Thursday, 18 August 2011
I know that this blog has readers of great wisdom and wordly experience, and I am hoping that someone can come up with an answer to something that has been puzzling me since I came back from France.
In the traditional kitchen of the house were were 'sitting' was what I would call an egg-timer. In fact, it would be more accurate to call it a sand-glass, as eggs are clearly not what it was built to time. Unless your eggs were dinosaur eggs, that is. I didn't get a picture, but this one is identical:
It was a beautiful object and we couldn't resist turning it over and over as we sat in the kitchen. At some point, one of the kids asked "what is it for?" and we said "it's an egg-timer, you idiot". Then we started wondering what sort of eggs.
We timed it several times, and the time it took for all the sand to fall through was 14 minutes and 20 seconds, plus or minus 10 seconds on repeated tests. No egg that I am aware of takes that long to cook, unless you like your eggs boiled to the consistency of pebbles. Duck eggs? Peacock eggs? Penguin eggs? Not a clue.
It may not be eggs at all, of course. There are a lot of vegetables that would be cooked al dente in that sort of time. But as for specifics, none of us had the faintest idea.
Anyone? Bear in mind it was in France (Normandy, to be precise), in the kitchen of a woman who was a keen and accomplished cuisinière, and it was quite old - at least 20-30 years and possibly much older. It was made of turned wood, as in the image, and the finish (if it ever had one) was gone, leaving a faded bare wooden surface. The glass was of poor quality, with a slight yellow tinge, and the whole item was clearly a utilitarian device rather than an objet d'art.
Over to you.