Saturday, September 8, 2012

Picking the Right Egg

I don't give much thought to egg selection. When I need an egg I just grab one. But I don't grab willy nilly. I select one egg from either end of the carton so that the carton is balanced with remaining eggs in the middle. It's nice to have control over certain things.

The practice, strange though you may find it, goes back to my professional pastry days where I dealt with several flats of eggs in a single day. (FYI, a flat is, like, 3 dozen eggs, on a squarish, carton with no lid.) You can't just leave an egg in one corner while the others are snuggled together on the opposite corner and expect the single one to stay put during transport.  The flat needs to be balanced.  One time when I was pulling out a flat of eggs from the walk-in, an egg alone in a corner like just described launched itself into a perfect arc, jibonked off the edge of the shelf (at which point it cracked) and landed in another cook's cooling stockpot. What a biff.

Of course at home I'm not the only one tucking into the carton. Frequently the carton reveals total disorder, like pictured above. This sight ignites my brain wheel and demands answers to these questions:

1. What is wrong with these eggs that they weren't picked?
2. What kind of person would leave perfectly good eggs this way?
3. Why don't people do things the way they're supposed to be done?
4. Were the eggs that were picked larger or smaller than the ones left? And, as a follow-up: What were the forager's criteria for selection?
5. Have I been picking the wrong egg all my life?

These questions can be applied to other domestic operations, especially those where laundry is involved.

Like undoing a knot in a necklace chain or unhitching the chain of paperclips that some monkey left in my desk drawer, egg carton disorder compels me to action. And so, this morning, after selecting a random egg I relocated all remaining eggs to spots in the center of the carton. And it was good.

As for answers to questions 1-4, there are none. I cornered the other egg foragers but the criteria either don't exist or would not be revealed. So I will continue to rearrange eggs to my liking. As for #5, after a cup of coffee and a self-assessment I'm certain of the answer: not a chance.

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