load of runny-centred eggs by cracking them into hollowed-out potatoes and then baking them on a fire in the woods. I don't know what you call it, but they came out very well.
posted by pipeski at 7:18 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


pipeski: Last week I cooked a load of runny-centred eggs by cracking them into hollowed-out potatoes and then baking them on a fire in the woods. I don't know what you call it, but they came out very well.

I'd eat the hell out of that.
posted by SansPoint at 7:19 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Toast racks are an abomination, but they're exactly the sort of idiocy that's to be expected from a nation that hasn't yet figured out how to make hot and cold water come out of the same tap.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:03 PM on July 22


What else do people charge their iPads in?
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


they're exactly the sort of idiocy that's to be expected from a nation that hasn't yet figured out how to make hot and cold water come out of the same tap.

Be fair, a lot of our plumbing is older than your country. Toast racks though; if the toast isn't going straight from the toaster to your plate, what's the point? Cold toast is a crime.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:52 PM on July 23


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