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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Eggs and egg-heads

Yes, this post has a lot to do with eggs and other related stuff, viz chickens and egg-heads.

But before we develop this plot further, please don't get misled into thinking that this is a copy-pasted slice of text from a journal on evolutionary biology which ought to begin with "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" et al. This is not definitely not so. Though chickens and eggs form a very important part of this discussion, this very surely does not intend to border on text-book subjects that refer to the same. Any violation of the above intent (or lack of intent, thereof) is sorely regretted.

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boiled eggs. They don't look so nice here in the mess, but. So what.
Eggs. It would be a horrific understatement to say that I love eggs. My affection for eggs surpasses many of my other worldly affections, which include ... umm ... let's chuck that. Anyways, right since my tryst with eggs began, back in the days of nursery school, when my mum used to wield a plate of water-poached eggs in front of my face .. till the present haggling over the mess counter, "bhaiyya, do ande ka egg-rice" my relationship with this wonder-oval has been, a very happy one indeed. Maybe I am a day too late, but, I am ready to make the egg my valentine this year without batting an eyelid.

Eggs are ubiquitous.  It's the first thing a human baby learns when he reads about "ovals". It's the one thing that the cuckoo so conveniently lays in the crow's nest. Also it's the one shape that Hercule Poirot's head so nicely resembles. Look around you and presto! examples galore.

Back home, eggs had always meant a lot to me and my family, thanks to the numerous improvisations that my mum used to conjure up in her kitchen. Now in college, though the variety which I used to indulge in back home has vanished, the egg still manages to bring a smile to my lips and replace that otherwise  menacing frown which results when one enters the mess.

Indeed. Would you rather have the stupid aloo-sabzi concoction made even more disgusting with the dal that resembles jaundiced camel piss when you could rather ask the egg-guy to graciously dish out a nice double omelette for you? 'course not. Hell no!

Which takes me down me memory lane into the shady corners of RB mess last year. On second thoughts, no, RB mess rocked.

I was initially very confused when it came to taking mess extras. Yes, I am the sort who gets very bewildered when he's faced with a new situation. Though, I eventually emerge victorious ( :P ) I take my time. So on the very first day that I saw a huddle up around one counter in the mess, my curiosity got the better of me and I dared into the unruly throng who were beating about the counter with steel plates. I did not catch exactly what they were saying, but there were loads of "ek ande's" and "do ande's" flying here and there. "Andes are never bad" I said to myself, and ventured in. Five minutes later, I was having the best omelette that I had had in the past few weeks.

that's a tomato omlette. We don't get that here. But then again, so what.
After a few days of omelette, the egg fanatic in me demanded poached eggs, and I went to the same counter and said, "bhaiyya, do ande poached".

I wish I hadn't uttered that. The egg-guy gave me a look of utter incomprehension. As if I had just asked him what the Navier-Stokes equation was and why it was still unsolved. It took a few seconds, and a few more stifled chuckles from all around before a kindly third yearite explained, "Dude, I think you should be asking for fried eggs."

I was baffled. Fried eggs? Poached eggs sound so much cooler. You fry stuff like potatoes, vegetables. You fry fish. Frying eggs would bring eggs down to the level of all these things. It would be demeaning eggs and showing utter disregard for the lofty stature in the hierarchy of food items, that they so rightfully deserve and occupy.

A trifle peeved, I muttered the required insult, and in a few moments, was sitting amidst my friends and wingies, gloating over my new found indulgence. A poached double egg. And in the course of conversation, I unearthed an eye popping truth.

No one seemed to know what poached eggs were. No one that is, except for my GoodOldBongFriend who, like me, was having trouble believing that the situation was so. We were throughly dumbfounded. We sat and ate like a couple of baffled bongs ... hell, we WERE baffled bongs. And silently passed snide comments about our ignorant countrymen. I am sorry if I sound racist or regionally prejudiced, but I just can't help it.

A few more days passed, when more truths were unveiled. Though they were far less eye-popping than the previous one. My KungFuPanda Tambram sidey confirmed that poached eggs were to us, what Bullseyes were to them. Now when he said that, I did remember seeing or reading about bullseyes. But I also remember "ewwww-ing" when I had heard of it for the first time, and had wondered how such a beautiful delicacy could be in any form of human logic be associated with the gross eyes of a bull. Maybe jaundiced bullseye would have at least gotten the colour right, but as they say, logic is one thing that humanity lacks.

Moving on. Three semesters passed, meandering through tests, classes, lectures, fests and of course, a lot of omlettes, plates of egg rice, fried eggs, hard boiled eggs, and egg bhujji. Till I rediscovered something in my second year, that drew a nice grin on my otherwise bong visage.

The liquid yolk.

The yellow liquid yolk of the egg. Which is another way of saying, life seriously rocks.

This very awesome egg-guy in VKB mess. What he does is, half-fry eggs, without turning them over, so that the upside remains liquid-y, yet just enough cooked to remain free of the H5N1 virus. Actually no. But it's a risk worth taking.

Now there's a way of savouring every delicacy. With half-fried eggs, with the sunny side up, it is as follows.

fried / poached / bullseyes. Call it what you want. It kicks ass.
Eat away the white albumin part, without spoiling the yellow thing in the middle. Because, the yellow thing in the middle : that's the show stopper. That's the real deal. the white part is the general rag-tag band performing. The yellow is the Led Zeppelin. The final performer. What everyone's been waiting for.

There are several ways of enjoying Led Zep. You can head bang to Whole Lotta Love. You can come drunk and stay dazed with Kashmir. Or you can just sit and delve in to the melodious realm of Stairway to Heaven. So it is, with the egg yolk. You can either

  • a) sublimely deliver a smooth cut with your spoon parallel to the top surface of the yolk. And revel in the yellow as it oozes out onto your spoon. Or 
  • b) you can hack at the egg with the spoon, holding it perpendicular to the top surface of the yolk, and drive it right into it. Like a stabber who has no knowledge of using a knife. And then sit back and enjoy the yellow as it flows onto your plate.
I am sorry if that invoked anything gross in my dear readers' minds, but it does explain stuff really nicely.

OK, I am too dazed after giving birth to this metaphor. The labour pain is very high. So I shall quit now, with some lines from the Beatles.

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.

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