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They say a true test of a chef is cooking an egg. Choose your own egg-venture.
On one of those blazing hot Phoenix afternoons—the kind that the Weather Channel speaks of with a mix of disdain and disbelief—I ventured outdoors to see if it there was enough scorching heat to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
Capturing the historic event on video and posting it to YouTube led to a whopping half-dozen views (the main reason being the egg did not cook, resulting in two minutes of yours truly rambling on with a series of “how hot is it” humor). Major fail. Luckily, YouTube is loaded with far more interesting (and sometimes funny) videos on how to prepare the incredible, edible egg.
Cooking eggs may seem like a pedestrian activity for anyone with any sort of kitchen prowess, but YouTube proves that there are myriad ways beyond scrambling, poaching and even shirring to prepare your morning protein. What follows is a playlist of sorts that captures the odd, interesting, offbeat, and occasionally disgusting ways eggs can go from farm to table.
1) The paper bag and bacon routine
I have no idea who the Intense Angler is, but his novel way of cooking eggs and bacon in a paper bag over an open campfire is clever, even if it may result in an angioplasty. Even with rubbing gobs of bacon fat over the bottom of the bag, I still have no idea why the sack doesn’t burst into flames.
2) The potato trick
Of course, like everyone else who has seen this clip, I do wonder why the host/narrator is wearing a green mask. Putting that eccentricity aside, you have to admire the technique of scooping out the guts of a potato, filling it with an egg and burying it in the ground to cook. Not sure it’s my cup of morning grub, but survivalists will dig it.
3) The office lunch hack
If you happen to be in an office that has one of those electronic water heater things (more common in the U.K. than the U.S.), politely wait until everyone else has boiled water for their tea and commandeer that baby to add eggs to your midday meal.
4) The steam king
Cooking your eggs with steam? Yep, it looks like this gentle and time-consuming approach can yield the perfect yolk. But you’d better have plenty of time on your hands and a lot of patience to pull this one off.
5) The nerdy scramble
Speaking of having too much time on your hands… If you feel like ruining a perfectly good tennis ball and want to scramble your egg (and then check your handiwork with a laser read-out) without creating a mess, check this one out. We can’t help but wonder if this was someone’s high school science project.
6) The Philippine gross-out
Apparently balut is a common Asian street food that sits somewhere between an egg and a duck embryo. Since I have never seen the show Fear Factor (in which eating this is routine), watching Americans eat this disgusting item (prepared hard-boiled, if you must know) would be enough to make me become a vegan if I weren’t one already.
7) The under-the-sea edition
This crazy traveler goes from the Philippines to China, where visiting a night market is a must to experience the range of culinary oddities presented as routine edibles. Prepared and eaten raw, sea urchin eggs have a less-than-yummy appeal to anyone with an American palate or a bad gag reflex.
8) The old school standard
No set of videos that has anything to do with cooking would be complete without a nod to the French chef herself, the late, great, Julia Child. This is the complete episode of her cooking elegant eggs that are for more than breakfast. Julia still reigns supreme.
9) The microwave hack
Not exactly a real hack, but when demonstrated by CrazyRussianHacker, cooking eggs in a microwave becomes a garbled, somewhat poorly articulated adventure which is must-see for the absurd commentary alone. If you really want to learn how to cook eggs in a microwave, I suggest going here.
10) The sidewalk fry
The truth is, even those desert dwellers who claim they can fry an egg on a sidewalk end up with slightly cooked egg whites and uncooked yolks. I did not fare well in physics, geology, or whatever branch of science would help accomplish this insane feat of magic. So, who pulls off this stunt with the best style? Here’s a BBC presenter who fails miserably, but does so with aplomb and succeeds in scaring off a coyote. Well done, you.
If that doesn’t whet your appetite for an egg salad sandwich, eggs Benedict, or some tobiko on your California Roll, YouTube has countless other eggy clips to satisfy your craving for one of America’s favorite foods. Scramble on.
Screengrab via North Survival/YouTube
Allen Weiner has been a market research analyst in the area of new media and technology since 1994. He’s worked as writer, publisher and newspaper executive. He is the co-founder and publisher of Kombucha Network and the former managing vice president of Gartner.