Saturday, March 16, 2013

Egg Recipes

Alsatian Eggs
What happens when a beginner tries an exotic egg dish she saw on a cooking show?

photo courtesy of

All the women in my family-- 
my mother, my grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins--
all can make claim to being good cooks.
It's just part of our nature I guess.

I learned a lot about cooking by watching my mother and grandmothers,
but after I was first married, 
I also learned a lot by watching cooking shows on PBS.
The French Chef Julia Child, The Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr,
and the Southern cook Nathalie DuPree were all favorites of mine.

My idol, Julia Child 
Photo from Samuels Public Library

But they weren't the only ones I watched.
In the early 1980s, I started watching a PBS show 
broadcast from a community college somewhere in Florida.
I can't recall the name of the show, nor the name of the chef,
but several things about it are indelibly seared into my memory.

The chef was a late-middle aged, rather ample gentleman
who easily got out of breath as he moved around the kitchen set.
Occasionally he had to remove his black-framed glasses and mop his brow,
and he wheezed a lot.
He kept a large white flour-sack dish cloth handy 
and used it to wipe off his cutting board.
He punctuated every step with the adjective "lovely,"
and no dish was complete until he blessed it with a sprinkling of salt and "peppa."

One weekend, this chef prepared a dish that I thought would be good.
Why I thought that it would be good is a mystery to this day, 
considering that the recipe called for sauerkraut, cheese, and eggs.
But my husband likes sauerkraut,
and my dislike for it had not yet been firmly established.
I think this dish is the one that solidified my aversion to sauerkraut.

photo courtesy of

The dish was called Alsatian Eggs, 
and I spent a lot of time preparing it: 
heating the sauerkraut and caraway seeds,
poaching the eggs, nesting them in the sauerkraut,
then covering all with Swiss cheese and baking it in the oven.
If I recall, there was beer in the recipe too.
I brought it out of the oven, and it was paler than pale.
And it was the singularly most unappealing dish I have ever eaten.
To this day, "Alsatian Eggs" is the code word around our house for inedible food.

Photo courtesy of
I don't know what the black thing is in the sauerkraut photo,
but it symbolizes the unappealing mass that came out of my oven 
the time I made Alsatian Eggs, Florida style.

I Googled Alsatian Eggs this week to see if I could find the recipe.
And I did find this recipe for an Alsatian Eggs Appetizer
on the web site called Bucharest-guide.
There was no mention of sauerkraut in that recipe and the eggs were hard boiled.
And there was this recipe for Eggs Alsatian Style
in which the eggs were scrambled with a beer-cheese sauce
and served on toast.

Neither of those mention sauerkraut, although The A-Z of Alsatian Gastronomy
says that Alsatian cuisine is esteemed for its innovative
use of eggs, cheese, and cabbage.
But  Oeufs A L'Alsace wasn't mentioned in the list.
Even so, I'm wondering if we were too hasty in dismissing
this egg dish from our inventory of dishes.
No. On second thought,
sometimes it's better to let sleeping Alsatian eggs lie.

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