So I had the occasion, brain-fried and worked-over and at best quasi-sentient by the end of some long recent day, to plop my faltering attention on some cable channel well outside the familiar rotation and there, eventually, to be captivated—horrified, really, the gape-jawed half-smiling horror of encountering a monstrous stupidity that can only be set right again by your making fun of it—by a Food Gadget Commercial. You know these: the initial black-and-white horror-show of some hapless boob spectacularly failing to, say, stick a straw into that damned juice box the normal way and instead somehow accidentally slicing both of his arms off, while a patronizing narrator intones, "Are you tired of wrestling with your kids' juice boxes? The spilling! The tearing! The accidentally slicing both of your arms off!" And then the blissful full-color shots of the non-threateningly attractive cardigan-clad Mom Type casually snipping the tops off juice boxes—"Well no more! Introducing the Boxer Revolution, the perfect solution to all your juice box problems!"—and handing them to her blond kids, and the blond kids taking sips from the juice boxes and smiling at each other in astonishment as though a repurposed cigar cutter has somehow transubstantiated watery cran-grape into the fucking Tears of the Ophanim.
This one, the one that I saw recently, was for an Egg Device. I've forgotten the proprietary name, and the internet offers no clues, but I can report that it was a device that cooked eggs. Specifically, it cooked eggs into cylinder-shaped eggsicles on sticks, because, as the black-and-white horror-show demonstrated, no one has ever attempted to cook an egg any other way without eventually surrendering in volcanic fury and eating a fistful of coins instead, and the invention of a countertop appliance for cooking cylindrical eggsicles is precisely the technological breakthrough that will finally enable mankind to add chicken eggs to its diet.
Which, I dunno, memory's not the most reliable source, but I feel like I have the faintest recollection of having cooked eggs, real actual chicken eggs, in a pan one time—when I was a kid maybe? And not just that, but—I swear I almost can picture it, but it might be a family legend some great-uncle told me once and I illustrated it in my mind—eating them too. Without burning down more than 40 percent (or so) of my house! Seriously! Actually, now that I think about it, I feel like it's entirely possible that I've cooked eggs, in a pan, and then eaten them, without destroying either my house or my kitchen or my pan or my sanity, several times a week for the past 20 fucking years.
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The point here is that cooking eggs, in a goddamn pan, and then advancing from cooking eggs in a goddamn pan to enjoying the eating of those very same eggs on a plate, is fucking outrageously easy, which is the precise reason why your local grocery store stocks roughly 500 trillion of them at any given moment. Which makes it a little bit puzzling that anyone bothered to invent a device for cooking them in cylindrical form on sticks in the first place, and then to market this device as a welcome alternative to the doomed enterprise of cooking them any other way.
Just in case I'm wrong, though, let's compare the two processes—cooking eggs in a goddamn pan the way people have been cooking them since the pioneer chickens flung the first eggs from their spaceships in Pleistocene Europe, versus cooking them in a strange specialized eggsicle-on-a-stick contraption that must be purchased by phone—so that we can record for posterity which of the two is the less onerous.
Cook some bacon. Wait, what? Weren't we cooking eggs? Yes. Cook some bacon. In a goddamn nonstick pan. Low-medium heat. Three strips per person. Couple of reasons for doing this: first, because bacon is delicious; second, because you will use the bacon fat to cook your eggs; third, because we are padding out the steps of cooking eggs in a pan just to demonstrate how much less complicated the process is than deploying your stupid egg-cylinder gizmo. Cook the bacon for a couple of minutes per side until it's that gorgeous reddish bacon color, then drain it on some paper towels. The bacon left some liquid fat behind in your pan; leave it there.
(A note, here: Evidently it has become popular in recent years to cook bacon in the oven above a drip pan. That is stupid. Do not do it. Bacon tastes just as good as you will ever require it to taste if you just cook it in a goddamn pan the way people have been cooking bacon ever since very shortly after Francis Bacon chopped down the first fateful pig tree.)
Draw the blinds in every single window in your home, so that no one can see you using a device that outputs an egg log mounted on a popsicle stick, and then eating that output, and then, presumably, sobbing bitterly, your tears soaking the afghan you are crocheting for your cat. One of your cats. The one named after Matlock.
Make some toast. In your toaster. Yes, that is correct: You are cooking eggs in a pan by making toast in the toaster. Plain-ass wheat bread. Two slices per person. When the toast is done, spread some butter on it, cut it into triangles, and set it aside.
Duct-tape the blinds to the window-frames to ensure that no peeping toms, cookie-hustling Girl Scouts, or neighborhood cats might catch an inadvertent glimpse of your ridiculous stick-mounted egg-log contraption and require you to commit murder.
Crack three eggs into that same nonstick pan, over low-medium heat. Do not crack them into a small bowl first and then gently pour them into the pan; just crack them on the countertop and open them directly onto the surface of the pan. Crack them right on top of each other so that the yolks are close together. The egg-whites will try to push the yolks apart; with a rubber spatula, puncture the egg whites and beat them up a little bit so that they spread out and quit pushing the yolks apart. You want the yolks close together so that you can handle them all at the same time.
Assemble your dumb specialized egg-cooking appliance, using the incomprehensible instructional booklet provided by the manufacturer. You will have to do this the first time you use your dumb specialized egg-cooking appliance, and also every subsequent time, because each time you use it, its component parts will fill with liquid egg and require you to disassemble the entire dumb specialized egg-cooking appliance and clean each part individually. When you have completed this step, and also while completing this step and also all other times, rue every prior moment of your life for leading you to this.
A minute or so after you've cracked the eggs into the pan, when the whites have completely or almost completely set, slide a rubber spatula beneath the yolks and flip your eggs over. Don't be an asshole, here. Be committed. Be decisive. Be hardcore. Slide that spatula under those goddamn yolks and flip the fuckers over. One smooth motion, deft, dexterous, close to the surface of the pan. Do it. Own.
Lubricate the inside of that outrageous waste of money with spray-oil so that your eggs will not stick to it as they complete their transformation into cylindrical metaphors for your capitulation to the very least challenges of living a grownup human life.
Turn the heat off, count to 10, then slide that spatula back under there and get your eggs out of the pan and onto a plate, yolks up. Stick three strips of bacon and some triangles of toast on there.
Repeat Steps 3 through 5 if anyone else is having eggs. You have just made breakfast. And a damn good one at that.
Punt your unappetizing stick-egg-thing maker thing into the fucking street and have a goddamn bowl of wheat germ. Fuck you. You have just made breakfast.
* * *
OK, it's nearly time to eat your breakfast—to puncture the yolks of your eggs with crispy bacon; to mop up the glorious golden-colored runny goodness with buttery toast as your forebears have done in all the centuries since bread first crawled forth from its caves; to haphazardly pile egg and bacon on toast and desperately cram this unwieldy mess into your mouth before it slops apart, smearing yolk and bacon fat and butter on your cheeks and not giving a single damn; to wash it down with orange juice and coffee; to sit back and put your greasy hands behind your oily unwashed head and steal several consecutive moments of perfect, shimmering, bulletproof contentment before the day's tide washes you back out to sea. Nearly. One last step.
Look down. Still got arms? Eat it, infomercial.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Top image by Devin Rochford.