Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Thing #13: first cooking lesson. (The excitement never stops!)

How have I gone 28 years without having ever poaching an egg? Such a simple thing. I just poached one. Just now. Just like that! I cooked it and then I ate it. (Which I've also never done--I have never eaten a poached egg.) Until, like, five minutes ago. New Thing--done. True story. (True story.)

And who knew that cooking could be so easy? When I was eighteen-years-old, before I went off to college, my mom tried to teach me some basic lessons that I had failed to learn in the previous eighteen years I'd spent living underneath her roof. Things like how to use a fork correctly, and how to separate my whites from my colors, and how to cook. You know, everyday things like that so that I could go out into the real world and function like a normal human being.

And then I went out into the real world and I learned that if you hold your fork like a neanderthal, people either don't notice, or they think it's charming, or they blame your mother for never teaching you how to hold a fork correctly. So I continue holding my fork incorrectly to this day.

Another thing I learned in the real world is that separating your whites and your colors when doing your laundry isn't really necessary. It's actually part of a big scam by the laundry detergent companies to get people to do more loads of laundry and use more detergent. Because, truthfully, red clothes don't really bleed pink. I mean, not in my experience. And blue clothes, and green clothes, and whatever other colored clothes you wanna come up with, they don't really fade. It's all a big, fat conspiracy invented either by the people at Tide or Strom Thurmond. And I don't care what you say to try to convince me otherwise--you can say that I'm colorblind and that I can't even tell most of my colors apart anyway, and I would tell you you're right, I am colorblind, but still: I don't see a difference. So I keep on not separating my whites and my colors to this day.

But the cooking thing...oh, man, the cooking thing. I shoulda listened harder during those furtive cooking lessons. Instead, I went out into the real world and I promptly forgot everything my mom said, (Mom, if you're reading this, I might be exaggerating just a little bit, but you know it's kinda true), and I grew to depend on McDonalds and coffee shops and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Honestly, the only meals I can cook now with any degree of proficiency are Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, spaghetti with marinara, and cereal with milk. Other than that, it's fast food city, baby.

And I could tell you right now that I don't care, that I'm just gonna go on eatin' incorrectly, but the truth is: I don't wanna. And that's because I recently decided two things. (1.) If I keep eating as much fast food as I do, I'm gonna die, and (2.) Guys who can cook are totally husband material, and guys who can't cook are kinda iffy. I'd rather be husband material than kinda iffy.

So...

I'm trying to learn how to cook. Tonight I learned how to make a poached egg. (I'm starting small.) And on Thursday night, my friend Aki is going to teach me how to make challa. (Even a bad Jew's gotta represent with some good challa.) (Aki's not the bad Jew, I'm the bad Jew. Aki's a good Jew.) (In case you were wondering.)

Update (Jan 12): Someone actually found my blog by googling "poached egg," and then I'm sure they read my blog and were like, give me some damn information. So I figured I might as well do a public service for anyone else who might ever google "poached egg" and stumble across my blog. Here's how you do it.

1. Get a skillet. The larger the better, I say. Because you're gonna want to fill it up with lots of water, 2 or 3 inches deep!

2. Bring that water to a boil. Then reduce the heat. (This is important!) Now crack that egg into the hot water. (Be careful no to break the yolk, that's the whole point of a poached egg. If you break the yolk, you're screwed and it ain't gonna be poached. Try again.)

3. Now you just wait. The egg will float there and start to harden. Let it cook for about three minutes. You just want to make sure that the white stuff cooks and the egg doesn't. And when it looks like all the white stuff is hard, you're done!

4. Scoop the egg out and eat it. See? So simple.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK:

From an anonymous commenter...

"It's not about making a poached egg. It's about what you can do with it. Lace it into a salad to give it a richer flavor, for example. Also, as is true in so many things in life, the simplest things sometimes give the greatest pleasure. So there is symbolic value to a poached egg as well. And then there is the fact that it's not as easy as it looks. It can fall apart so easily. A touch of vinegar in the water helps the egg white hold together. And you have to be gentle when you crack the egg so it doesn't fall apart before you get it into the water. So it becomes a labor of love in a way. Getting the egg safely into the water, boiling it just the right amount of time (soft or hard or something in between?) and removing it without breaking it requires patience and care, so poaching an egg is now an exercise that captures a way of approaching life. And all this makes it an excellent subject for a cooking lesson, if not a great dish to bring to game night."

Well said.

9 comments:

Gina said...

Everyone brings a dish to share on game night, so you have to make yours. Just no poached eggs, k? Once you've learned some stuff to cook, can you teach me? Have you ever taught someone how to cook? Hey, that could be a new thing.

I have come to the decision that your blog is just too good to be only an online thing. It is aching to be a movie or at the very least, a good book. I'm serious. I would plonk down my $8 to see that flick. At least think about it, ok? The big question is...who would play you in the movie?...dare i say.....J.e.f.f.G.o.l....ok, i won't even finish that..:)

Gina xo

Erik said...

Don't say Jeff Gxxdbxxxm. Please. Don't say it! Since I got my new goatee, one person told me I looked like Edward Norton and one person told me I looked like Seth Rogen. I like the Edward Norton comparison and I'm not so sure about the Seth Rogen one, but at least it's variety. At least it's not Jeff friggen Gxxdbxxxm any more!

Anonymous said...

first of all, i would like to say that i have been reading this blog every day. in fact, i put it on my "bookmarks bar," right beside ebay and yahoo. isn't that exciting? as important as ebay (my only source of income!) and yahoo (my only source of communication!)?! secondly, i would like to ask, why a poached egg? i mean, what *is* a poached egg anyways? does anyone actually *eat* poached eggs (besides the people who cook them)? wouldn't *scrambled* eggs be more useful? i'm just saying, i mean, if yr gonna learn to cook, you may as well cook things people like to eat. this is tina by the way. i love you!

Erik said...

Tina! I love you too! I'm so excited you're reading the blog. So...why did I choose to learn how to poach an egg? It seemed kind of exotic, I guess. And it was super easy and good. Basically, you poach an egg by boiling it so that the white stuff gets hard but the yolk stays soft. Believe me, this was only the first thing I learned how to cook, I plan on learning things that people actually like to eat soon.

Jesse said...

I would so double dip this film after The Siterhood of the Traveling Pants II: Yeast Unites.

Erik said...

I can only pray that there will be a sequel to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And if there is one, will all of the girls return? I could do without the blonde soccer player, but America, Alexis, and Amber (the three A's) MUST return. Wow, I can't believe I'm admitting on my blog that I not only went to that movie, but I liked it too.

Erik said...

and tina, i'm honored to be in between ebay and yahoo!

Anonymous said...

It's not about making a poached egg. It's about what you can do with it. Lace it into a salad to give it a richer flavor, for example. Also, as is true in so many things in life, the simplest things sometimes give the greatest pleasure. So there is symbolic value to a poached egg as well. And then there is the fact that it's not as easy as it looks. It can fall apart so easily. A touch of vinegar in the water helps the egg white hold together. And you have to be gentle when you crack the egg so it doesn't fall apart before you get it into the water. So it becomes a labor of love in a way. Getting the egg safely into the water, boiling it just the right amount of time (soft or hard or something in between?) and removing it without breaking it requires patience and care, so poaching an egg is now an exercise that captures a way of approaching life. And all this makes it an excellent subject for a cooking lesson, if not a great dish to bring to game night.

Erik said...

You should write my blog.