First Great Western Railways
Swansea to London Paddington
by Moose Lee
I was feeling dangerous. The travelling chef was wearing authentic “chef’s clothes”. Okay, he was wearing a white smock that buttoned up at the side but, at eight in the morning on a train out of Swansea, that was more than enough. I ordered Eggs Benedict, even though I knew it would be served in a cardboard box.
The cashier shouted back to the kitchen.
“Eggs Benedict Tone!”
I could hear it in her voice – there was going to be trouble.
No reply. She took a step back and looked in to the galley. Tony, out of sight, spoke quietly, but not so quietly that I couldn’t hear him.
“I don’t know how,” he whispered.
She glanced at me, smiled, then disappeared back-stage.
“It’s easy,” she said. “Just poach two eggs.”
As a man who has spent most of his adult life trying to master the dark art of poaching eggs, I winced at this.
“I’m not sure,” Tony said.
“You just put ‘em in hot water. Then on a muffin.”
The hours I have spent spinning a wooden spoon around a pan of boiling water, trying to create “a vortex.” I have added splashes of vinegar and red wine. I’ve used deep water, shallow water, skillets, pans, even Clingfilm.
She came back out.
“It’ll just be a minute,” she said.
I stood around the side of the bar to watch the chef at work.
He put some boiling water in a plastic coffee cup. Then he broke the egg in to the cup. Why had I never thought of that? An idiot savant! He had solved one of the universe’s great mysteries!
But alas, the poor fool then put the cup in the microwave.
Predictably, the yolks were pale, crumbly and tasteless. Way too much cheap ham, way too little cheap Hollandaise. And I stank out my carriage.
Is it feasible that I would have been better off ordering – I can barely bring myself to type it – a Breakfast Baguette?