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Friday, October 24, 2008

Eggs la Nabocoque

posted by on October 24 at 9:53 AM

A recipe for boiled eggs Vladimir Nabokov wrote in 1972, after he had moved to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland, where he would stay until his death.

Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them.

Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan.

If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an oldfashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful.

After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and then pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.

Take another and be more careful!

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The easier way, which prevents cracking, is to put them in the pan before you set it on the stove. Then when the water starts to boil, set the timer for 3 minutes. Take them out and eat. You break a lot fewer eggs that way.

Posted by Greg | October 24, 2008 9:58 AM

sorry greg, your recipe sucks.

Posted by KCip | October 24, 2008 10:03 AM

Absolutely wonderful. That made my morning.

Posted by kid icarus | October 24, 2008 10:18 AM

Next time I write down a recipe I'm going to write it in the style of Nabokov.....

Posted by boxofbirds | October 24, 2008 10:34 AM

so is the water boiling? I wasn't clear.

Posted by el ganador | October 24, 2008 10:35 AM

"Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them" is one of the best sentences I've ever read.

Posted by EmilyP | October 24, 2008 10:35 AM

I like the "round end up" part.

Posted by Jude Fawley | October 24, 2008 10:40 AM

@4: I want an entire cookbook written like this. Get on it.

Posted by Jessica | October 24, 2008 10:43 AM

Greg's recipe is obviously for soft-boiled eggs.

Vlad's holding the eggs under warm tap water prior to boiling sounds intriguing.

Posted by elswinger | October 24, 2008 10:43 AM

@6: I feel that way about many of Nabokov's sentences.

Posted by Aislinn | October 24, 2008 10:45 AM

@6: That's exactly what I was going to say. Whimsical yet tinged with dread.

Posted by laterite | October 24, 2008 10:58 AM

Vladimir Nabokov makes me feel inferior in every way: He writes --in his fourth language-- more eloquently and compellingly than I could ever muster.

Posted by Nathan | October 24, 2008 11:08 AM

above is ok for old fashioned in the shell soft...

Hard Boiled, here, easy, put them in the water - bring to a boil, some bubbles is the boil, turn off the heat, cover with anything, plate etc., let set for 10 minutes, take to the sink and pour off hot water, run cold to cool at once .... voila.... perfect hard boiled eggs that easily peel.

Soft boiled is silly, poach them...easy, perfect, no shell bits, better taste..

Egg Lover ( do a batch of Hard boiled and make deviled eggs )

Posted by George | October 24, 2008 11:41 AM

@13: but then you don't get to use an egg cup. Or a tiny spoon. So really, what's the point?

Unless eggs Benedict is involved, in which case, carry on.

Posted by Abby | October 24, 2008 11:46 AM

"Just like the
eggs in the
recipe by Nabokov

Don't stand, don't stand so, don't stand so close to me..."

Posted by Chris | October 24, 2008 11:49 AM

"If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an oldfashioned seance..."

That may be the single funniest sentence Nabokov ever wrote. That was the first time I've ever ACTUALLY spat coffee on my keyboard.

Posted by Trueblood | October 24, 2008 12:01 PM

@15: shame that Sting didn't know how to pronounce his name.

@12: English was actually Nabokov's first written language. He was raised trilingually, Russian, English and French, like all good little aristocratic scholars of the day. German came later.

Posted by Fnarf | October 24, 2008 4:53 PM

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