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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Perfection in a Shell by Mary Jane Grant

"Make sure the white part is solid," I instructed my grandfather as he placed the egg onto the over-sized silver spoon and lowered it into the simmering water. "But the yellow part has to be soft and sort of gucky." 

"One boiled egg, solid white and gucky yolk, coming up," my grandfather said, adding another egg to the pot. 

We were the early birds, Grandpa and I. We'd meet in the rambling kitchen and he'd make breakfast. I had him to myself, which wasn't easy during July when so many relatives descended on the big clapboard house overlooking the Bay of Fundy. 

I pushed an old wooden chair closer to the wide harvest table that occupied the middle of the kitchen. I climbed up and leaned forward, focused on the task at hand. 

"Two minutes," I reported with military precision as I watched the sand pass the second line in the tiny egg timer hourglass. 

"Right!" said my grandfather. He set the eggcups on the table. Two painted wooden faces stared at us - an old man with kind eyes and a chipped ear; and a lady with red lips and long eyelashes.

"Time!" I cried as the last grain of sand crossed the line. Grandpa plunged his spoon into the white enamel saucepan and scooped up my egg. I had the tap running cold. He held the egg under the water for ten seconds then popped it into the top of the glamorous eggcup's head. Tap tap tap I went, around the egg. Grandpa's egg came down into the gentleman's eggcup and I tapped around it as Grandpa cut mine open and lay the lid, gucky side up, to one side.

"Salt, pepper and a pip of butter," Grandpa said as he doctored our eggs. 

Mary Jane Grant is from Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

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