He holds the hot egg in one hand, turning it as he taps it gently with the knife edge in a perfect horizontal line, and lifts the top off like a skull cap to reveal the molten golden lava of the half-congealed yolk. It spills out in a river as he moves his spoon around the shell to remove the white in one solid unblemished half-oval—shining, still steaming from the boiling water it has so recently been surrounded by.
The egg rests on the square of toast and is soon joined by its equally perfect other half, mashed
onto the toast to be lightly sprinkled with salt, dusted with black pepper. Then, the final perfect ingredient to this gracefully executed breakfast favorite—one delicate sprinkle of cider vinegar from the tiny stoppered glass vinegar cruet and the neat slicing with fork and knife, the lifting to lips, the dabbing of yolk from the plate with another triangle lifted from the toast plate.
The final smacking of lips and the long satisfied sigh as he places his knife and fork across his empty plate. My father, a large man with work-hardened hands, is like an artisan in his neat and graceful maneuvering of the utensils, his napkin blotting any errant egg from his lips before raising, at last, the coffee cup to his lips to wash it all down.
Soft boiled eggs, toast and coffee. Bright yellow, white and brown are the colors of the morning as the school bell rings and I am off in a mad dash to slide into my seat in my schoolroom across the street before its last peal. This memory of my father eating soft boiled eggs was early morning poetry that I have not forgotten half a century and more later. It is the little things, the small beauties, that stick like liquid yolk to our memories.
For dVerse Poets prompt: food
My father put vinegar on everything from cabbage to eggs. I loved to watch him eat, for it was at the table that he was transformed from a hard-working farmer-rancher with wheat in his pants cuffs to a cultured gentleman with impeccable table manners. In this prose poem I try to replicate my father’s artistry in disassembling a soft-boiled egg. The cruet above is one of the few objects I claimed when I went to pack up our house after my father’s death. I still use it for cider vinegar, and think of my dad every time I open the cupboard and see it on the shelf.