Issue 30

Food Service Warrior: What’s a ‘Fried’ Egg?

Food Service Warrior: What’s a ‘Fried’ Egg?

Editor’s note – Our guest columnist for this issue’s Food Service Warrior is a short-order cook – a guy in the trenches, making your food with pride and grumbling at the same time. Oh yeah, he also makes your eggs. Read on for his thoughts.

So you’ve walked in to your favorite place on a busy Sunday morning/early afternoon and see it is completely full to the gills. The cooks in back are sweating and cursing while servers run franticly in circles, offering weak smiles to everyone who takes more than two seconds to order. You plop yourself down in your chair and stare at the menu.

Omelettes, benedicts, two-eggs any style, pancakes, French toast and a host of other blood-sugar destroying entrees – and the carbohydrates to accompany them. After you have looked long enough, you become impatient and flag-down your grossly underpaid server who, despite having had three tables before you, manages to arrive with a smile and a ticket book.

At this point, some of you (who will remain nameless), forget what you actually wanted, which is understandable given the immense amount of choices – so you wing it. You look at your sore, dejected server and with a confident smile order two ‘fried’ eggs. You feel good with your choice – after all, your mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and your best-friend in college all made you fried eggs. What a trip down memory lane this will be!

Your server sheepishly smiles, takes your order and walks away with a heavy heart and a looming sense of dread. Unbeknownst to you, no one else in the restaurant knows what a ‘fried’ egg is. It’s true you have had thousands of them, and we have cooked thousands more, but with eggs available in a variety of temperatures, you have chosen to not reveal what you really want. This will cause the cook who receives your ticket to immediately say something along the lines of “what the hell is this?”

So, here is a brief primer on egg styles you can choose from in most establishments that serve them:

  • Over-easy: soft yolk with mostly cooked whites
  • Over medium: hard whites with a semi-firm yolk.
  • Over hard: fully cooked whites with a broken yolk cooked hard
  • Over well: fully cooked whites with a fully cooked, unbroken yolk.
  • Scrambled to varying degrees of softness

And now we’re getting to the real issue: you see, all of the above are ‘fried’ eggs. So, when you send your ‘fried’ egg back to the kitchen because it is too hard or too soft, now you see our dilemma. We really had no way of knowing exactly how you wanted your egg ‘fried’, and now we’ve got an irritated cook and a flustered server. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see servers flustered, but you get the point.

So, the moral of the story – or the ‘take away’, if you will – is to never order just ‘fried’ eggs. When I’m cooking for you and you’re in our restaurant, I’ll cook whatever you want (within reason). But you see, no one here knows what a ‘fried’ egg is.

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