Going to a shady café where nobody ever goes, and to eat English breakfast – has become a ritual. While marking my choice of eggs, they always ask me whether I want sunny side up or masala scrambled egg. Honestly, I still don’t know how to respond to that. Is it sensible enough to say that a thing like sunny side up doesn’t exist in my head at all? Or should I just tell them to replace that fancy term with Bull’s eye? I haven’t done either.
But, I have a story. This is not a story about a café or a place that serves sunny side up. This is a story about home, where a thing called sunny side up doesn’t own any place in the kitchen. This is a story about Amma’s kitchen where Bull’s eye is a part of every morning breakfast. “How can you eat puttu kadala without Bull’s eye?” she asks me each time I settle down to eat puttu with gravy alone. Then, she begins the process.
Amma always does it with an unwashed steel spoon. Appa who is obsessed with hygiene grits his teeth, but Amma ignores him claiming that one doesn’t have to eat the shell. Once the argument is dealt with, there is no reason to wait for anything else. Unlike me, she knows that the egg is absolutely lifeless and that no matter what she does, she cannot hurt the egg. One thrash! This always reminds me of the way she used to whack me when I was a child who refused to do homework. I believe that she is kinder to the lifeless egg.
Once the steel spoon has separated the white into two equal halves, she pours down the contents of the egg onto a pan which has two drops of coconut oil in the middle. This way, the egg always floats and the yolk never breaks. I always make it a point to stand by her side when she does this. I don’t like to see the way it is cooked. However, I like the gluhgluh sound the egg makes on the pan– as if water is floating in its stomach. In spite of the dramatic noise it produces, it still remains intact.
“Can I do this?” I always ask her. I have never had the opportunity to transfer the Bull’s eye to the plate. “You will only ruin it. It will break and your plate will stink,” she tells me everytime. But then, she is right. She knows how to do it. In fact, in my family, only Amma knows when to turn off the gas and serve the egg once it is properly garnished with salt and pepper powder. If the Bull’s eye is for Appa, she sprinkles some chilli powder as well. She does it when the edge becomes slightly brown. But, I can never be sure.
We always run out of eggs at home, because we need Bull’s eye with everything, be it dosa, puttu, chapati or even bread for that matter. The only thing that still disappoints me is the name… sunny side up. Doesn’t Bull’s eye sound better?
Featured image credits: Steven Depolo (Flickr images)
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jith 16th February 2021
i love to read this story again and again especially the sound of the egg you described- ” I like the gluhgluh sound the egg makes on the pan” ..,