How To Make Scrambled Eggs, Most Controversial Of All The Breakfasts

Did you know that people do not all make scrambled eggs the same way? Did you know that they even occasionally disagree about how best to make scrambled eggs? It's true. True and intolerable. True and intolerable and horrifying.

Friends, let's fix this shit. Here are the points of disagreement about the making of scrambled eggs, and here are the final and indisputable verdicts which will settle these disagreements now and forever, or anyway until the robots rise against us in a great whirring and beeping carnival of death and invent their own way of making eggs, which will be dumb and wrong because robots can't even taste or love. Friggin' robots.

Onward!

Scrambled Egg Controversy #1: Where To Scramble The Eggs

That's right: This is an actual point of contention between egg-scramblers. Whether to crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble them there before adding them to the pan, or to crack them directly into the hot pan and then scramble them as they cook.

Each approach has its benefits. Scrambling the eggs in a bowl beforehand generally permits a more thorough and vigorous scrambling, which will whip air into the eggs, which will produce fluffier, creamier eggs in the end. This thorough scrambling also means a more complete integration of white and yolk, which means uniformity of texture and color in the finished product, or close to it. That last bit doesn't matter so much, but hey, maybe you're an obsessive-compulsive maniac, or anyway that is what we're all assuming is the reason for you collecting your pee in mason jars.

On the other hand, cracking the eggs into the hot pan and scrambling them there is a much quicker way of doing things, and easier on your dishwashing mechanism of choice. Also, I dunno, there's just something jaunty and improvisational and cool about scrambling the eggs in the pan. Did your great grandpappy beat his eggs in a goddamn bowl when he was pannin' for gold in the Yukon in Aught-Three? Heck no! He scrambled 'em right in the bean can, over the fire! And he knew a thing or six about livin', I tells ya!

No offense, but, shit on your dumb great grandpappy. He wore a saucepot for a hat and had neurosyphilis and he never found any gold anywhere, and his eggs were dense, boring garbage. Beat your eggs in a bowl beforehand, vigorously and for several minutes, goddammit.

Scrambled Egg Controversy #2: When To Scramble Them

This is less a matter of competing viewpoints and more a matter of some people just being wrong and vampires. Do not scramble your eggs the night before you intend to cook them, unless you are using them as an egg custard for French toast, and even then, beat them again before you dip any bread in them. The air that you worked to beat into the eggs with all that whipping and whisking from before will depart them as they sit, and your finished product will be dense and depressing instead of light and fluffy and wonderful. Beat the eggs right before they go in the pan—literally right up until you are just about to pour them into the pan. Or go to hell.

Scrambled Egg Controversy #3: What To Put In Them

This covers both before the eggs are cooked, and while the eggs are cooking. Do you add some milk or cream or a splash of water to the eggs before beating them, to make them more fluffy? Do you add salt and pepper to improve their flavor? Do you add two armloads of shredded cheese because cheese is both your only reason for living and the most pleasurable way of hastening the end of your miserable life?

The answer is: Yesno! Don't add salt or pepper to your eggs before they're cooked: Salt can screw with the texture of the eggs, and pepper just kinda looks weird and unappetizing when it's cooked into scrambled eggs. Do feel free to add a moderate quantity of cheese to the eggs as they cook; you're only gonna live just the one time, anyway.

As for milk/cream/water: Do not add water to your eggs. Water, being water, will make your eggs wet, and will also do nothing else. Milk, on the other hand, if its fat quantity is high enough (which is to say, if it is at least whole milk or maybe even half-and-half or real-deal cream), might add some lightness and creaminess to your eggs if you add it to the eggs in the bowl and beat the ever-loving unholy fucking shit out of it. If you're not prepared to use fatty milk and then whip the goddamn daylights out of it, don't add it. Skim milk is delicious when it is served ice-cold in a glass; in scrambled eggs, it might as well be water. It contributes nothing. Y'know, like you at your job.

Scrambled Egg Controversy #4: How To Cook Them

This is perhaps somewhat less a controversy than a scandal, in that the continued existence—proliferation! reproduction! employment!—of clods who cook their scrambled eggs over high heat is goddamn scandalous, a blight on our community and a testament to the deep and terminal rottenness at its godforsaken core. What kind of people are these? What kind of people sear their scrambled eggs to rubbery, cauterized awfulness on purpose? And what kind of people are we—what kind of cowards! derelicts! hypocrites, all!—who think ourselves decent and kind, yet suffer these clods to live? No more, I say. No more! Lines must be drawn! Moral lines, at least, and then, if necessary, the battle kind.

Here is how you cook your scrambled eggs: slowly, over low heat, with constant gentle stirring and folding and turning. Cook your scrambled eggs slowly, over low heat, with constant gentle stirring, and they will yield soft, delicate, creamy, fluffy heaven in return. Cook them over high heat, and they will yield hateful rubber bullshit. Low heat. Slow cooking. Constant stirring, preferably with a flexible rubber spatula. Do not fuck around with this. Just don't.

(As an appendix to this controversy: There is may be some minor disagreement about what to cook your scrambled eggs in. The only acceptable answers are: butter or bacon fat. If you so much as consider cooking your scrambled eggs in goddamn grapeseed oil, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. At your funeral.)

Scrambled Egg Controversy #5: When To Stop Cooking Them

On the one side of this controversy, you have those who understandably fear foodborne illness, and thus smartly cook their scrambled eggs to perfect total doneness before removing them from the heat and serving them. On the other side, you have people who are not fucking idiots. Remove your scrambled eggs from the heat before they have fully set, because they will continue cooking even after you do so, and if you wait until they are perfectly set to remove them from the heat, then by the time you serve them, they will be dense, rubbery shit and you will have turned the happy occasion of eating delicious breakfast into the sad occasion of becoming yet another person who hates your guts.

Again: Your scrambled eggs will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat of the stove and the residual heat of the pan, because they are themselves very hot, and heat cooks eggs. Your eggs will be perfectly cooked and (probably) viral meningoencephalitis-free by the time you eat them, even if they were not fully cooked when you removed them from the stove, unless you removed them from the stove directly into your mouth, in which case you will have more pressing concerns than your risk of salmonella poisoning, such as the fact that you just gave yourself second-degree burns on the inside of your head.

Scrambled Egg Controversy #6: How To Eat Them

Ah, and here we are, at the great and central controversy—not only of scrambled eggs, but of the history of mankind. What is the right way—the best way—to consume scrambled eggs? A common and dangerous misconception holds that it is not sad and losery to eat scrambled eggs off a bare plate with a fork—or, worse yet, to deploy them in configurations (atop corned beef hash, or home fries, for example) that are clearly and rightfully the province of the over-easy fried egg, as though the runny yolk of the fried egg is some inconsequential frippery to be dispensed to the void. This, friends, is bullshit. Scrambled eggs aren't just fried eggs that have had a hard go of it. They're an entirely different foodstuff! With an entirely different set of immutable and indisputable laws, known and articulated by only one internet food person!

The correct way to eat scrambled eggs is: atop or between slices of buttered toast. You may decide for yourself whether to use a single slice of buttered toast as an edible shovel for delivering the scrambled eggs to your face, or to use two slices of buttered toast to make a sandwich for delivering the scrambled eggs to your face. (If you go this route, it's OK to add other stuff to that sandwich. Bacon goes lovely in there). Should some scrambled egg escape your toast implement and fall to the plate below, you may eat this wayward wad of scrambled egg on its own—with your hand. Utensils may be used only for the purpose of piling scrambled egg onto buttered toast. This is not a custom; it is a natural law, written in the monomers of our DNA. Do you hate nature? No. Nature is pretty. Obey nature.

Also never put ketchup on scrambled eggs, because that is fucking disgusting.

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Albert Burneko is an eating enthusiast and father of two. His work can be found destroying everything of value in his crumbling home. Peevishly correct his foolishness at albertburneko@gmail.com, or publicly and succinctly on Twitter @albertburneko. You can find lots more Foodspin at foodspin.deadspin.com.

Image by Sam Woolley.