I've been having a little trouble with my stomach lately.
The other day, DJ was fixing his breakfast and he asked if I would like him to make me some eggs. Being in a "delicate" condition, I wasn't up for the standard over-easy or scrambled.
"I would like a soft-boiled egg," I told him. He needed an explanation, so I elaborated: "You put the egg into a saucepan, as though you were going to hard-boil it. But then, when it comes to a boil, you only cook it 2-3 minutes instead of 15-20."
DJ proceeded to bring some eggs to a boil. We weren't quite sure exactly when they started to boil, but when he heard them start to jangle in the pan and saw them rolling around in the bubbling water, he turned off the heat, put on the lid and set the timer for 2 minutes.
Upon cracking the eggs over our toast, we found that the yolks were completely solid and rather light-colored, quite like hard-boiled eggs.
A day or two later, Shawn offered to cook me an egg.
"I would like soft-boiled, please," I said, "And we need to watch very carefully, because it is easy to overcook them."
Shawn watched very carefully, but he was not exactly sure what we meant by "boiling," so once more the eggs made it to a rolling boil. Upon being served a couple minutes later, they were again, for all practical purposes, hard-boiled. (It's a good thing we like hot hard-boiled eggs.)
This morning, I tried my own hand at making a soft boiled egg. I watched the pot meticulously (can you watch a pot meticulously?). Anyway, as soon as small bubbles began to rise, I turned off the gas flame, covered the pot, and set the timer for three minutes. Then I went to work on something else. Suddenly the timer went off, and I realized that I had forgotten to make the toast! I let out a cry of despair and Shawn came running from his computer where he had been beginning the day's work. "What's the matter? What happened?" he exclaimed.
"It's nothing. Just eggs," DJ told him. "I'm very sorry it disturbed you."
We put the eggs into a bowl of cool water in an effort to halt the cooking process, and I hurriedly made the toast.
DJ was a good sport and said his were the best yet, not really completely hard-boiled. I, however, got the top egg, the one that never made it down into the cool water in the bowl. It was very firm.
Then Shannon (who is home for the holidays) decided to try her hand at soft-boiling. After implementing the process as we described it to her, she brought her eggs to the table and cracked one over her toast. The yolk came out soft and warm, and she proceeded to use her knife to remove the firm-yet-pliable white onto her toast as well. Her eggs were perfect.
As I sat there sipping my tea from a teacup and wishing I could have a delicious soft-boiled egg someday, Shawn remarked, "I guess it just takes an accomplished chemist to make a good soft-boiled egg. Here is a young woman who understands where a boiling point is."