Thursday, February 18, 2010

Which came first? Or together?

As I stood at the kitchen sink this evening, fretting about the line of my nose and peeling a hard-boiled egg, I caught a faint, fleeting whiff of a very familiar and oh-so-pleasant food aroma.

I couldn’t place the source. As you might expect, I started jabbing the air with my nose and snorting a ragged path around the room. I’m sure I looked very inquisitive and thoughtful, which I’m told many consider attractive.

My nose caught nothing. I returned to the sink and continued peeling.

The smell was coming from the egg.

And this surprised me. I’m not one who takes a sniff of something and then suggests that, as great as it now, it would be even better if just a touch more “eggy”. When I smell a hard-boiled egg, I expect a very specific odor. In the egg world, this scent may well pass as intoxicating; in the human world, it reminds one of a fair-to-middling (but hardly room-clearing) fart. Generally, the only farts I’ll happily endure are my own.

This egg was no ordinary egg. This egg smelled heavenly! This egg didn’t make me think of flatulence.

This egg made me think of roast chicken.

So, as is my wont, I started to worry. Questions flooded a mind already lulled by the empty promise of a juicy, egg-shaped chicken breast.
  • If an egg smells of something one really enjoys and craves—be it chicken, bacon or blueberry pancakes—would eating it be a bad thing? Isn’t this like ignoring gold falling into your lap?

  • How much does it really matter that eggs aren’t supposed to smell like anything but eggs?
And then I started to think outside the box:
  • Would it be such a turnoff if a leftover piece of cod offered the bonus of a subtle hint of steak? Surf-then-turf, if you will? Or if radishes smelled like cheese?

As I pondered these questions, which seemed important and something I should share (no need to thank me formally), a new query that seemed even more pressing forced its way in. This one gave me pause:

  • Just suppose an egg contains a chicken embryo, rather than your standard yolk and white. Is it logical to suppose a cooked chicken embryo might smell like roast chicken?

At first, it failed to occur to me that the mere presence of any egg white under the shell—which I had not only seen but pushed my nose against while chasing that good ol’ chicken smell—would suggest no embryo was present.

When this logic came to me, I felt no better. Instead, I came up with another question (you can understand that my mind was racing at this point, from so much raw science):

  • If an egg contained half a chicken embryo, would one reasonably expect to also find half an egg? Is it possible that, by some good fortune, the portion of the egg I had already peeled was the lucky other half—the “egg” half of the egg/embryo mix?

For just a moment, I felt ill. That wonderful essence, the one that had teased my senses with thoughts of roast chicken, may have been nothing more than a freakish and redolent hybrid of egg-baby. Would I ever be able to enjoy chicken again? Or eat an egg?

I ate the egg. I arrived at this decision when I bore down and peeled the rest of the shell—all white. Drawing on my earlier insights, I reasoned that if a hard-boiled egg in no way resembled an embryo, it should be fine (or, at worst, not that dangerous). The fact it smells like something else entirely should be of little importance.

Sadly, the egg tasted just as it should.

Author's note: The previous is a true story. A few months ago, I was reading another blog I enjoy, Hyperbole and a Half. One night, Allie wrote a blog entry when she was drunk. At the time, I remember thinking: "What a great idea. I should try that sometime." So, tonight, after five cocktails and one shot (enough for a gentle buzz but not enough for a Canuck to ever admit he's drunk), I wrote tonight's blog entry.

Here's your challenge. You've read tonight's entry; read at least one other. Then tell me: should I write only when sober, or only when impaired? I trust your judgment; right now, I don't entirely trust my own.


1 comment:

  1. When I eat eggs, I tend to fart and poop a lot. But the aroma of my farts tend to smell like sulfur.

    Your post gave me a great deal to ponder over. Thank you.


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