Tuesday, 31 October 2017

No Yolk

I have never been much of an egg eater, because I hate the consistency and flavour of boiled or poached egg white - ditto fried egg white, unless cooked by my granny who managed to turn it into some kind of crispy deep fried delicacy that looked like oily lace. Sadly, she has not been around for over 30 years, so that is no longer a culinary option - try as I might, I've never been able to reproduce the effect she achieved, despite setting off every smoke alarm within a 10-mile radius in the attempt.

Having renounced the granny emulation experiments, I have lately turned to trying to eliminate egg white from the egg eating equation entirely.  To this end, I have discovered that, if I use a teaspoon, I can eat the yolk of a fried egg or a poached egg or a soft boiled egg and, contrary to my longheld conviction, (and fear), no one is going to put me in the slammer if I don't eat the white as well - indeed, if I first pour off the white before frying or poaching an egg, I'm not even wasting it, as I can save it up and make meringues with it, (I am quite happy to eat egg white in that form.)

The one problem that has arisen following this discovery is that, since I have liberated myself from the dread of egg-white-avoiders' prison, I have become addicted to eating two egg yolks each morning for breakfast.

Yes, my name is Zoë Colvin, and I'm addicted to yolk.

I find this new situation puzzling; I can't quite understand why it has come upon me at this not exactly early stage in my life. I've given it some thought though and one thing that I've decided may contribute to my addiction is precisely the fact that egg yolk's attraction is mysterious. That is, when you try to define clearly to yourself what egg yolk tastes of, to pinpoint what precisely are the elements of its flavour, it is almost impossible to do so. Which makes you keep on coming back to try it one more time.

Yolk is creamy, I suppose, except that its consistency is thicker than actual cream, and it isn't as sweet. It is unctuous, except that it isn't actually oily. It responds well to salt - in fact, the taste almost vanishes without it. It is velvety, except, when you think about it, it isn't, as velvet is furry and yolk is utterly smooth. Sometimes I think if I had a whole jug of yolk I could get to the bottom of it, but I think I'd be sick, because yolk is, more than anything, rich - and perhaps that is its real attraction.

But there is yellowness too. That is important. Although I can't help wondering whether, if someone gave you a spoonful of yolk but blindfolded you and didn't tell you what it was that you were being given, you would be able to guess - or is seeing that brightness part of the way its taste is perceived? I think I heard something on the radio recently about someone colouring food unusually and people then no longer being able to recognise what they were eating, and I suspect if we were presented with a yolk that wasn't yellow it wouldn't taste nice at all.

Now I think about it though is my difficulty in defining how a yolk tastes actually just a tiny part of a wider problem - is taste itself always virtually impossible to explain? And is that a deficiency of the English language only - or is it something that all languages share?

And yes, I acknowledge, of course, that this post should really be called "No white, all yolk", but a pun is always irresistible. Isn't it?

7 comments:

  1. You don't mention what you're doing with the whites of your two daily eggs, but if you're not using them in a nice cocktail that evening then may I suggest you do so?

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    1. Cocktails you say - tell me more

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    2. Pisco sour is my favourite. 3-2-1 ratio pisco-lime juice-simple syrup, shake with egg white and ice, pour, scoop foam on top and dash bitters. So your two-egg a day habit would give you two of these.

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    3. My fave egg-white cocktail is the pisco sour. 3-2-2 ratio pisco, lime juice, simple syrup (some say 3-2-1), dollop of egg white, shake with ice, pour, spoon egg foam on top and add dash of bitters. Or you could try a white lady, which is what I'm making tonight.

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    4. The existence of Pisco is new to us, but we will soon rectify that, don't you worry

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  2. Ah wait. Meringues you say. That's fine.

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    Replies
    1. No, no, I want to hear about these cocktails I could be having

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