Until this morning I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I could write the headline above. The evidence might not convince a jury but the similarities between Heston’s method of boiling an egg to which the Guardian’s Do Something magazine devoted a whole page and my mother’s are remarkable.
The defining characteristic of both Heston’s and my mother’s method is that you do not boil the egg at all.
You put the eggs in a pan and just cover with water then place the pan on a ring turned up to full heat. As soon as the water comes to the boil you take the pan off the heat and leave it to stand for several minutes. Then eat an egg with a white that has not turned rubbery and has a perfect soft yolk.
There are some slight differences. Heston insists on a glass lid on the pan so that you can see when the water is coming to the boil. I don’t think glass lids were available when my mother was cooking (she died when Heston was a toddler) so she left the pan un-lidded.
His very precise standing time of 6 minutes also seemed a tad long to me. But I decided to follow his recipe exactly with the slight variation of having to lift the lid a few times so that I could see when the water was coming to the boil. Otherwise I respected the formula for “the perfect boiled egg” which he tells us was arrived at after “relentless trials”.
The result was overcooked yolks, starting to go hard. The whites were excellent. Like the curate’s egg they were good in parts.
Something must be missing from the article in Do Something. Perhaps an essential point was removed by a sub to make the piece fit. For a start we do not know if Heston stores his egg in the fridge or a traditional larder. Nor do we know the size of the egg or its freshness (ours were laid between ten and 14 days ago).
I can’t include a link to the article because the Guardian’s website content for the November edition of Do Something ends on page 38. The How to… boil an egg piece is on page 42.
Eco note: this method of cooking eggs uses less energy than the tradition approach of boiling the water, adding eggs and continuing to boil.
Tuesday, November 11: The Guardian has put the column on the web. What happened to their web first policy?