Five Ways to Cook an Egg

Five Ways to Cook an Egg

by Bettina Makalintal

I wish I had started counting when the eggs started. I don’t think 2019 was a particularly egg-filled year, but in the tumultuous year-and-a-half since, there have been so many eggs. Without free office snacks or the temptation of solo drinks and dinners at bars on my way home from work, I have learned to cook nearly every single meal; eggs are cheap, and easy.

If it’s been 575 days since New York shut down its restaurants, then I’d guess that I’ve eaten at least 500 eggs — not one a day but close. Here’s what I know for sure: There was a week last year when at least eight out of the dozen I cracked from a single carton had a double yolk. During one week, while sick and out of sorts, I dropped one egg on the floor, broke one directly into the unsightly gap between my stove and my counter, and ruined another by sticking my thumb too far in and breaking the yolk. I wish I knew the exact number, but even if I’d counted, I likely would have given up around the time everyone’s “two-week quarantine” projects fizzled.

I know this: Eggs are the starting point for some of my favorite moments. These are the moments when I can sit in the perfect sunlight that my kitchen gets for ten minutes each morning. It’s when I can choose silence and a good read to get my brain going; or a podcast or music so familiar it’s like white noise to drown out my anxious thoughts; or some days, a journal in which I can confront my worries. It’s a few intentional minutes with a meal that’s just for me; an egg on rice, or an egg with toast, is enough. Garnish, I’ve found, is an essential touch, whether it’s a few flakes of salt or a snip of chives: The food deserves to be beautiful, precisely because it is for me. 

One — Crispy
Make: Bon Appétit’s crispy, olive-oil basted fried eggs.
Serve: All the ways but especially on top of garlic rice, with chili crisp and soy sauce. 
Read: On Flavor by Alicia Kennedy.
Read: I’m From a Mexican Family. Stop Expecting Me to Eat ‘Authentic’ Food by John Paul Brammer.
Think about: What foods would I use to explain who I am, where I’m from, and the experiences that have shaped me? 

Two — Classic 
Make: Extra Crispy’s perfect sunny side up eggs.
Serve: With a frozen hash brown and a few dots of hot sauce. 
Read: On Chicken Tenders by Helen Rosner.
Read: The Japanese Fried Rice Omelette That Rewired My Brain by Bryan Washington.
Listen: That one song that you always listen to on repeat. 
Think about: What’s a food that I could eat over and over again without getting sick of it? What are the first memories it makes me think of? 

Three — Creamy
Make: Food52’s caramelized cream eggs, with toast to sop it all up.
Read: When Food Doesn’t Bring Us Together by Tina Vasquez.
Read: The Problems With Palm Oil Don’t Start With My Recipes by Yewande Komolafe.
Read: The Colonial Roots of Cheese Pimiento by Malaka Gharib.
Read: Let’s Call It Assimilation Food by Soleil Ho.

Four — Poached
Make: Nigella Lawson’s çılbır, with lots of herbs and a slice of bread.
Watch: haegreendal’s lowkey cooking videos (here’s a good one).
Read: Love, Peace, and Taco Grease: How I Left My Abusive Husband and Found Guy Fieri by Rax King.
Read: A Late-Summer Tart from a Misunderstood Master of French Cooking by Mayukh Sen.

Five — Boiled
Make: Bon Appétit’s jammy soft-boiled eggs.
Serve: On thick, toasted sourdough with creamy spread (labneh, perhaps), a sprinkle of salt.
Read: When I Came Out to My Parents, Kimchi Fried Rice Held Us Together by Eric Kim.
Think about: Who’s a person in my life that helped me see beauty in food? What can I cook or eat that helps me remember them?