The Best Laid Plans

Poached eggs (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Thank you today, for being February. Thank you, burdensome bane of January for being past. Where did the time go slash why was that such a long month? And why is it that when I really want to make some resolutions and see them through to eternal happiness and a realm of well-manicured calm, the universe decides that those were foolish plans? The to-do list seems hopeless, the meetings unmanageable, the zombie-apocalypse dreams are really getting old.

In other news, I’ve been learning how to poach eggs.

Learning How to Poach Eggs is part of a larger project called Self-Improvement, with subcategories like Keeping Your Plants Alive, Understanding Social Media and Your Place in It, and Buying Chairs for the Apartment You’ve Been Living in for 1 Year. Please see the optimistic post from two weeks ago about New Year’s resolutions for all my hopelessly quaint ideas on How to be a Better Me. (January Seminar: Soothing Your Inner Cynic.)

In any case, here’s what makes poaching eggs so hard. Every egg, like a precious snowflake, is different. New eggs poach better than old eggs (though old eggs peel better than new), but apart from that – who knows what trouble lurks beneath those smooth, impassive shells. Some eggs, no matter how gently I’d slip them into my carefully vortexed and vinegared water, would explode on contact and feather out in sad, fannish strands. I’d poach an almost perfect egg – and then, when I’d try to replicate it, not to mention improve upon it, I’d end up with sticky yolk running over gummy, wet albumen. It can be heartbreaking, learning how to poach an egg.

Eggs in the shell (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

So no, I still don’t have a fool-proof method for poaching eggs. I’m still synthesizing Jamie and Julia and whatever other Food Network star has something to say on the topic. But I’m writing about it now because this: I’m spending far too much time looking at what I haven’t yet managed to do than what I’ve done.

In my quest to be a better egg master, I’ve learned how to make a damn-fine, pretty-near-perfect soft-boiled egg. I’ve read hundreds of poems for SAND and run my first meeting as Editor in Chief. I Windexed all of the apartment’s windows and scrubbed the baseboards (boring, Lyz). I subtitled a documentary and have put some really exciting projects for Eat Me. Drink Me. into motion (more on all these coming soon).

And every egg I poach is one step closer to getting it right.

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