What is it with new gadgets

Sunday 29th January

Amazing, isn’t it, how hope triumphs over experience time and time again.  You know that you really should have known better, but curiosity sometimes gets the better of one’s good judgment.

I may have mentioned that I am a dab hand at poached eggs on toast; at one time I practically lived on them, during the few years after Grandma died and my mother and I were almost camping in the house at Putney.  And I still cook them an awful lot, sometimes for breakfast, but more often when you just cannot face peeling potatoes and trying to assemble a real dinner just for oneself, far easier to just poach a couple of eggs.  The trick is to get the water just right, rolling over but not ferociously boiling, and of course you have to know your toaster.  There is nothing worse than toast that is ready minutes before your egg, and the butter re-solidifies as you wait for your egg to cook, or vice versa when your egg spoils because the toaster just will not brown the toast.

I was in John Lewis, just browsing really, not intending to buy anything, and I drifted down into the kitchen department.  I had noticed more and more these red rubber cooking utensils, form spatulas to oven gloves, and especially cake cups.  Well my eye was taken by a new line, egg poaching cups.  They are quite deep red rubber cups that float in the boiling water and, so it says on the label, simply run a spoon around the edge of the egg to remove it from the cup.  I thought to myself, what a good idea; because the only downside to poaching eggs is the cleaning of the saucepan, where all that frothy white sticks like glue, second only to weetabix in its stickability, and you end up having to soak it for ages in soapy water.  So, without a moment’s thought I bought two of them.

I tried them out this morning, and what a disaster.  Because there is no hard rim on the red rubber cups you have to crack the eggs one at a time into a teacup and then pour this into the cups, so more unnecessary washing up.  Then I found that no matter how low I turned the heat, the water kept rolling over into the cups, incidentally swilling some egg-white into the saucepan where it immediately stuck to the sides.  The rubber acts almost as an insulation so the eggs took twice as long to cook and the toast was cold.  Then removing the pan from the heat I extracted the half empty cups.  Running a spoon gently round the edge I tried to plop the eggs out.  Guess what, the yolks came out, but the white remained stuck like a limpet to the red rubber.  And after a very unsatisfactory meal it took ages trying to wash and remove the recalcitrant bits of egg-white from the red rubber cups; pointless really because as soon as they were clean they went straight in the bin.