Simon Kelner: Rockers have crazy urges but a boiled-egg rider is a step too far

Kelner's View

Share

Try this out in your workplace. Inspire a discussion about any matter of political importance, like, for instance, the euro crisis or reforms in the National Health Service. Some people will have deep convictions and strong views but I would guess that, by and large, you will be surprised by a lack of general engagement in these issues of great moment.

And then, casually, ask if anyone has an opinion on the best way to boil an egg. Stand back for the reaction: four minutes; five minutes; put the egg in and then boil for three minutes; let it stand; put salt in the water; better to simmer than boil. On and on they go, as if what we're trying to achieve is the perfect soufflé, or an award-winning baked Alaska. It's a boiled egg we're talking about.

This was the topic du jour in my office when I happened to mention that one revelation in a new book about the wild and wacky lifestyles of some great figures of rock'n'roll was that Mick Jagger insisted on having his eggs soft-boiled and served in a Wedgwood egg cup.

Blimey. I knew rock stars had crazy, uncontrollable urges, but surely that was a step too far. Drugs, women, even jelly babies with all the green ones removed, but a specific rider involving boiled eggs? That's going too far. (In my very limited experience, however, this is not untypical. The only rock star I know well likes nothing more than a quiet evening in with a bottle of home-made elderflower cordial and some Cheddar.)

This is not the first time that the humble boiled egg has become a national topic for discussion. We all recall how particular Prince Charles is regarding his boiled eggs – according to Jeremy Paxman's book on the royals, Charles has seven eggs cooked, each for a different length of time, and then tests them all before settling on the one that suits his taste. (This was later denied by the Palace, fearful of what it would do to the Prince's environmental credentials.)

And what about Delia Smith? In her 1998 book, How To Cook, the original domestic goddess devoted a whole chapter to the foolproof way to boil an egg, and left herself open to ridicule; fellow chef Gary Rhodes accused her of insulting people's intelligence. But it's clear she was on to something. "Even the simplest of cooking demands a degree of care and attention," she wrote, before detailing the precision needed.

In case you are interested – which I am sure you are, if only so you can emulate Prince Charles and rock gods everywhere – she says you should lower the egg into simmering water for exactly one minute, then remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for six minutes (fairly liquid yoke) or seven minutes (a firmer, creamy yoke). All of which, I'm afraid, is just an excuse to reprise my favourite cartoon of all time. It was in the New Yorker magazine and showed a chicken and an egg in bed together. They were clearly in a state of post-coital bliss, and the chicken was smoking a cigarette.

The caption simply read: "So now we know which came first."

 

 

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
John Rentoul met Ed Miliband aged 23, remarking he was “bright, and put up a good fight for the utilities tax, but I was unconvinced.”  

General Election 2015: Win or lose, Ed Miliband is not ready to govern

John Rentoul
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk