Random Thoughts of a Would-Be Cook

Would Bearnaise sauce really taste any different if I left out the tarragon and didn’t add the pepper and shallots cooked in bourbon? Is there a chance on earth that I’ll pour the butter and water into the eggs in the right amounts at the right times to make the sauce come together?

I looked up Poblano peppers on the Internet. I read that they’re usually mild but occasionally hot. What will my pineapple salad taste like if I get a hot one? I also read that a Poblano is a resident of Puebla, Mexico.  I’ve been there!

I also looked up to find where the “Benedict” in eggs Benedict came from. There are at least four origin stories on the Internet, and the only thing that anybody knows for sure is that they’re probably all wrong.

The chef taught me how to make the foods he did because they’re “brunchy.” But my meal on Mother’s Day probably won’t be ready until 3:00 p.m. If the meal between breakfast and lunch is brunch, what, what do you call a meal between lunch and supper?

One evening, we had half an hour to cook and eat supper before we had to head out the door.  My daughter scrambled some eggs. My wife made toast. I pulled a package of sausages out of the freezer and read the directions.

  1. Place links and 3 tablespoons water in unheated skillet. Cover and heat over medium heat for 7 minutes.
  2. Uncover the skillet and allow water to evaporate while heating another 2 to 4 minutes. Turn links often to brown.

That seemed simple enough, and with my new-found cooking skill I figured I could handle it. I dumped the sausages in a skillet and covered them with a pot lid. I set the timer on the stove for seven minutes. When the time was up, I took off the lid and dutifully stood by the stove, turning the links over repeatedly while watching the clock. I was doing this! I was cooking! And then my wife strolled by and said, “You know, those are precooked. Just make sure they’re warmed clean through.”

Oh.

Baby steps …

But that experience got me thinking — it would be a good idea to practice cooking my Mother’s Day meal. The two things I am nervous about are the Bearnaise sauce and the poached eggs. I can’t afford to do the sauce twice, but I could tackle the eggs, albeit with non-organic super market eggs.

Imagine my surprise when I looked on the Internet and discovered that poaching may be illegal if:

  • the poacher does not possess a valid permit.
  • the poacher is using an illegal weapon.
  • the activity takes place on restricted land.
  • the poacher uses illegal bait, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or spaghetti. (Really, that’s what it says!)

I decided to risk it anyway. First I set out all my ingredients — mise en place.

Pay no attention to the bananas or the pretzels. And the coffee stuff. And I forgot the spoon and cheese knife. But otherwise I got it right.

To make a long story short — the poached eggs turned out perfectly. My wife ate one and agreed — and she’s refused to eat any eggs I’ve cooked since about two years ago when I served her a fried egg that was 50% raw.

I ate mine on rye toast with butter, ham and cheese, and it all tasted just fine. (And don’t tell anyone I said this, but it was even kinda fun.)

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