To Say That He or She “Can’t Even Boil an Egg!” Is A Bit Unfair, since Boiling An Egg Correctly Can Be Quite A Difficult Thing To Do!

Saying somebody cannot cook because they “can’t even boil an egg” is not my definition of a culinary failure or a lousy cook. Try doing the same thing my brother did and I would have no problem saying you haven’t a clue when it comes to food preparation! 

not exactly what I wanted

Not exactly what I wanted (a matter of seconds can ruin your egg and turn your runny yolk hard – I still had to eat it!)

There were many disadvantages growing up female in our house in Ireland in the early 70’s and thank God, that has mostly changed, (yes, only mostly). The girls in our house had to do things for our brothers that they were never expected to do for us. We made them tea for breakfast, and whenever tea was requested, we girls had to make it. Tea always came with a sandwich, or toast (or a biscuit) and we had to make that too. That was just tea, we also dressed their bed, polished their shoes and did anything else for them that remotely whiffed of domesticity. I  thought this was the norm, but when I got a little older and wiser and questioned “why?” I was made feel like an upstart.

Sea-salt flakes (Maldon & freshly ground black pepper

Sea-salt flakes (Maldon) & freshly ground black pepper)

Anyway, that is in the past, and looking back on my childhood experience (in this regard at least) there were many advantages to being a female. For one I became very self-sufficient, learning to do all things we humans have to do on a daily basis until the day we die: cook, clean, grocery shop, organise a living space. Yes, all those years of domestic training have paid off and I must say that mastering the art of boiling an egg took a lot more practice and patience than you would think. And, the funny part is that it was my father, not my mother who taught me this skilful art. Boiling an egg where the yolk remains soft, is all in the timing, and my father had it down pat. Every time he made me an egg it turned out perfectly and when I tried using a timed method (he just guessed correctly every single time!) would get it wrong more often than right, and end up having to eat an egg that was jelly-like, or as hard as a bullet. The way I learned was by timing him every time he made one for breakfast and eventually I got it down.


The best accompaniment to a soft boil egg: Hot buttered Toast!

What did my brother do to prove his ineptitude in the kitchen all those years ago? He boiled a pot of potatoes, something he ate every day from the cradle to adulthood, without adding a single drop of water to the pot! Even the smell of burnt potatoes wafting through the house did not give him cause to wonder if perhaps he had done something wrong. My sides ached with laughter when I found out what he did and I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. To his credit he has since become quite competent in the kitchen, but he still calls me for advice on things that I learned how to do in-between making tea and polishing shoes!


*This is a Blood Type A Diet Recipe (eggs are neutral). Eat alone or with a sprouted bread with a little extra-virgin oil & sea-salt (no butter or black pepper)*

You will need:

1 large fresh egg

1 slice fresh bread

unsalted butter


freshly ground black pepper


1 – Place egg in small pot and cover with cold water. Place on high heat.

put egg in cold water

Put egg in cold water

2 – The moment the water begins to boil, put timer on for 2 minutes 50 seconds. While egg is boiling, toasted bread and slather with butter.

*for a slightly runny yolk remove the egg after 2 minutes 45 seconds*

bring water to a boil

Bring water to a boil

3 – Remove egg from water with a large spoon and place in egg cup fat side down. Tap a knife or a small spoon (I use the spoon I will egg my egg with) evenly just under the top of the egg, working your way all around in a circle. Do this immediately as the egg will continue to cook.


The perfect egg for me: runny in the middle and beginning to slightly harden around the edge of the yolk

4 – Place tip of your spoon all the way through the crack to the other side and lift up on the spoon and the top with come off.

the piece de resistance

The piece de resistance. I eat the top first as it gets hard fast!

Eat directly from the shell, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go and enjoy with lovely warm buttery toast

6 responses to “To Say That He or She “Can’t Even Boil an Egg!” Is A Bit Unfair, since Boiling An Egg Correctly Can Be Quite A Difficult Thing To Do!

  1. Lesley Carol Prince

    Boiling a perfect egg is an art. Making a perfect omelet is another facet of egg cookery that’s a learned accomplishment. Eggs are lovely, so it’s worth the practice with its usually ‘edible errors’.

    • Yes Lesley, the scary omelet, although I think it’s easier to get an omelet right – just can’t be afraid of a hot pan!

  2. after months in rediscovery of the boiled egg, (and IMHO, perfecting my technique) I have moved on to perfecting the poached egg! But I can appreciate the art of boiling an egg! Someone shared with me the traditional soft boiled egg with thinly sliced and buttered toast, known as soldiers. Despite the unknown origins of “soldiers” I love this combo.
    Great post!

    • Thanks Mr. Kline, the soldier toasts I always thought of as an English thing. It was never used in my part of the country (we just used nice toasty bread with creamy butter). I always think of the upright toast soldiers as standing to attention getting ready to be well and truly dunked! tess x

  3. Our Father (who art in Heaven) also did a really good scrambled egg, and soft boiled egg in a cup with the bread and butter torn up and mixed inside. It’s lunch time here, but I think I will go home and make just that for my lunch….. memories…

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