Thursday, March 27, 2008

You Can't Un-Crack an Egg

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
~ C.S. Lewis

Some of us are chronic worriers by nature.
This is a nasty affliction on its own merits. However, when coupled with a compulsive desire to control everything; the resulting condition is a cross to bear not only for the afflicted, but especially for cohabitants of the affected party.
In this case, I am the chronic-worrier-control-freak and my kids somehow, are managing to grow up, in spite of my condition.

The formal arrival of spring in New York was accompanied by an overnight frost and a pending late-March snowstorm. As I readied my home for an Easter celebration, any expectation for dining
al fresco was squelched by too-cool temperatures and unseasonably high winds. Faced with lamb, a ham, and no particular plan, I set about to prepare a feast for an indefinite number of guests. My daughter’s request to include one or maybe three fellow college freshmen in need of a holiday meal was sprung upon me like an early bloom; a welcome delight notwithstanding the additional attention required.

It was the day before Easter and in my usual frenzy of too much to do in too little time; I contemplated how my eldest and most educated might contribute. While I refused to relinquish control over
ham-glazing, plastic-egg stuffing, cheesecake baking, basil-tearing (never knife-cutting for any true Italian), mozzarella-slicing,
yogurt-mint-processing (for the purpose of lamb-marinating),
or garlic-chopping, I could only force myself to release my grip (temporarily) from the Windex bottle. And so, with blue bottle in hand, she dexterously cleaned the front and back doors and promptly returned to the Guitar Hero competition already in progress in our TV room (where son and husband furtively retreated to escape the wrath of one seemingly peri-menopausal woman expecting company).

Exhausted and overwhelmed, I escaped to my closet hideaway-turned-egg hunt-headquarters to pack plastic eggs full of pastel pleasantries and provisions for children of all ages (including
college man-boys and brooding teenagers). As I sorted Hot Wheels and hot sauces, I thought about the very first egg hunt I hosted almost fifteen years ago. It was a time when my kitchen was a whole lot messier, and holidays were a whole lot easier. It was a time when I welcomed chubby, little fingers to join mine while mixing and shaping meatballs or chocolate chip cookies, with little concern for perfect platter presentation.
If someone had told me then, that years later I would discourage my daughter from cooking her own eggs for fear she would blow up the gas stove or heaven forbid, leave a mess, I would have thought
them insane. But alas, sometimes we fail as parents to execute our own best laid plans.
And so often the worrier in me chose the easier path, the one promising a safer, less eventful arrival than the better path.
Good parents guide and support their children in choosing a path which offers experience; an opportunity to learn and to grow and perhaps even to fail. As I have learned from my own failures,
so too should they.
But all too often I felt compelled to spare them difficulty and disappointment simply by doing it for them.
How foolish of me to consider this a viable method.
While parenting is not rocket science, it challenges the very core of our beings. If we allow fear to take the wheel, our children may never enjoy the scenery along the road less traveled.

As I crammed the last, sample-size bottle of “Ass Kickin’ Hot Sauce” into a snap-tight pastel egg, I considered the sheer irony of the task. You see, it was my daughter who first introduced me to the delightful combination of eggs and hot sauce.
On a steamy, sticky Sunday last summer, at a local bagel shop where we were both employed, I watched in amazement as she doused a perfectly prepared omelet with hot sauce. My amazement came not from her use of the condiment, but from the realization that this daughter of mine, the one I was so reluctant to share my kitchen with, was managing a grill for countless hungry customers, turning out perfectly cooked eggs with nary a twitch of her brow.
Weekend mornings routinely found me clinging to the bagel counter like a cream cheese schmear to a pumpernickel, while she willingly and adroitly manned the grill, juggling orders for scrambles,
over-easies, sunny-sides up, and four-egg he-man specials.
She was a natural at feeding people and unfortunately, I had
little to do with it.

Our Easter celebration turned out to be a great success (with the exception of a too-small dining room and too few chairs, and a
short-lived marital dispute over grill-master husbands who believe that black char is a welcome flavor element on a lamb chop).
But nonetheless, a fun time was had by all.
Thanks to the kindness of relatives headed in the same direction as my daughter’s campus, my eldest and her guest(s) had a free ride back to college in a brand new mini-van. With room to spare, my daughter requested as many leftovers as I was willing to part with
for the sake of hungry, travel-weary undergrads.

A late-night phone call revealed that a second feast was shared in my daughter’s dorm room and for those unable to attend, engrossed in late semester projects, plates were prepared and delivered.
She made sure that the few remaining cannolis were saved for the unfortunate few who had never heard tell of such a delightful indulgence (a fact neither of us could wrap our cannoli-loving
heads around).

And so the fact remains that while we can’t turn back the clock or grant ourselves a “do-over” in this challenging game of parenting,
we lucky few are rewarded by life’s little surprises which so often outweigh the burden of our regrets.
Like daughters who grow up to be beautiful young women
who occasionally do their own laundry, make their own beds
and always invite friends to share a meal.

Because even though you can’t un-crack an egg,
they figure out what to do with it anyway.

Until Next Time,
Make Life Delicious
Share Your Food


I’m pleased to share with you a fool proof recipe for a delicious cake that is delightfully moist, flavorful, and so easy to prepare.

Since Easter came right on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to repeat a favorite dessert—Bailey’s Bundt Cake. The recipe is a modification of one I found on the internet years ago, which called for copious amounts of dark rum. I replaced most of the rum with Bailey’s Irish Cream and added a few of my own ingredients for flavor. You can exchange your favorite liqueur for the Bailey’s and make it your own.

But first, be a good egg and take a moment to read a few quotes about one of nature’s most perfect foods, the egg

I have had, in my time, memorable meals of scrambled eggs with fresh truffles, scrambled eggs with caviar and other glamorous things, but to me, there are few things as magnificent as scrambled eggs, pure and simple, perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned.
James Beard, 'On Food' (1974)

"Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken."
M.F.K. Fisher (1908-1992)

An egg of one hour old, bread of one day, a goat of one month, wine of six months, flesh of a year, fish of ten years and a wife of twenty years, a friend among a hundred, are the best of all number.”
~John Wodroephe, English commentator
'Spared Hours,' 1623

The world is full of hopeful analogies and handsome, dubious eggs, called possibilities.
George Eliot

Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.
~Ramona C. Carroll

When you feel neglected, think of the female salmon, who lays 3,000,000 eggs but no one remembers her on Mother’s Day.
~Sam Ewing

I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam I am.
~Dr. Seuss

It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.
~Dorothy Parker

The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'
~Author Unknown


** I suppose you could use any cake pan with good results, but I strongly recommend you dig out your favorite bundt pan and be sure to grease and flour it well. The shape of a bundt cake lends itself well to the decadent glaze topping.

1 Cup chopped toasted nuts (I used a combination of pecans and almonds)
1 Box (approx. 18.5 oz) White Cake Mix
2 Boxes (3/4 oz. ea) Instant Vanilla Pudding
4 to 5 eggs (I prefer to use 5 large eggs. If yours are extra large, use only 4)
1/2 Cup plus 2 TBS. Cold Milk
1/2 Cup plus 1 TBS. Vegetable Oil (I prefer Canola oil)
1/2 Cup Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
2 TBS Dark rum
1 Cup Toffee Chips (Skor toffee bits or Heath toffee bits *NOT chocolate-coated toffee bits)


1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 TBS. Dark Rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle toasted nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients (except toffee bits). Beat for two minutes on high with electric mixer. Add toffee bits to batter, incorporate by hand with spatula or wooden spoon.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for one hour. Cool in pan on wire rack. Invert cake onto serving plate when cool. Prick top of cake with toothpick or fork. Drizzle glaze (recipe follows) over top of cake. Use pastry brush to re-glaze drippings over cake. ** I add extra glaze once the first layer of glaze has dried. This step is optional.

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for five minutes over medium-high heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY to avoid burning. Remove from heat and CAREFULLY add rum and Bailey's (it will steam and sputter). Mix well and glaze cake as recipe suggests. Extra glaze can be stored in glass container, covered.


1 comment:


Mom, I teared up a little at this.

I cannot deny though, you were valid in fearing I'd blow up the kitchen. I can't swear it wouldn't have happened, after all if I've left my straightener on long enough to start a fire...Who knows what could happen with a gas stove and no Tina to stand watch... and I have you to thank that we're all still alive.

And everyone else was VERY grateful, I'm sure, that I had no hand in cooking the ham or the lamb this Easter, because beyond my egg knowledge...I got nothin'!

I love you and thank you for popping me out and sitting on me until I was ready to hatch. <3