Sunday, September 24, 2006
The plot thickens on the matter of Prince Charles's boiled eggs (see below). Though strong denials have been issued about Jeremy Paxman's story that his staff provide him with seven differently boiled eggs to choose from, their words seem undermined by an apparent confirmation that 'several' eggs are, indeed, made for him in the morning. At least, in the midst of this story's deep and troubling uncertainties, we now seem to know that he likes them cooked between four and five minutes depending on the size of the egg. On the hard side then, although it is not clear whether they are started in cold or hot water; if the former, then possibly quite runny, though it might mean four to five minutes boiling time in which case we are back to hard, with the inevitable uncertainty, of course, about the size of the egg and about whether 'boiling' in this context means a full-blooded rolling boil or a simmer. Sorry, I appear to be back where I started. Anyway, even if the seven egg story is true, the Prince can console himself with the thought that fastidiousness about one's eggs is by no means a sign of stupidity. According to Samuel Beckett in the footnotes to his poem Whoroscope, Descartes 'liked his omelette made of eggs hatched from eight to ten days; shorter or longer under the hen and the result, he says, is disgusting.' Eggs are, indeed, foodstuffs that can so easily topple over into the category of disgusting.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 9:39 am