Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life is a Hard Boiled Egg

Remember the "cake" 1 credit college class that turned out to be a lot more work and a lot more difficult than a 3 credit class?

Why is it that sometimes things that should be easy aren't?

Take boiling eggs. My neighbor decided to make a Nicoise salad. She covered two brown eggs with water, then boiled them for 7 minutes, but the yolks weren't quite cooked and her fresh eggs were a challenge to peel...chunks of the white disappeared with the shell. I too decided to make a Nicoise salad. I boiled 4 white extra large eggs (not exactly fresh, past their sell by date) for 10 minutes. The middles of the yolks weren't cooked and the eggs were hard to peel even though a couple of the shells were already cracked. The last time I'd tried to boil eggs, I'd used a "recipe" from the Chicago Tribune. That didn't produce perfect, firm yolks with or without that telltale subtle gray rim either. Like Goldilocks's efforts to eat porridge in The Three Bears, my eggs and my friend's eggs were edible but none were "just right."

A Yahoo! search of "how to boil eggs" retrieves 96,300 hits! Can there really be that many ways to, so to speak, screw in a light bulb? The first listings recommend boiling for 10-15 mins depending on how hard you want the yolk; boiling for 17 minutes; turning off the heat as soon as the water reaches a boil, covering and letting them sit for 30 minutes; and after the water boils removing them from the heat to let them sit for about 15-20 minutes.

The perfect boiled egg can take a lot of research, effort and trial and error...a metaphor for everyday life.

Despite our best efforts to plan ahead and anticipate contingencies, sometimes things just don't turn out the way we want. We can't control how boiling water impacts a yolk any more than we can control other people and make them do what we want: give us the job, a raise or a contract. On the other hand, sometimes the synergy of our preparation, positive thoughts and the universe yields results even better than we expected.

In life as with hard boiled eggs, we won't know which until it's too late.

When we're dissatisfied with eggs that don't turn out quite right, are we setting our standards too high? Shouldn't we be grateful for the eggs we have? Do we keep aiming for perfection by cutting out the cooked edges of the yolks or microwaving them until done (Hmmm. Wish I'd thought of that when staring at the mushy yolks)? Or do we refill our well of hope and put another pot of water on to boil?

In any case, we should know better than to put all of our eggs in one baskett.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

eggs are always complicated- many a hard boiled egg has been ruined in my care.

Can't wait until National. I know you'll be swamped- but I'll look to give you a wave.