Monday 22 July 2019

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Bia Sasta

The wonder of egg cups!

Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019 4:03pm

With Easter just around the corner, I thought I would look a bit into the history of the humble egg cup.

You will find a few in my cupboard – six matching an old dinner set (yes, I am one of those people who likes a whole dinner set) and four that I have been given and look a bit like metal spirals (they wobble a bit when you cut into the egg when using them).

When I looked for the origin of the egg cup, I found that these have been used since pre-historic times, although it wasn’t until medieval times that they were manufactured to add a bit of spark to the breakfast table.

The aristocracy used silver egg cups while the rest of the population had to be happy with wooden ones, trying to keep up with the eggy trend.

Companies like Wedgwood started adding china egg cups to their offerings of tableware and delicate creations included hand-painted designs to match their plates and cups.

A few years ago, I found a lovely set of egg cups on a matching tray with silver spoons – showing that the eating of eggs was as serious as the main meal. Unfortunately, the price was out of my budget so I had to leave it behind.

Flea markets and antique fairs in France are still a great place to find such treasures for affordable prices.

As with everything, egg cups have undergone different fashion periods starting off with delicate silver creations enriched with tiny ornaments to mechanical devices with a lid to keep the egg warm to ones with very clean and bare lines to novelty ones – I remember having being given two egg cups formed like chickens a few years back.

While researching the history of egg cups, I came across a video by none other than the one and only Martha Stewart who talks about the variety of egg cups and showcases different types (just Google ‘Martha Stewart discusses egg cups’) and there are even books on egg cups. Something I take as a small part of a breakfast table is actually important enough for people to write whole books on (check out Brenda C. Blake and her ‘Egg Cups: Illustrated History and Price Guide’).

I personally love soft-boiled eggs with the yolk oozing out when you reach it with the spoon and who doesn’t like eggs and soldiers?

But that raises the question of how to boil the perfect egg. You might remember Delia Smith’s book ‘How to cook an Egg’ and people were wondering if good old Delia lost it, but the success of the book proved that people needed basic cooking instructions.

There are different methods of how to boil an egg – some place the eggs in cold water and bring to the boil and others place the eggs in already boiling water. Each method has its advantages and I remember the first time I made breakfast for my mum.

I must have been about five or six and already an early riser, so I decided to surprise my mum. I placed the egg in a pot of cold water, brought it to the boil and turned off the heat and placed the eggs carefully in plastic eggcups with a slice of bread on the side.

Now, my mum loved me very much but there was no way she would eat a raw egg. But she liked the bread.

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