Writing and Cooking Aren’t Always Chemistry by Debra H. Goldstein
Recently, I tried making hardboiled eggs the way my daughter-in-law does. It was another one of my famous cooking disasters. One was hardboiled and three – well, let’s not talk about them.
As a child I learned to put the eggs in a pot, cover them with water, boil for twenty minutes, run some cold water over them (which I thought was so I could take them out of the pot), stick them in refrigerator and eat as desired. My daughter-in-law uses a method where she doesn’t put the eggs in until the water is already boiling. She then keeps them in half the time I’ve always done. Unfortunately, she has a third step to finish them that I hadn’t noticed. Perplexed, I asked some of my friends from the Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter, who know I’m the one who has blown up my own stove, how to make hardboiled eggs. The variety of their answers amazed me:
Try steaming them - I use a double boiler. Bring about 2 inches of water to a rolling boil, place your eggs in the top of the double boiler, cover with a lid and set a timer for 13 minutes. Immediately run cold water over the eggs and peel right away. Easy peeling and perfectly yellow yokes every time.
I bring the water to a rolling boil, put the eggs in carefully, put the lid on the pan, and turn the burner off. But leave the pan on the electric burner. I leave it there for 30 minutes, then run cold water into the pan until the eggs feel cool.
Start them in cold water; bring to a boil, cook 8 or 9 minutes at a slow boil. Take them off the stove, immediately drain, and fill the pot with ice water. Let it sit until the eggs are cool. If you have time, refrigerate them.
Noting the above method is classic, this responder added: although I simmer mine 12-15 mins. The trick is to bring them to a boil as quickly as you can, even if it means using a larger pot and burner than you think you need, then plunging them into ice water. The shock separates the protein membrane from the skin, so they’re easy to peel. Keep them cold until you peel them.
I think the key to hard-boiled eggs is finding the right temp and length of time that works on your stove. I put them in cool tap water, set the burner on "6.5" and time them for 19 minutes (boiling usually for about 15 of those). Rinse in cold water and refrigerate.
I was shocked to see the many ways the “cooks” reached the same end – perfectly hardboiled eggs. It made me think about writing and how some authors are pantsers while others are plotters. Some revise and edit as they go along while others dash through the first draft and then begin revisions. It isn’t precise chemistry, but the bottom line is that no matter which method an author uses, the result is the same – a finished story or book.