The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, March 14, 2008

First Great Western Railways, Swansea to London

07:59 Service
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.


“Eggs Benedict!”

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?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trick is:
Water only an inch deep.
No salt in the water.
About half a capful of white wine vinegar (malt or red wine is too strong)
Bring to the boil.
Turn off the heat.
Drop in you eggs as soon as the bubbles stop.
Lift out with a flat holy spoon after about 2 mins max.

2:36 PM, March 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only use very fresh eggs. They hold their shape better in the water.

3:23 PM, March 20, 2008  

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