Not Cheaper by the Dozen

I’m supposed to be writing a paper on narrative and expository text comprehension instruction which sounds super fun, but I’m feeling rebellious. I think I’ll talk about my battle with the eggs instead.

This weekend there is a large conference involving many teenagers and requiring a great deal of food. I should interject that no one in their right mind would ask me to cook for anything important, but I was asked to crack eggs which could probably be done by a trained monkey so I figured I couldn’t get into too much trouble.

I’m in, how many do we need?

“20 dozen”

That’s a lot of eggs.

Having fed my family for decades, I consider myself a veteran egg cracker but any scientist will tell you that when you expand the sample you’re bound to run into outliers, mishaps . . . and possibly disasters of biblical proportions. How do we know Noah’s flood wasn’t experiment 5,900,612 +/- in God/human causal relationships? It might also explain why the cord on my lamp only causes cancer in California, which I don’t understand at all. But I digress. I had been given my mission and I headed to Costco where eggs are sold in institutional quantities.

Naturally, cracking 20 dozen eggs takes a little advance planning. Once I had all the flats stacked on my counter, I laid out all my supplies: scissors to cut the plastic wrap, a big green bowl to catch the shells, and gallon-sized Ziplock bags which a little kindergarten math told me should hold 2.5 dozen each to make it all come out slick and even. I also hunted up a stainless steel bowl large enough yet small enough to hold the cracked eggs, yet still fit into the mouth of the Ziplock bags without the infernal side splash that tends to occur when you try to pour from a fixed round bowl into an amorphous, shifting plastic hole that could be a triangle or a square depending on how its feeling. I’ve thought of everything, what could go wrong?

The first five bags went off without a hitch; 12.5 dozen eggs safely delivered from their shells, yokes (mostly) intact and floating in the clear, sticky fluid that cooks white and made me gag as a child. I was totally humming, finished in no time.

Then there was bag six.

Yeah, remember the part about expanding the sample. Still, I cracked on like a champ, everything was perfect, until I began to pour my big/small bowl into the bag and I noticed a couple of small white shell bits that had eluded me. Oops . . . Big Oops

Once when we were kids, one of my sisters made a chocolate cake and I don’t know if she dropped in the entire egg without thinking, or if a giant shell pole vaulted from the counter to the batter, but every bite of that cake crunched like petrified Rice Krispies. I know because in our house the advent of chocolate cake could be very motivating so even forewarned everybody in the house gamely had a go before the whole contraption was finally scraped into the trash. Growing up I had a really hard time with eggs anyway and that nearly put paid to an entire food group. I’ve since resolved my egg issues, but to this day every time I miss a shell, I’m right back to the chocolate cake and totally cringing.

 When I saw those little shells at the bottom of the bowl, threatening to turn someone’s morning scrambled eggs into a chocolate cake experience, I was intent, laser focused, and uhm I lost track of the plastic bag.

Shells banished, I looked up to a flood of eggs pouring over my island and onto the floor. AHHHH!! I grabbed the bag and propped it against the big green bowl for shells, and began madly unrolling paper towels already partially soaking in egg from the counter. Not enough! Not enough! The sticky clear stuff that made me gag as a kid googled and boogled into a Rocky Horror incarnation of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. I needed to start scraping, not soaking. Half panicked I grabbed the big green bowl—the same big green bowl supporting the open bag of cracked eggs.

The flood began anew.

When I finally tamed the monster with all the detritus safely stowed, I realized the 2.5 dozen eggs currently filtering through my tall kitchen trash generating wet garbage goo probably wasn’t going to work for the youth activity at which much food was required. I traipsed downstairs to my son. “Porter, I’m having an egg emergency. Can you go to the store?”

“What’s an ‘egg emergency’?” he asked warily.

“Well, there’s this thing and I was cracking 20 dozen eggs and . . .”

Apparently, my story was sufficiently sad that Porter agreed to trundle off and acquire a least 30 eggs. While he was getting ready, I went upstairs to finish cleaning up and reset all my supplies, this time with a contingency plan should another shell blink its beady eyes. Then I set about cracking the remaining five dozen eggs.

My daughter, Abby, came home for lunch and looked at me in bewilderment. “What are you doing?”

“Well, there’s this thing and I was cracking 20 dozen eggs and . . .”

She took out her phone and began taking photos to send to her friends in Spain, Norway, Israel, various parts of the U.K., and I don’t remember where all else, so now I’m on my way to international fame as the Eccentric Egg Lady, a label which might not demonstrate the full breadth and depth of my personality. As she was taking her photos, Porter emerged ready to go out, chanting “eggs eggs” at various intervals. He paused to observe my handiwork.

“You crack eggs one handed,” he said, amazed.

“I’ve been doing this your entire life,” I said flatly.

“You should do that on YouTube,” he added. “It’s one of the casual flexes they do on cooking shows.”

Clearly, he has not heard that I am already famous as the International Egg Lady.

“Eggs eggs, you’re the person in a story problem, one with lots of eggs,” he said, making to head out but he was distracted and stopped to talk to Abby, practice some of his dance moves for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and sing a song or two. Approximately two weeks later he remembered, “Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be going to the store.”

He’s also the person in a story problem, the one about how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

“At least 30 eggs,” I reminded him, cracking another shell.

After a few more dance moves, Porter did make it to the store and in the end my kitchen was finally cleaned and 20 dozen eggs were duly cracked, double bagged, and delivered to people who can be trusted to cook for events requiring a lot of food.

Well, here we are, my story is all told and I still don’t feel like writing my paper. I have generated a lot of words though . . . do you think maybe I could dress up my eggs with some wiggly bits like “Scaffolded Reading Experience” and “Metacognitive Comprehension Strategies” and just turn it in? I don’t think anyone will read it anyway, besides, international egg people in story problems shouldn’t be trusted with anything important.

5 Comments on “Not Cheaper by the Dozen

  1. Cleaning up eggs is the worst! Great story for years to come – ya know you can buy cracked eggs, beaten in a bag. Ha ha. Now you’ll be the official egg person for all future activities.

  2. I have always had a weird egg relationship too. They sick me out. I will only eat them scrambled, preferably with cheese and they have to be all the way cooked but no brown.

  3. So funny Paula! I don’t remember the crunchy chocolate cake, LOL. I probably would have kept eating it. I don’t a bit of a crunch. 😁

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