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How peeling eggs turned me into Ralph Macchio

I think the majority of the world falls into two camps.

People who don’t mind peeling eggs. And people who hate it with all their might.

Peeling eggs, for me, is torture.

It’s a slow torture, too.

It’s painful to my senses. The uneven, unexpected cracks that may or may not lace the eggs once they come out of the pot. The stretch of the skin as you pull off the hard, cracked outer shell.  The rubbery touch and feel of the skin beneath. All the small left over pieces that you can’t easily scrape off your fingertip.

I can hardly stand it.

What I like even less about peeling eggs is the amount of time it takes, and the fact that each egg must be peeled slowly and with care. This isn’t so bad if you want just one egg, but becomes more of a nuisance if you need to make egg salad …and much more of a pain if you are making egg salad for a party of 10 or 15 people.

That’s a lot of eggs to peel.

But what I like even LESS is when a piece of shell pulls off with it some of the meat of the egg white.

Grrrr… and you’re left with a very deformed, less than perfect, certainly not whole, egg.

As a borderline perfectionist, this truly is almost more than I can bear.

But I bear it.

Over the years, I have been given a few tips on how to peel eggs easier. (“Wait til they’ve cooled. Do it quick while they’re still hot. Crack a hole on each end and blow into it first.”)

No matter what the technique, it still is a process I wish I didn’t have to go through.

But I do it anyway.

Mindfulness comes in handy in these situations, I have found.

Unless you don’t mind chomping on shells, peeling eggs requires extraordinary presence and patience.  You need both hands to peel and you need a careful eye to search and find the leftover pieces of shell on the egg.

You need to be with the egg.

You can’t be typing a text to your husband or responding to an email from your boss.

You can’t be changing the baby’s diaper or sitting on the toilet.

You can’t speed through it — unless you don’t mind peeling half the egg off with the shell.

And you can’t do it in front of the TV or in the dark in bed.

And if you hate peeling eggs as much as I do — you tolerate all this in the hopes that the ends will justify the means. BUT, at the same time, you are required to completely give up expectations of the outcome.

You need to be okay with the mauled, ugly egg, for instance — or you’ll be boiling and peeling eggs all day long, over and over again.

I was peeling eggs semi-mindfully today — and by semi-mindfully, I mean my emotional state was somewhere between pulling out my hair and poking out my eyes — when my 6 year old son came over and asked if he could help.

I almost said, “Thank GOD!” and ran away.

Instead, I sat with him and patiently showed him how to peel an egg. I taught him the steps, instructed him on how to peel the shell completely, and coached him on letting go of the need for the egg to be perfect.

As I heard my voice out loud, guiding him on concepts I still myself need coaching on, I suddenly got the epiphany of  “peeling the eggs”

Do you hear Mr. Miyagi’s voice the way I do?

He’s saying:

“Peel the eggs eggs

Peel the eggs

Peel the eggs …

No, no look here.

Slowly, slowly.

Peel the eggs

Peel the eggs

Peel the eggs.

Very good, Jenny San.

Don’t forget to breathe…

Peel the eggs,

Peel the eggs.”

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