My editor, Lindsey, fired me a note, asking if I'd like to do a piece on eggs. What? Yes, eggs. I thought to myself: what about eggs? You crack 'em, throw 'em in a pan for a minute or so, and that's pretty much it, right?
Oh yeah, and when we were kids at Halloween we also egged cars when we got lousy handouts for trick or treating.
So, ever the intrepid reporter, I embarked on this mission to find tips, tricks, recipes, and anything else locals wanted to share about eggs.
Naturally, I began with Lindsey, who showed the way to excellent scrambled eggs in tip No. 1 (courtesy of Lindsey Hollenbaugh):
"I actually learned from my aunt. In our house, we use a tablespoon of butter and melt it in the pan first, then crack three eggs and constantly stir them, never letting them sit without moving. This makes a buttery, fluffy scrambled eggs."
This brought me back to advice my late father gave me as a boy. Dad couldn't boil water to save his life, but was an omelet-making fool. His snippet is tip No. 2 (courtesy of Christos Halkias via Telly):
"Never crack the egg on the side of the pan or bowl you're using, because you risk getting shells in what you're preparing. So always use a separate surface adjacent to your receptacle."
Professionals have a say in the matter, too. What better use to make of a grocery foray than to corner your local baker while he is trying to shop, with family in tow? That would be Matt Littrell of Crazy Russian Girls Bakery in Bennington, Vt.
This yielded more philosophy than practicality, but was worthy of tip No. 3 (courtesy of Matt Littrell):
"Eggs are the fundamental substance in all cake baking. You can make a cake without eggs, and some talking head on TV will tell you it's healthier and tastes just the same. Guess what? It doesn't taste the same. A cake without eggs is like theater without actors."
So, with some momentum from candid input, while standing on the corner of Spring Street and Route 2 in Williamstown, Mass., I met a woman, who would not give up her last name, but did give me a quick gourmet egg sandwich recipe, printed below, which will weigh in at tip No. 4. Thank you, "Nancy from Rhode Island."
My next success came at the hands of Patricia Harrington of Bennington, who, even at age 80, knows how critical eggs are to potato salads for a party. The ratio of eggs to potatoes she used made up tip No. 5 (Courtesy of Patricia Harrington):
"For family and friends gatherings of a dozen or more, a five-pound bowl of potato salad is perfect. With that amount, you must add a dozen hard-boiled eggs. You need that many, at least."
That's a lot of eggs, and it reminded me that in this area, many people keep chickens and like to raise their own eggs, organic or otherwise.
Enter Amanda Haar of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., who offered up a flurry of chicken care counsel, which affects egg quality, comprising of tip No. 6 (Courtesy of Amanda Haar):
"Chickens are big fans of yogurt. They'll devour it and their eggs will be noticeably hard for the additional calcium. Corn cobs will win you the undying love of your chickens. Same goes for cantaloupe and squash rinds and seeds. Also, to give a chicken a handful of dried meal worms is to earn its love and attention forever."
Talk about flurries, how about when I ran into Annette Dixon of Pownal, Vt., with her running buddy, JoAnn Appel, of Bennington? These two ladies were a veritable encyclopedia of egg advice with tips No. 7 and 8, (courtesy of Annette Dixon and JoAnn Appel):
"Don't hard boil fresh eggs as they are too hard to peel. Keep them at least a week or if less, add baking soda to the water — this helps the peeling for newer eggs."
"Also, add milk when beating or whipping eggs for baking, not water. Milk makes them fluffier instead of flat, and use a whisk, not a fork, for best results."
I thought I'd be just about done until Chef Michael Ballon from Castle St. Café in Great Barrington, Mass., added several yummy picks for egg-based recipes, and punctuated his culinary wisdom with tip No. 9 (Courtesy of Chef Michael Ballon):
"Eggs are the most versatile, magical things we eat, the gold standard of protein, and can be eaten alone, whipped into a soufflé, used to thicken sauces, or make 100 different baked items."
But when I read Ballon's nugget back to Appel, she offered this closing and timely tip No. 10 (Courtesy of JoAnn Appel):
"If you wake up the morning after Halloween with an egged car, household cleaners and Windex won't do the trick. The best thing to use to get dried egg off your car, house, window, or whatever is rubbing alcohol."
But hopefully, you won't need that last tip.
Oh, I'll have my eggs over easy, thank you very much.
—Telly Halkias is an award-winning freelance journalist.
Toasted feta cheese and scrambled egg Dijon sandwich
(Courtesy of Nancy from Rhode Island):
1 handful of crumbled Greek feta cheese
2 slices bread of choice.
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Spices of choice (garlic and oregano preferred)
Crack eggs and pour feta in small bowl. Add spices as desired. Whip by hand vigorously for 30 seconds.
Start toasting the bread. Line the frying pan with the olive oil and pour bowl contents in pan, scrambling slowly to desired consistency.
When toast is finished, spread Dijon mustard on both slices. When eggs are finished, place between slices.