104, actually. But let’s back up for a minute.
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of Crossfit, this crazy-intense exercise program. Its trademark workouts comprise a whole mess of weightlifting, bodyweight exercises like pullups, and sprints – all done as quickly as possible while keeping good form, like this one. One of the main reasons I like Crossfit is this timing element; it puts the element of sport into it, and takes the tedium out of things – you’re so busy racing the clock that boredom never figures into the equation.
I had always wanted to apply this balls-out methodology to other walks of life. So when I realized I’d be cracking 104 eggs for this party (80 for Cremini mushroom frittatas, 24 for pâte à choux with Gruyere and Parmesan), it seemed a natural opportunity to incorporate some Crossfit-style discipline into my cooking. I would break nearly nine dozen eggs for time.
I knew that to really crush this I would have to abandon the cautious, two-handed cracking method I’d used my entire life, and go single hand, which, while fraught with albuminny peril, would undoubtedly be faster. So after watching a few YouTube videos on technique, I took a stab at it.
I was expecting brutal results, but it really didn’t take long to get the hang of it. If the first attempt was comical, by the fifth I was Margaret Cho. (Was that clear? Because I meant that my efforts had become legitimate to such a point as to cease being comical. I mean, really, really not funny).
The keys are (1) to find the right amount of force with which to introduce egg to table; (2) once the egg is cracked, to parse out tasks within the hand – use the ring finger to hold half the egg in place, use the middle finger to deepen the crack you just made, and the index finger to gently open the egg and dump its contents.
So, ain’t nothing to it but to do it. Ready… 3… 2… 1… GO!
Let’s go to the videotape: this is what followed. Also, reporters were able to catch up with me afterwards.
GET COCKTAIL PARTY SMART ABOUT: THE EGG
That small white, stringy thing in some eggs is not, as I firmly believed as a child, A FRIGGIN’ FETUS! Instead, the chalaza (“kuh-LAY-za”) anchors the yolk and keeps it from banging into the shell. It disappears over time, so to the cook it does serve the valuable function of helping to determine freshness: the more prominent the chalaza, the fresher the egg.
No need to bother removing it, unless you want to indulge your OCD tendencies – you won’t feel it in the finished product (some people do take them out when they’re making custard dishes, but those people are Howard Hughes).