Reluctant to put her book down for even a few seconds, holding it in her left hand while the BookEasel © lay unused within easy reach, she tried to cut into the deep-fried egg with the fork in her right hand, using its edge to press the egg down, but the fork couldn't cut through the crusty, brown parchment like egg-white. The roasted bell peppers –she'd marinaded them overnight in olive oil, salt and garlic– squeezed out from between the egg and the holy numbered 9-grain X 12-nut bread, the bread itself crumbled pastily and finally she had the browned egg-white with its back to the plate, and still the fork wouldn't cut through it. She grabbed the kitchen scissors which happened to be on the table from cutting open the packet of “lonely” seaweed soup –if she'd had company, she would have served dal or squash soup or clam chowder, not seaweed soup– and used them to cut the thin leathery egg crust. Now she could scoop up part of the warm yolk, the egg-white, the bread and the peppers.
As she mashed the yolk against the roof of her mouth, and felt that sunny explosion of salt fat sticky coagulating tooth coating creamy yellow in the inside of her mouth, she was reminded of afternoon sex during the early days with …, and of Old Hem, of course, always Old Hem. Fried eggs and Hemingway like rainbows and Rutherford. Then she wondered if she would die of salmonella poisoning from eating free range, organic, cage-free, all-natural, vegetarian fed, family farmed eggs. Her concern arose not from any of the above, but from the fact that they were past their expiry date. She smiled at herself, she'd been about to think “due date”, had in fact thought “due date” before correcting herself –as she'd been doing with the date on egg cartons ever since she'd become pregnant with her first child.
She ate the two eggs she'd deep-fried sunny-side up like her soon2BX husband used to like them until he started worrying about his high cholesterol and its effect on their non-existent sex-life, and turned to her experiment. She'd cracked the first egg on the edge of the frying pan, but as she'd held it over the oil it had fallen out of her hands when she'd tried to pry it apart. It had been a bitch to get all the pieces of shell out of the hot oil, but it had been worth it just for the idea that had occurred to her – to deep-fry the egg, whole, in its shell. Of course it had cracked in the hot oil, but what oozed out of the crack coagulated and sealed the rest of the egg. She'd let it fry, rolling it around for about a minute before taking it out. Now, with the shell cool enough to touch, she tried to peel it, but that pesky inner membrane stuck fast to both the shell and the egg. So she lopped off the top and scooped the egg out with a spoon, holding the egg in her hand, just as she used to do with soft boiled eggs as a school child. Of course, she'd known even before tasting it that the white would be rubbery, egg proteins have to cook slowly to avoid that texture. But she liked her eggs best that way – unevenly cooked, the outer part of the white rubbery, the inner part runny and the yolk warmed but silkily fluid.