Friday, January 7, 2011


our things make up Mom and Dad's (and now my) breakfast each morning: coffee; cereal (for Dad and me) or oatmeal (for Mom); juice with ground flax and sesame seeds (just Mom and Dad--I don't know how they can drink that stuff!); and a poached egg. When I make breakfast alone, I start the coffee pot, get the egg poacher ready and turn on the burner, bring 2 bowls and 3 spoons and forks to the table, and set out the cereals and milks (regular, lactose-free, and creamer). By this time, the water in the poacher is boiling, so I crack three eggs and set the timer for 7 minutes. While the eggs are cooking, I pour 2 glasses of juice and add freshly ground flax and sesame seeds. Then, it's time to mix Mom's oatmeal with craisins and water and put it in the microwave for 99 seconds. (When Mom cooks it, she puts it in for 1 minute 40 seconds, but I found that 99 seconds is only 1 second less, and is twice as fast to program on the keypad. Efficiency.)

Over the years, I have learned to be a pretty good cook (do not laugh, Mr. Eldersitter!), and I waited tables for a couple of years, so I've become quite capable when it comes to making and serving food. But my parents remember the girl who could scarcely cook without burning the food and who wasn't exactly the picture of efficiency when "working". Add to that the fact that Mom's 80-year-old body has really slowed down, and it's no wonder that she can't believe how quick I am at fullfilling my kitchen duties.

When I first arrived, she told me the eggs cook for six minutes. So, I dutifully cooked them for six minutes--and gave most of my gooey mass to the dog, because the yolk was too runny for me to eat. I then changed the cook time to seven minutes, with perfect results.

When Mom started cooking breakfast again, I observed her making eggs. She would crack an egg... pause... break it into the cup... pause... carefully wipe out one half of the eggshell with her finger (after all, to not do so would be wasteful)... pause... carefully wipe out the other half of the eggshell with her finger... pause... take two slow steps to the wastebasket to throw away the eggshell... pause... take two slow steps to the stove... pause... pick up the cup with the egg in it... pause... pour the egg into the poacher... pause... wipe out the cup with her finger... pause... and repeat two more times. Then, set the timer for six minutes.

By the time the eggs were all in the poacher, the first one was half cooked! Of course, after six minutes of cooking time, the last one was not cooked enough at all! And somehow, I always seemed to end up getting the last one.

Now that I'm cooking breakfast again, I adeptly crack the eggs, get them in the poacher, and set the timer for seven minutes. One morning, Mom commented that she didn't understand how when I cook the eggs for seven minutes, they turn out perfectly, but when she cooks them for seven minutes, they are too hard.

I didn't have the heart to tell her. I just shrugged and hugged her.

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