Each New Year I can remember since graduating from college, one of my resolutions included some form of learning how to cook. I’ve collected an eclectic shelf of beautifully-designed cookbooks filled with mouthwatering photos of clean, fresh food. And every year I’ve failed.
The problem was that I tried to start in the middle, instead of at the beginning. These cookbooks promised easy recipes, but many of them included ingredients you can only find at specialty markets and required a lot of advanced meal planning. I might get there some day, but I’m not there yet.
So I put this beauty on my bridal registry: How to Cook Everything: The Basics. No one actually purchased it for us, so once we settled into our new space in Charlotte, I ordered it for myself. I cracked it open and thought, “let the training begin.”
I flipped to the chapter on eggs – yes, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to different ways to cook eggs – and looked through the fried egg, the scrambled egg, the hard boiled egg, and then, ah, the poached egg. I’ve never had a poached egg, never made a poached egg, but it looked fancy, like something you’d order at brunch. Challenge accepted.
The morning of my challenge I filled a small pot with water and brought to a boil – not a rolling boil, but a gentle boil (yeah, I now know the difference) – cracked an egg into a bowl, and slowly slid it into the pot. After about five minutes of watching it dance around in the water, I lifted it out with a slotted spoon, lightly jiggled it to ditch the excess water, placed it on a plate, and, well, that was it. I added a dash of salt and pepper, and breakfast was ready.
I’ll be honest, it was a little anticlimactic.
But now I can say I know how to make poached eggs. And it was the first recipe I successfully completed from one of my many cookbooks. Do I need to become a trained chef who produces Instagram-worthy meals each night? No, I’d just like to be able to do more than heat up packaged food. I’d like to be able to look into the fridge and throw together a meal with the ingredients on-hand. And I’m on my way.