Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

This morning while engrossed in redesigning ‘improvised life’, I forgot about the eggs I was boiling on the stove. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like a gunshot in the kitchen. When I explored, I discovered firm little pellets of egg yolk scatter-shot across the kitchen. Once the water had boiled away in the little copper pot, pressure had been building within the shells for at nearly two hours until finally, one of the eggs blew.

I had two options: 1) throw the eggs away and clean the mess up OR

2) TASTE AN EGGS and see what information it would yield. I thought of David Chang’s long-and-slow-CAREFULLY-cooked eggs, coppery Chinese thousand-year-old eggs, and the many culinary revelations I’d had as a food writer while trying out ideas that had failed (often to succeed in some other form, later). How else would I find out what eggs cooked dry and un-gently would taste like? Who knew what I would discover?

So I broke open one of the eggs whose shell was, miraculously still intact, and tasted, with salt and without.

egg cooked dry for 2 hours
sally schneider

An egg that has been cooked over low heat in a dry pan for almost two hours tastes first nutty, then metallic. The yolk is deeply rubbery, the yolk chalky. There is, as yet, no redemption to be found in this overcooked egg, though it is my experience that this bit of strange knowledge might come in useful down the line. I am very glad to have had the experience.

sally schneider
sally schneider

The exploded eggs came two days after I’d stumbled on a perfect New Yorker cartoon by Roz Chast called Untested Egg Recipes. It embodies every principle I used when creating recipes for my books A New Way to Cook and The Improvisational Cook, and which I have since applied to my life…


…”see what happens“…

…”quickly, before you start to have doubts”

…”remember to keep an open mind“…and

…”send it out into the world“…

….in other words BE FEARLESS. TRY YOUR IDEA OUT.


Related posts: 25+ “fried egg on anything” combos
giant cheese popover-pancake (eggy, chewy, crispy, swell!) + a sweet lemon-scented version
splendid table’s ‘key 3′ recipes from great cooks
the question to ask when you make a mistake

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4 replies on “life lessons from an exploding egg + roz chast

  1. I am reminded of this post by Elissa Altman about her mother and boiled eggs-

    Glad you were able to find the golden lining.

  2. I recommend trying solar cooked eggs. Get yourself a small box solar cooker. Put eggs in jar, no water needed. Potatoes are excellent also.

    You won’t have the dry, nor the metallic taste, more of a delicate poached egg but instead boiled. Best way to cook eggs hands down.


  3. I’ve always wanted to try a solar cooker, and have fantasies of doing it on my terrace. The explosive eggs were definitely NOT intended. ha!

  4. your dry-cooked eggs made me starting this day with a laugh…
    thank you

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