Just Make Mine Scrambled

"How would you like your eggs?" The waitress waited, pen poised over her order pad, while the customer pondered for a moment.

"Basted," he finally said.

Basted? Scrambled, sure. Over easy, okay. Poached, perhaps. Sunny side up, sometimes. Even Eggs Benedict, if you're up for something fancy to feed your brain while you wonder who Benedict was.

But basted? How many people order their eggs "basted?"

Especially when they (the people, not the eggs) are only seven years old. Several of our friends meet at a restaurant for breakfast every Saturday, and on this particular morning one of the women had brought along her grandson.

Listening to him order his eggs with such aplomb, I was jolted back in time to the first time I ever ate breakfast in a restaurant. We were on a rare family vacation, right here in the beautiful Black Hills. I was ten. With a little encouragement, I asked for eggs and toast, and the waitress asked me, "How would you like your eggs?"

I didn’t have a clue what to tell her. Oh, I knew how I wanted my eggs, all right—fried, with the white cooked all the way through and the yolk still soft. Just the way my mother cooked them, in other words. What I didn't know was how to describe them.

Seeing my baffled expression, my father chuckled and told the waitress, "Over easy."

It was the first time I'd ever heard that term. Eating in a restaurant was a rarity in itself for us. Until that day, it hadn't occurred to me that people would actually get breakfast at one. I knew all about where eggs came from and had a painful first-hand familiarity with the term "hen-pecked," but I had no idea there were various ways to fry eggs and various words to describe them.

For seven-year-olds like my friend's grandson, eating out is simply one of the available options for any meal, including breakfast. Watching him chat with the adults at the table while he ate his basted eggs, I didn't know whether to be amused or amazed at the different set of skills little kids learn in today's world. Of course he knows how to order his eggs just the way he wants them, just as he knows how to text or take pictures with a cell phone.

Trying not to feel too out of touch, too unsophisticated—okay, let's face it—too old, I shut up and ate my own eggs (over medium, thank you).

Later, pondering eggs basted and otherwise, I did some research. I discovered that there is some dispute over which of several contenders gets the credit for Eggs Benedict. Benedict Arnold is not one of them. I also confirmed my guess about how to baste an egg, which essentially is a matter of scooping hot grease over it instead of turning it over.

Learning all of that was simple; I just looked it up on the Internet. It only took a minute, and then it was over. Easy.

Categories: Food and Drink | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Just Make Mine Scrambled

  1. Frank

    Never in my 90 years have I heard of basted eggs. And like you, I went to the internet,Googled it and got a whole lot of ways to baste an egg. The first time I ever ate in a resturaunt was when my dad and I drove some cows to town to be sold, and we ate in a resturaunt. Had those heavy plates with dividers which I thought were pretty neat! Thanks for the column.

  2. Frank

    Rats! I shoulda checked my spelling of restaurant.

  3. Ginny

    We had breakfast last Sunday morning in a cafe in Gregory, and we both ordered ‘basted’ eggs. The waitress didn’t bat an eye and the eggs came, perfectly done. I used to baste eggs often when I fried them in rather deep bacon grease…now known as a NO-NO by doctors who are into healthy eating habits; at least for their patients. When I ate things like that I was thin and slight……now that I don’t eat that way I am NOT slim and slight. Maybe I should go back to my old eating habits?????Ginny

  4. Kathleen

    I had eggs for breakfast this morning but didn’t think of basting them. I should start doing that, though–my metal spatula that I got as a wedding gift in 1970 finally broke, and I’ve bought two replacements so far. They’re both so big that it’s almost impossible to flip an egg over without breaking the yoke. Maybe basting was invented in the first place for cooks who weren’t coordinated enough to turn their eggs over.

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