This morning before class started, my classmate turned around and warned us, "The substitute teacher today is supposed to be really strict, you guys. He used to teach here." We straightened up and tried to contain ourselves a little better. We'd been noisy and laughing up until then. When class started, though, and the substitute started talking, it became clear that this guy was quite funny, himself. Also, chatty. The powerpoint slide from the lesson plan was cued up for "eggs - sunny side up", but somehow he started telling us about this enormous (hot-tub sized!) antique cast-iron pot in his collection--for picnics needing a lot of corn on the cob.
There were plenty other tidbits, too. He talked about a severe boss he had a long time ago (in the 60's) who would throw his tray of lunch down the hall if it was cooked incorrectly. So basically this chef/substitute was telling us jokes, and they were funny, but we were caught up on the idea that he was supposed to be this hard-nosed guy. On his end, he must have been thinking of us, "Geez, tough crowd!" It took awhile for us to loosen up, and we were also wondering a bit if we would learn the lesson plan for eggs.
Class was nearing an end, and he had a hard-cooked egg and a raw egg in each hand. "How can you tell when an egg is cooked on the inside or not?" he asked us.
I answered something about rolling the two eggs, and the less wobbly one was cooked. Then he demonstrated the spinning trick. If you spin a cooked egg, it really spins. The raw egg sort of peters out after a few go 'rounds. I commented, "Wow, that works a lot better than my idea. Less likely for eggs to break."
"What?" he asked.
"I said, it's less likely for the egg to break-"
And that's when he threw the egg at me.
I think he was tossing it to me to scare the crap out of me, which he did. But his throw was a bit short, so it hit the floor on the far side of the table where I sat. It smashed on the floor and people shrieked and laughed with surprise. It was so funny, but I'm also slightly confused. Was that part of the lesson plan? Has he pulled that trick for years, each year, for each class? Or was he feeling especially jolly and egg-tossy today? Anyway, he's subbing for us again tomorrow and I'll have my catcher's mitt ready this time.
Tonight I practiced an upcoming task that awaits me in second quarter kitchen in a few weeks: Eggs Benedict. Happily, they were a great success. My husband commented, "This sauce tastes light and airy! What's the main ingredient in it besides butter?" Mmmm....not much. Oh, and lemon and egg yolks. Completely delectable and equally unphotographable. Trust me, you don't want to see the quick shots I took before dinner. It will probably be on my to-do list now: photographing hollandaise sauce without making it look absurdly viscous and gross.
But! If you find yourself making Eggs Benedict, I've got a wine pairing idea for you: Rioja! If you're a big red wine fan and wish to have it with every meal possible, go with Rioja for your Eggs Benedict dinner. Wine stewards and pairing books will tell you about some amazing whites and also some bubblies that will pair amazingly with this dish, but Spain is nothing if not a ham-obsessed country. They also love their eggs, baby. Bold rioja tastes so good with the big, bright flavors of the ham and hollandaise. The egg is a gentle balance and the toasted muffin adds mildly sweet crunch.
Well, it's been an eggy day, and tomorrow promises more of the same with omelette practice. Can't wait to see what the teacher throws at us this time--literally.