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La Technique: Oeuf

The egg. It’s pretty simple, yea? Take egg, crack, pour into heated pan with a little butter, fry and eat. Add bacon if you have time, a slice of toast too and you have your classic American breakfast. If you’re not vegan, you’ve probably eaten a few thousand eggs in your lifetime. If you are vegan, you probably ate at least a couple thousand before you reached Freshman year of college and met that cute hippie, Ani DiFranco-listening, bi-curious art major who turned you into one (and there my friend, is the reason all vegans are girls).

Either way, we all have eaten quite a few eggs.

So why spend a whole class talking about something we’ve all cooked a million times?

Because even though we can all cook eggs. We all can’t cook them WELL. Most of us only know how to poorly fry or scramble them. To my utter surprise, some people even have a hard time hard-boiling them (wtf?! – Seriously folks, if you can’t hard-boil an egg, maybe it is time to hang up the ‘ole chefs hat and move on to something else). Today in class, we made omelets (flat and rolled),  eggs cocotte, eggs poached, and the most complex of the night: Oeufs farcis Chimay.

Seeing the word Chimay got me excited that this had something to do with beer. Unfortunately, it’s just a slightly better, and of course more complicated, version of deviled eggs.

I should mention now that Elle and I have really been kicking ass as a team in this class. We fly through the preparations, never making mistakes, garnering significant praise from the chef and are just the model of perfection in the class to which everyone looks upon with admiration.

OK. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not sure anybody knows how well the others do because you’re so busy yourself, but we do run as Elle likes to say “like a well-oiled machine”.

So, it was with a little humiliation and lost ego that I destroyed the bechamel, had to throw it away, start all over again, and have Elle do it so as not to fuck it up again. Wasn’t this easy the other day? Take flour and butter, make a roux, add a little milk, done. What happened then that there were giant chunks of flour floating around, burned milk and flour coating the bottom of the pan? I tried to go too fast, assuming I was already an expert, cooking on too high a heat, adding the milk too quickly and not whisking enough.

But this wasn’t the biggest mistake I’ve made so far. Nope. The biggest mistake I made came in the class before, when I told Elle about this blog, which she immediately read, complained about my remarks on her knife skills and then vowed to create a rival blog where her teammate is named Tom and sucks at all things cooking.

She also got into this habit of remarking every time something happens in class: “That’s going in the blog…”

Broken bechamel? “That’s going in the blog.”

A bit of scorn from the teacher for having a messy station? “That’s going in the blog.”

A look of confusion from a new third teammate when you ask him to saute the onions? “That’s going in the blog.”

Finding out three other people in the class are under 20 (Elle is 19!) and one is even in high-school? “That’s going in the blog.”

Good times…


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