For people who care about their food

Scrambled messages

I’m on my soap box (egg box?) about eggs again. You would think that eggs would be easy to cook but it’s so easy to get it wrong and often there are so many different views about how to cook them. Remember the debacle over how to boil an egg? Even a simple thing such as making a hard boiled egg seemed to attract a lively discussion here on Not Delia. I would also have expected that most of us could knock out a pan of scrambled eggs without any problem, but apparently not.

Yesterday, I was watching an episode of Series 7 of Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsay gave the chefs a challenge of cooking eggs four ways: soft boiled, poached, scrambled and fried sunny side up. It seemed rather a simple challenge to me but it was amazing how many of the contestants couldn’t get it right. At one stage Ramsay shrieked at one of them, “That’s not scrambled eggs! It’s a chopped up omelette!” (OK, so I missed out a few F-words in my quote, but you get the gist of it.)

This concept of a “chopped up omelette” really struck a chord with me as we’ve had this sorry excuse for scrambled eggs in so many places. We travel a lot in Asia and I don’t think I’ve ever yet been to an Asian restaurant that can do proper scrambled eggs – it’s inevitably a chopped up omelette. To be fair, we’ve had some horrors in the UK too, as has Darina Allen, who wrote, “I’ve had positively horrendous concoctions served up for breakfast in some posh hotels.”

I never order scrambled eggs any more. I don’t know why it should be so difficult to get such a simple thing right, so I decided to investigate. Aha, it’s like boiling an egg, it’s not so simple after all once you start delving deeper. And everyone has their own way of doing things.

According to The Ultimate Recipe Book by Angela Nilsen, Matthew Fort in the Guardian Weekend says that good scrambled eggs can take up to 40 minutes while you stir slowly all the time. Eh? I’d be expecting my scrambled eggs to be served up a lot quicker than that. Also, according to that book, Australian chef Bill Granger’s method only takes about one minute (eek!).

Ramsay himself, in Gordon Ramsay Makes It SmarmyEasy, faffs about with crème fraîche and stuff, but at least his only take 4-5 minutes to scramble once the eggs are in the pan. I also checked out what the Queen of British cooking had to say on the subject – nothing controversial, to my surprise. She has a perfectly simple and straightforward method and photos showing you how to cook scrambled eggs. She also suggests that you can add a little cream or crème fraîche if you like, so for once it looks as though Delia Smith and Gordon Ramsay agree on something.

Heston Blumenthal, as usual, is playing at left field with his nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream, but we won’t go there. Let’s move on instead to a quick and easy way to make perfect scrambled eggs.

Perfectly Simple Scrambled Eggs

2 Responses to “Scrambled messages”

  1. Ted

    40 minutes for scrambled eggs? Whats he doing, laying them lol

  2. Not Delia

    I dunno. I can get into cheffy mode sometimes when I feel like it but there has to be a balance somewhere between real food that real people eat and the science, technology, and theory of cooking.

    I want to keep things realistic. I don’t do liquid nitrogen. I don’t do “You must follow this to the letter or it won’t work”.

    I just want to give people ideas and encourage their creativity. Some of the new chefs on the scene these days, such as Ben Ebbrell, are doing just that. I applaud them.

    Maybe people will tire of the pretentiousness of cooking and just get on and do it. I hope so!

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