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

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

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

£25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Misleading Translations: the next 40

John Rentoul
Syrian refugee 'Nour' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project