Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My first poached egg, and why I won't blog about food

This being Try-it Tuesday, I thought I'd try something I've never done before: poach an egg. Don't look down your noses at me if this is old hat to you. I've jumped out of a plane like a monkey on someone's back without so much as getting my heart rate up. But the poached egg does not turn up in my cache of childhood memories. Mid-life is as good a time as any to test the waters.

The self-described egg lover eggstraordinaire at Ode to Eggs (ode2eggs.com) took all the trial-and-error mess out of it. All I had to do was follow instructions, which involved a pin prick at the large end of the egg before breaking it into a soup ladle. Then you lower it into the center of a simmering bath pre-sprinkled with salt and vinegar while stirring the water. This is why God gave us two hands.

See, this is precisely why I don't blog about food. Ever. I just shook my head over my pathetic paragraph. Where is Julia Child's passion, the sensuous description? If I could muster some up, my blog would billow out across the Net, enticing foodies to comment and subscribe, and those loathsome search engines would reward me with high rankings for using sexy Google AdWords like cook (13.6 million global monthly searches), butter (5 million), and pan (11 million, kill me now and put me out of my misery).

Let's try this again: The egg awoke and unfurled its pristine white skirts. What perfection. I grabbed my little point-and-shoot. I stared at my hasty photograph for minutes on end. I thought I saw my name surface from the depths of the yolk like answers on the Magic 8-ball.

And then I snapped out of it, fished my egg out of the water and ate it. It was good! By then of course it didn't look like the picture. The whites had the yolk in a straitjacket.

You know that Meryl Streep movie, Julie and Julia, in which Amy Adams plays the blogger who cooks one recipe a day from Julia Child's cookbook? She takes a bite of her poached egg and waxes poetic about the creaminess of it in her mouth. No, it did not make me want to rush out of the theater to poach an egg. I thought it was pretentious and annoying, the way wine spitters—oh, sorry, connoisseurs—go on about a wine's bouquet and nose, complex tones, hints, evocative notes and pungent whatnots.

Also, I vowed never to give in and blog about something popular but absurdly not interesting to me just to get the readership numbers up. I'm not saying Amy Adams' character did, because she truly was interested in cooking.

By now you've deduced I'm not writing about adventures in cooking at all right now. And you would be right.

Why, you ask, am I not interested in writing about food? Early trauma. In the early '90s I had to write marketing copy for a newspaper advertising supplement paid for by a family-owned chain of grocery stores. Even then I had zero interest in food writing. The marketing manager gave me a pep talk about the sensory richness this assignment needed, and off I went to interview the butcher.

We met with the client after all my articles were drafted. The one about the meat department caused a pained expression to cross the store owner's face. The butcher, who was present at the meeting, protested that I wrote in the wrong name for the knife he had used at our demo-interview. I said I couldn't have come up with that name on my own.

My marketing manager made like a horse and kicked me under the table. I remember thinking, "Oh, it's not just a saying. They really do kick you under the table here in the States." I went back to my desk and rewrote the meat article, my leg still smarting. And then my husband and I boycotted that store until it closed down several years later. The end.

Would I write about food if it meant keeping our house from foreclosing? Hell yeah! Am I hoping food editors notice my blog and consider hiring me? Gawd no. If I were a food editor I wouldn't hire me.

But will I ever poach an egg again? Yesssssss! Hurray for small daily victories.