Wall #4

Another wall of rediscovered videos from my Youtube library archives,

It’s an utterly pointless skill to learn for anyone with two working hands but I’ve wanted to be able to crack an egg single handed, with panache, for a long time. I’ve practiced hard with two golf balls (not ping-pong balls) and a coin. That goes okay but replace it with an egg and it doesn’t happen. What usually results is a totally destroyed eggshell and a burst yolk dribbling from my sticky fingers.

I had plans to build a man shed; however, the house we ended up with has no good place to put one. It was going to be a kind of studio retreat, the sort of den everyone needs. Oh well…

I don’t recall this video but it was in my library saves. He’s a proper manic DIYer: in an earlier video, one I don’t have, he claims to have built an underground bunker; this shed is sitting over its entrance. Elsewhere, he has shown how he made a hover scooter and a flame-throwing guitar. No wonder he needs a windowless shed: it was probably his wife’s idea.

I love zoetropes. I must get around to making one of the drum kinds. These were a feature of London’s Science Museum when I visited as a kid. They were inside glass exhibition cases but could be operated by a crank handle on the side of the case. It time, they replaced the crank with a push button which activated an electric motor to drive the rotating drum. Looking through the slit in the side of the drum, it would show an animation through the phenomenon of persistence of vision.

The 3D model version is something else. If you had the patience, you could make one from plasticine and set it on a record deck, rotating at 78 RPM. It may be a problem filming the effect as video cameras operate at so many frames per second, a hell of a lot less than human vision response.

I used to watch woodworking shows on telly and be envious of their workshop power tools; a tool for every job.

Then here’s Grandpa Amu, a Chinese villager, possibly the village carpenter, working with the most basic tools and improvising along the way. And I love improvising.

He has a lot of videos on Youtube, projects large and small. He is an amazing craftsman.

To be British is to know about tea. So here’s a French guy to tell us about it. Alex, French Guy Cooking, was a channel I followed. He experiments with cooking. Also he did it in an unfeasibly small kitchen. I wonder what he’s up to now.

From this video, I learnt to make two mugs of tea from one pot instead of throwing the old tea out. I even made two from one tea bag when at work as I often forgot to bring my preferred brand of tea; it tastes fine on the second cup.

The car journey from London to Bath, made sometime in the early 60s, I think, is fascinating for the stark contrast with the same journey made today.

I don’t know who the narrator is but he seems a stranger to road rage. I wonder if he was in the police or maybe a driving instructor. Some of those other road users are crazy.

I know the City of Bath quite well but haven’t recognised the route taken, only his final destination is familiar.

Flash Fiction: for the Purposeful Practitioner

“You can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs!”

Gran was giving us boys another cookery lesson. She insisted on handing down her “essential life skills” to is, on a plate, so to speak, along with a generous side portion of her homespun philosophies.

“But, Gran, you can!” Eddie, our middle brother, was forever the smart-Alec.

Gran gave him her most withering look, and seasoned it with a “hummm” for good measure.

“But, Gran!”, chimed Eddie. “All you have to do is prick a hole in each end with a pin, and just blow it out.”

Thereby a great flurry of activity took place in the kitchen: pins were procured for all and the four of us, with an egg apiece, set about pricking our two holes. Only Gran, poor soul, didn’t get it. Instead of an eggy liquid depositing itself into the bowl, nothing emerged; her round cheeks refused to deflate and then her face suddenly took on a sickening expression.

Just then, Grandpa walked in and stopped to assess the scene before him. Then he understood. Folding his arms against his chest, he tut-tutted at us all.

“Are you boys teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs?”

(199 words)

This is a submission for Flash-fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner 2018 week #16

It’s a photo prompt (see left). Anything goes.

The one hard rule is for the piece to be less than 200 words.

Click on the blue FROG button below to read other stories submitted.

Thinking about…

Cooking eggs.

How do you like your eggs, fried or boiled?

Apparently, the answer is geo-cultural. According to the Co-op as reported in the London Evening Standard,

A Co-op study of just more than 2,000 people found that Liverpudlians prefer poached eggs, fried tops the list in Cardiff, Edinburgh loves an omelette, Glaswegians like a hardboiled egg while Belfast opts for soft boiled.

Londoners, like me, like theirs scrambled, like I do.

Old Woman Cooking Eggs by Diego Velázquez

My mum, who I’d observe at the cooker in order to learn, would make scrambled eggs by boiling them in a little milk and butter, in a milk pan, stirring all the time. And it did take time, waiting for the mixture to “catch” on the pan and continuously lifting it away. This method was adapted to the microwave oven when they became available though stirring would need to be intermittent.

This is how I made scrambled eggs for a long time until I read a story how a British actor once had scrambled eggs cooked by Jack Nicholson. He cooked beaten eggs in a hot frying pan with a little melted butter. It takes seconds, and they taste better.

Much, much later, I cottoned on that there’s little to gain by beating the eggs beforehand. Simply beat them in the pan while cooking. (I think I got this idea from an Asian cookery source – but I could be wrong.)

Fast food isn’t all bad.

The Co-op on Eggs

More thoughts…

I think maybe sometimes nothing is better for lunch than a soft boiled egg sarnie. Soft yolks but not too runny, between buttered, crusty white bread slices, liberally seasoned with salt and black pepper before closing…

When my Gran was living alone, I would visit her every Tuesday, after college, and she enjoyed feeding me, as I think all Gran’s do. One favourite was egg and chips, with a slice of bread. Simple but Gran had a way to make it taste memorable. I know she only ever had white pepper which gives a different bite to the more fruity black. Her “chips” were round slices of spud shallowed fried in a frying pan. Soft, runny yolks, liberally peppered. Exquisite. I can taste them now…

Poaching is a tricky business but done properly, they look good on a kipper or any poached, smoked fish. Brown bread and butter on the side…

Omelette with homemade baked chips is my go-to quick dinner for one, usually if I’m heading out and it’s too early for the others to eat. It’s automatic but joyful. Two cheeses grated in the omelette, three parts Cheddar and one part Parmesan. I’ll have a generous dash of HP sauce all over this, and the customary slice of bread…

There used to be a transport cafe near where I first worked. A small, round, motherly woman did both the cooking and the serving there; she really looked after you. She did a wonderful cheese omelette and chips, always eaten with brown sauce. And a mug of good tea. Her superb apple pie or crumble served in a pool of custard to follow…