HowTo:Boil an egg

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Heat some water, put in an egg, wait a few minutes, take it out. On the surface, it seems easy to boil an egg, but underneath this speckled shell of complacency there lies a real challenge. How does one make the perfect soft-boiled egg? Everyone has their own preferred method, so Uncyclopedia gathered together the greatest chefs in the world to ponder this simplest, yet most complicated, of questions.

Jamie Oliver

Meat, veg, eggs, olive oil. Beautiful.

Hello tigers. Right, it's come to my attention that, while the kids of this country are starting to eat proper at school, they're not cooking for themselves. So, it is now my mission to teach the kids to boil an egg. We can take this all the way to Downing Street.

First of all, what we need is an egg. For me free range is the way to go. The chickens don't suffer and the eggs don't suffer either. We don't want any of those rubbish factory-farm eggs, we want a real pukka natural one. I think it's really important to protect the chickens; we'll take this all the way to Downing Street if we have to. So, where do you get the best free range eggs? You can get them all over the place really. You can raise your own chickens, you can go to your local farm. I get mine from Sainsbury's. They do beautiful eggs. With those bad boys in our shopping bags, we're ready to cook.

Right, so what you do is you get some water, yeah, and put it in a pan. Just wazz it in. All I do, right, is heat it up. It's very easy, just turn a knob and it's all good. Add a bit of olive oil in there to make it proper lovely. Now we get our beautiful, ethically-sourced Sainsbury's egg and just whack that bad boy in. Drizz in a bit more olive oil for that extra sexy touch. Now we just wait for, like, three minutes. More if you've got a really big egg from Sainsbury's: a real whopper. But you've gotta keep an eye on it, you know, in case the egg starts to crack, or the water needs more olive oil. Then, when you're all finished, just whip your egg out and plonk it in the cup. Get out your freshly-baked Sainsbury's wholemeal bread, a little olive oil: beautiful. You can really taste the difference.

Nigella Lawson

Tastes so good.

How do you like your eggs in the morning? When I come downstairs first thing, before I get dressed, before I've had my long, luxuriously indulgent bath, I spoil myself with a boiled egg. It needs to be firm on the outside, yet giving. It must be warm and inviting on the inside, like the candlelit bath which awaits me upstairs. There's nothing I love more than to dip my toast into a rich lake of oozingly golden yellow, leaving it dripping with yolk.

I like a large egg, with a creamy, milky white shell. There's no real reason for the colour; it's just a personal fancy of mine. I put a saucepan on the stove and get the water nice and hot. I always cook two eggs together. To me, things just always seem better in pairs. When the time is right, I lower them gently into their steaming bath. I then just sit back, relax and let the rippling bubbles do their business. Three minutes later and it's time to withdraw.

As important as the preparation is, for me, the eating is key. I take my very wet egg and dry it with a little white tea towel, stroking gently and purposefully. I then grab my spoon by the handle and tap the top of the egg, softly at first and gradually getting harder and harder. Don't rush when picking away the shell. Strip it slowly; you don't want to miss a spot. Then finally, whip the top off with the spoon, leaving the merest hint of white guarding the yolk. I already have my firm, toasted soldiers at hand, ready for action. It is now just a matter of using them to break through, allowing that marvellous eruption of yolk to burst forth. Dig in and enjoy. I know I will.

Gordon Ramsay

Boiled fucking eggs. Fuck me.

Alright fuckers, let's go boil a fucking egg. Any chef worth his weight in pig shit should know how to boil an egg. It's not as easy as it looks. If any little arse-licker tells you it's easy, then tell them that they're a real cocky little shit who needs a fucking good kicking.

Now first things first, we need to heat up the water. Oh, shit! That's fucking hot! Perfect. Next, you get your egg. You need these to be fucking good. High quality. Free range. Fresh, you know, straight from the chicken's arse. Put it into the water. Don't use a poncy little spoon. God gave you a pair of fucking hands. Use them. Ah, fuck, that's hot! Now, we wait for two minutes, fifty-seven seconds. Time it however you want, I don't give a shit. Use your watch, use a poncy little egg-timer, use the fucking speaking clock if you have to, just don't you use a fucking mobile phone, that sort of thing really pisses me off. Just get the time right, because if you do, your egg is going to be bloody great.

Boiled egg, done.

Delia Smith

You can buy these rather wonderful cake whisks. They do an amazing job.

Boiling eggs is an easy task really, providing you follow some simple rules. Never boil an egg that has come straight from the fridge; it might crack and end up looking unsightly. Never boil the water to much more than a gentle simmer; I find doing otherwise to be unnecessary and rather vulgar. Finally, never drink too much wine whilst watching your beloved Norwich City Football Club play and then get on the public address system at half time to slur insults at the fans.

We start by filling our saucepan about three-quarters full with cold tap water. A small saucepan works well enough, but for best results, I use one of these special egg boiling pans. You can get them from most specialist cooking shops and Waitrose. They're the perfect size to support the egg and have a nice chrome finish. We continue by heating the water to a gentle simmer and then lower the egg into the liquid with a tablespoon, or an eggspoon if you have one. They're normally sold alongside the pan.

I personally don't like my yolk too runny and so leave it for three and a half minutes, or about the same time it takes to drink a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. If you like a runny yolk, then cook your egg for three minutes (Pinot Grigio), or four minutes (Merlot) if you like it firm.

Heston Blumenthal

Fun in the laboratory

When I set off in my search for the perfect boiled egg, I quickly identified the key variables which will have to be controlled and mastered to ensure an egg of the highest possible quality. There are, of course the obvious considerations of time and temperature. These are considerations which I will come to later. Another important variable which needs to be taken into account involves the liquid. We need to find the correct balance between viscosity and density to ensure the optimal transferrence of heat from the source to the egg. To find this substance, I spent weeks in the laboratory, researching and experimenting with hundreds of different liquids and combinations thereof. My exhaustive study produced a definitive and intriguing result. I discovered that the liquid best suited for the unique challenge of heating an egg to perfection was water.

Now we come to the most fundamental issue governing the success of the dish. Before we worry about matters such as time and temperature, we must address the egg itself. The size of the egg is really a matter of personal choice and the colour of the shell has no bearing on the contents inside. Instead there is a vital and often overlooked element of our ovum that will determine whether we reach egg perfection. I refer to the shape. Through an in-depth study of the fluid dynamics governing the movement of air bubbles around the surface area of our target, I simulated the effects of boiling water on a variety of polyhedra. From this, I came to the conclusion that our perfect egg is triangular. A simple hiring of a rogue veterinary surgeon later and we had our main ingredient. So let's cook!

  1. Fill a saucepan with water. The amount should be somewhere between "a little" and "a lot".
  2. Heat the water until the moment when it becomes "hot".
  3. Lower the egg into the water at a precise speed 6.25m/s.
  4. Leave in there until the time is right.
  5. Remove egg from the water.


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