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Of Eggs, Forks and Comfort

I ate breakfast late today. I know I’m not supposed to do that, but … there it is. I had a big pub outing after hockey last night and just felt unable to introduce more protein until after noon. Today’s egg creation involved frying mushrooms, onions, red peppers and ham together and then dumping eggs beaten with many kinds of cheese and a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce on top, stirring until set. The WWBA and I call this “Scrambled Eggs with Stuff”. The radio was on as I was doing this and Stuart McLean was reading one of my favourite Dave and Morley stories, Holland, about when Dave and Morley met.  In that story, Morley made her version of “eggs with stuff” and they were not to Dave’s liking, nearly contributing to the end of their very young marriage.

Somehow, I’ve acquired two small kitchen whisks in the past number of years and I’ve started to use them, exclusively, for whipping eggs for “eggs with stuff”. That is what they are for, after all. Whisking things. Usually, I plop the eggs on top of some cottage cheese and maybe some romano, pelt the mixture with some Worchestershire sauce and get the whisk going. It sounds like it does on the cooking shows. Busy and thoroughly important, accented with high tinkly sounds of the metal strands hitting the glass. Today, however, I had a sudden aversion to making one more kitchen implement dirty for this task and, instead, used the fork that I’d already used to dish out the cottage cheese. My mother never had a whisk, after all, and this is how she whipped eggs for the pan. For that matter, this is how I did it until I got all cityfied and started using a whisk.

Beating eggs with a fork, in a glass mixing bowl, sounds totally and completely different than beating eggs with a whisk in a glass mixing bowl. I’d forgotten. There is a deep, gurgling, plopping sound caused by the fork lifting and dropping the mixture that is missing from the more treble sound of the whisk. There is still metal on glass, yet it sounds somehow more aggressive and forceful with a fork than with a whisk. It is, for me, a nostalgic sound, reminding me of my mother being both consciously instructive with me in the kitchen (“watch for egg shells in the mix, here, use a spoon to get that out.”) and unconsciously instructive as she tried to do as much as possible as quickly as possible. Scrambled eggs with stuff was fast, nutritious, cheap and tasty. Thus, also popular.

On a day like today, after a week like this week, the simple sound of eggs being whipped in a bowl to create “eggs with stuff” was profoundly grounding to me. A short plane ride away, a scene of unimaginable devastation is unfolding as a bottleneck of well-intentioned assistance sits, waiting to be deployed. It is gut-wrenching.

At work, the results of a mid-week strike vote have definitively answered precisely nothing, for anyone, on any side of the table.

As privileged and fortunate as my life is – and it is – I am aware that I am powerless in both of these situations. Once the donating and the voting is done, there is nothing I can directly and personally do to affect either of these outcomes. Sometimes I catch myself imagining jumping on a plane and taking control of the airport, directing the flow of traffic, or building quick on-the-spot teams for aid deployment. Or, bursting in on the negotiating teams with some new revelation that will solve all the threads of distrust and mis-information that have sprung up over years between management and the union. But, wistfully, I put those things away back when the day came to put away childish things.

So, I make eggs. And I remember that my good fortune springs not from my “stuff” or acquisition of “stuff”, but from all that I have learned and continue to learn, and all the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make. And I hope for the best. For everyone.

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2 comments to “Of Eggs, Forks and Comfort”

  1. Nicely put. Thanks for writing. m

  2. I really like your “eggs with stuff” and imagine I might see/hear it being made differently from now on.
    For interest sake, I have been introduced to two new words this week. One via you- “cityfied” and one via a friend- “cityiot” Interesting additions to my vocabulary 😉

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