If you’ve ever wondered where you can find me on a Sunday morning, the answer is often this: in the passenger’s seat of a friend’s car, clapping my hands and chanting “eggs!” over and over again.
Growing up in Cambridge, I’ve been a fan of Sunday brunch for as long as I can remember. My family has a tradition of gathering on the Sunday after Thanksgiving for brunch at Henrietta’s Table, one of my favorite spots. My friends and I frequent The Breakfast Club in Allston, Russell House Tavern (for fancy days), or Zoe’s, a hole-in-the-wall diner in Harvard Square, for our brunches.
The versatility of an egg blows me away. One can fry it, bake it, boil it, poach it, stick it in a sous vide cooker (a vacuum boiler) for fancy poaching, beat it with nutmeg and dip brioche in it for French toast—yet even those are just the preparations. Recently, I was trying to understand permutations (possible combinations of anything) with my ACT tutor, and he asked me to create an example that had nothing to do with numbers. I went to eggs because you have a finite number of preparations and endless uses for the prepared egg. We turned it into a math problem, I didn’t do it right, and then I went out to brunch.
My go-to brunch order is two sunny-side up eggs, home fries, buttered toast, and bacon that I never eat. However, at Russell I get their “fried eggs benedict,” a feat of culinary genius. They separate the yolk, cook the white in a sous vide, and then fry it in bread crumbs. Afterwards, they create a little well for the yolk and bake the whole thing for a few minutes until the yolk is runny. Smothering the whole thing in hollandaise, they stick it on an English muffin.
Of course, getting brunch is wicked expensive. Before I had a summer job, my poor father received a “Can I get, like, $20?” text almost every Sunday, and eventually he told me that I needed to chill out. My weekly egg jaunts are unsustainable.
One two-egg, home fry, and toast combo costs around $8. Fried benedicts are $14. However, one egg from a dozen costs around $0.13, two slices of wheat toast cost about $0.50, and one potato for home fries is $0.16. Because restaurants cook the eggs for you, they charge $8 for something I can cook for $1.
After I started saving money and cooking sunny-side- up eggs for myself, I grew bored. I decided to follow along with an Instagram trend: cloud eggs. As Buzzfeed was raving about how “Clouds are the new poach!” I decided to put them to the test.
First, separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites into a stiff meringue (it’s stiff when you can flip the bowl upside down without spillage). Then, on parchment paper, shape the egg whites into “nests,” leaving a little well in the center; they’ll hold their shape in a 450º oven. Bake the whites until brown and then dump the yolk into the well. Then bake again until the yolk is set around the edges but wiggles in the middle. This way, when you cut into it, the yolk runs down the sides of the meringue nest: the perfect Snapchat story.
Buzzfeed was super-right. Clouds are so the new poach. The puffy meringue soaked up the excess yolk, which eliminated the middleman of toast and provided a new texture for my mouth. I couldn’t help but think that clouds must taste salty and warm.
After I ate this magnificent egg, I turned to the weak pile of home fries on my plate. The only update I usually give my home fries is Lawry’s season-salt rather than just salt. It was time to change them, too. If I was going to feast on luxurious, whipped eggs, I needed some fancy potatoes, too.
With my whipped eggs, I set out to make a normal home fry, melted some butter, diced some potatoes, and covered them with salt and pepper before covering the dish to let it cook.
They were so boring.
Determined to enhance my fries, I poked around the spice cabinet until I saw my savior. Truffle oil. Truffle and potatoes were made for one another, and my favorite food is truffle fries with parmesan cheese. I realized that I could eat a breakfast-friendly version by covering my home fries with truffle oil and parmesan.
It turns out that my own brunch is more delicious than a restaurant brunch. Also, it costs me almost $10 less. That coupled with the satisfaction that cooking gives me means I’m never going out for brunch again. So if you want to chant “eggs” with me, you’d better come over.