I once was a cuddler; now I’m just a coddler. I was first introduced to it—coddling, that is—when I was but a lad living with my parents. And while that sounds like the kind of thing a hormone-juiced man-in-the-making would engage in while the rest of the house was fast asleep, I should explain. Coddling involves eggs, a saucepan and ceramic cups with screw-on lids (that’s as kinky as it gets).
My mother used to have a pair of matching egg coddlers inlaid with a dainty pastel floral design. I inherited them when she died then lost sight of them after my divorce. A devout egg eater (there’s a Parsi in me somewhere) I had already decided that my kitchen needed to bone up on ways to make my morning meal more varied. I awoke one day with a sudden need to find a replacement set of coddlers. The internet lured me to Etsy.com where I found just the pair meant for me: they featured pretty little birdies set upon smooth porcelain cups bearing glistening chrome caps. The brekkie game changer was on its way to me.
Coddled eggs sounds like a decidedly English thing. It is. It’s also decidedly easy to do. In its most basic version you would butter the inside of the coddlers, break a raw egg into each of them, screw the caps on tightly, place them in a saucepan of water boiling just up to the caps’ lower level and cook for 4-6 minutes. Then you’d turn off the gas and allow them to sit in the water for another few minutes before taking them out and unscrewing the caps. Season as you please and scoop to your glee.
There’s a bunch of ways to make it all more interesting. You could dust the cups with parmesan before adding the eggs and/or top them with finely chopped chives. Bacon or ham bits would be great ways to begin the process too. You might need to do a few runs to figure out exactly how your coddler reacts to heat in order to get your desired yolk viscosity. I’m a sucker for soft yolks and for a final serving I’d add crisp melba toast or sourdough bread schmeared with Amul butter (or lard!) and a side of tinned sardines doused in lime juice and dressed in fragrant, verdant coriander leaves. Yup, that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow morning. Again.