Vladimir Nabokov’s Eggs à la Nabocoque
Now there’s a double (triple?) entendre if we’ve ever heard one. As sent to Maxime de la Falaise for her cooking book in 1972:
“Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them.
Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan.
If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an old fashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful.
After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.
November 18, 1972″
Ernest Hemingway’s pan fried trout
We all know Papa was an outdoorsman, and like everything else, he had some pretty strong ideas about how cooking in the wild should be done:
“Outside of insects and bum sleeping, the rock that wrecks most camping trips is cooking. The average tyro’s idea of cooking is to fry everything and fry it good and plenty. Now, a frying pan is a most necessary thing to any trip, but you also need the old stew kettle and the folding reflector baker.
A pan of fried trout can’t be bettered and they don’t cost any more than ever. But there is a good and bad way of frying them….
The proper way is to cook over coals. Have several cans of Crisco or Cotosuet or one of the vegetable shortenings along that are as good as lard and excellent for all kinds of shortening. Put the bacon in and when it is about half cooked lay the trout in the hot grease, dipping them in cornmeal first. Then put the bacon on top of the trout and it will baste them as it slowly cooks….
The trout are crisp outside and firm and pink inside and the bacon is well done — but not too done. If there is anything better than that combination the writer has yet to taste it in a lifetime devoted largely and studiously to eating.”
[From Camping Out, published in The Toronto Star Weekly June 26, 1920]
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