Self Respect: Shirred Eggs with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

-Ladies, brace yourselves.-

So longest post ever followed by the shortest post ever. I was at the market today buying some eggs for a cake I wanted to make for a potluck.

All and all, this was an in and out trip. Go in. Grab eggs. Buy eggs. Leave. It was a mission of practical pinpoint accuracy that I fashioned after watching far too many military movies and dating a lot of military personnel.

So in I go and I get to the eggs without any incident. As I pick one up a lady and her little girl around twelve are going through carton after carton looking for perfect eggs and - I kid you not - assembling a new one. When she found an egg she liked, one that was obviously superior to one of the eggs in the carton she was holding, she would switch it with the worst egg in her dozen.

Lord know what the qualifications were. They all looked exactly the same, but maybe I'm just a layman when it comes to egg analysis.

-Insert any obvious joke about the sexes and eggs here.-

Speaking of eggs. Here's a snippet of the conversation they were in the middle of:

Child: "So, mom, if those people are making all those decisions shouldn't there be girls helping make them? All the people they showed on the news were men."

Mom: "Yes, well, sometimes women make very bad choices and men need to make them instead. Women can be very emotional and men are more rational."

Me in my Head: "Oh f***, no, she didn't."

-Parent. Of. The. Year.-

I assumed they were talking about the recent contraceptive hearings going on in the capitol and the fact none of the people on the recent panel were women. (Something I find, terrible. Let's have a panel of just women decide on Viagra distribution or passing a law requiring them to get bi-monthly prostate exams and see how the dudes like it.)

While everyone has an opinion about this very touchy subject I don't think parents on either side of the issue would agree with what this parent was saying.

I kept my mouth shut. Not because I couldn't think of anything else to say, but rather due to the horror. The kind of horror you experience when you realize you're about to slam your fingers in a car door and you're not going to remove them in time. Horror that this poor doomed child's chances of having a liberating independent thought about her own future are next to nil.

Hopefully, the child goes to a very liberal college and meets a roommate who's middle name is Sunshine and whose sexuality is more ambiguous than the Niel Gaiman poem she has tattooed on her inner thigh.

-She will also have dreads and a tendency to get high between her philosophy classes.-

Heaven help us.

I left the store and just sat in the car for a moment thinking about what I had just witnessed. What else can you do when you see evidence that the next generation might be just as screwed up as the current one but make breakfast? How can a parent neuter their child's self respect like that?

Lady, intelligence isn't inborn, it's learned.

I went home and made shirred eggs for breakfast. (How funny it was eggs I decided to make the day. Culinary coincidence or something subtle in the mind?) Shirred eggs are a simple brunch or breakfast dish that look fancy and always impress but that almost laughably easy. Eggs and cream baked in a ramekin. A beginner's breakfast.

While they cooked I threw together a sun dried tomato pesto with what ingredients I had on hand. A good pesto should always be made in excess as leftovers can grace everything from pasta to toast to eggs the next morning.

With eggs, pesto, and tea I sat down at the table and tried to read the news. Instead my eyes glazed over the headlines and my thoughts wandered to the girl and what her future might be. Her relationships. Her opinions of herself and her worth. I wondered who made the mother think the way she did. Probably her parents and her parents before her and so on.

Intelligence isn't inborn, but nor are our opinions of ourselves when we first start out. Unfortunately, breaking yourself out of the cycle isn't easy. Still, you can sit and hope about it. Maybe someday a friend of hers will sit her down to some eggs and lift her spirits a bit?

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Makes 1 1/2 cups pesto

1 8.5-ounce jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 cup walnuts
1 ounce Grana Padano or Parmesan, finely shredded
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
olive oil

Place the sun dried tomatoes and their oil, the walnuts, cheese, and garlic clove in a food processor and blend. Salt and pepper to taste. If the pesto seems too thick add more olive oil in tablespoon increments until you achieve the desired consistency.

Shirred Eggs
Serves 4

8 eggs
1/3 cup cream

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter four ramekins. Crack two eggs into each ramekin and split the cream amongst them all. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes. The eggs will look totally underdone. Don't worry, they're cooked, they're just a bit runny (think sunny side up). Have faith that they are perfect even though they look like they aren't. Overcooking makes these dry and while they can look runny on top inside the yolks can be very hard when overcooked. You want runny yolks to sauce the dish.

Top with pesto and serve immediately.

-Best of luck to her.-


  1. "Hopefully, the child goes to a very liberal college and meets a roommate who's middle name is Sunshine and whose sexuality is more ambiguous than the Niel Gaiman poem she has tattooed on her inner thigh."

    Made my morning.

  2. OMG- Those looks so delicious. I've been looking for a reason to buy some ramekins!

  3. Now, since I know no parent likes to be told how to do their job, I am going to comment that your shirred eggs with tomato pesto look delightful.

  4. These eggs look delicious. I'm even more excited to try this sun dried tomato pesto. Think of the possibilities!!!!!

  5. God, the funniest thing about this situation is that if you had corrected her you sort of would have proved her right!

    Garrett: "NO! Don't listen! Your mother is completely wrong!"

    Mom: "See what I mean? Men always know best"

  6. I work in retail, in food, and daily I watch people do the same thing to cartons of eggs. makes me want to rage! I also see folks who spend 5 minutes reading the entire milk carton, leaving me to wonder if they are functionally illiterate, slow readers or just have nothing better to do with their time. The remarks to the daughter make me despair for this world! All that aside, great job on breakfast! My favorite meal, next to lunch and dinner! Love you!

  7. As a man, if you spoke up about her being wrong she would have had to listen. Right?

  8. I kind of can't believe you kept your mouth shut!

  9. I know this isn't the point of the story, but as someone who is a total freak about food expiration dates this horrifies me. What if she switches eggs to a carton that indicates a later expiration date than what they actually are?! Ack!

  10. Casey: You and me both. On the other hand I was in a hurry.

  11. I know I left a message on your Facebook status about this, but I'll repeat my "WTF" reaction.

    Ugh, doctrines about shit like this is how my country ended up being a chaotic place with idiots filling up the space and wasting oxygen. -_-

  12. Ugh, what a horrifying thing to overhear! If it's any consolation, I don't think I would have been able to bring myself to say anything, either. How does one argue with crazy?

    On a lighter note, I love this bit in your post, 'maybe I'm just a layman when it comes to egg analysis.' You 'crack' me up.

  13. How did you keep from speaking out?

  14. As a woman who grew up in just that sort of household, I'm not too worried. The young lady is obviously thinking things through. If she were destined for a life of subservience, she probably would have never even questioned the panel's gender imbalance.

    But oye, what a crap example to set for your child.

  15. OMG!!! Somehow I still find myself amazed that parents model this crap to their children. Suppose next time she'll tell her that women are prone to 'hysteria' and should be forced to stay in the home.

    Nothing against staying at home, but it should be Her choice all the same.


  16. You're a bigger person than I am. I would have said something, then grabbed the woman's eggs and ran. If that's how that idiot is going to raise her daughter, she doesn't deserve eggs.

  17. The eggs look fantastic. But I always laugh at your comments about witnessing various interactions with parents (its usually the mom) and their kids. They are always cringe-worthy and yet laughable at the same time. Kind of like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    What is even more entertaining is that I've seen you at different place around town (once at the farmer's market/Bledsoe booth where I said hello and complimented you on your great blog) and just this past week at Peets coffee. Both times I was with my 4 yr old daughter and both times I was ever so careful lest I wind up in a post. You keep me on my parenting toes!

  18. Rosie: Next time say hi! Promise, you're safe. ;)

  19. I don't know how I found your blog - but you cracked me up along with those eggs.

    Loved this post. =)


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