Word to the wise: if you want to make an omelet, make sure that the hand-me-down cookware is actually still usable.
Of course, perhaps the only way to know if something is usable is to try using it. At least once.
My kitchen has an oven, complete with a four-range stovetop. So far I’ve only used it to boil water for tea, but that’s not nearly adventurous enough for me. No, sir.
Over vacation, I made my first omelet. I’d never tried before, although the theory was clear: an egg or two, a tablespoon of milk or half and half, combined and beaten with a fork and poured into non-stick pan with desired fillings. Create egg-pancake. Wait until the underside is cooked. Somehow flip it over. Cook other side. Eat.
With this in my head, I proceeded to grab the appropriate materials and create an omelet in the kitchen of my grandmother’s mountain cabin. The first try was a trifle messy, but good. The second was a picture-perfect, golden-yellow half-circle, a bit like the sun when it rises over the mountains. Tasted pretty good, too.
I thought about trying it again, only this time on the electric stove in my apartment. If you’re going to christen an oven, you might as well do it at breakfast.
I grabbed a pan. This pan was in my grandmother’s (the other grandmother—mother’s, not father’s side) kitchen for an undetermined length of time. I’m not sure how often it was used, but by the look of it I’d say that it received a fair amount of use in its heyday. A little dingy, but still a pan, and still omelet sized.
I got out a measuring cup and two eggs and proceeded with the whisking process while allowing a half cup of spinach to cook down in the aforementioned pan. I noticed that the spinach got a little browner than I was expecting quite a bit quicker than I was expecting.
(I will pause here to remind you that the only time I’ve ever made on omelet was on a gas stove in the mountains at an elevated altitude.)
Unperturbed (I am the kind to eat burnt popcorn, after all), I added the egg mixture, allowing it to pancake itself. I reached for a spatula. The only plastic one I own (I’m kitchen-savvy enough to know that metal spatulas on non-stick surfaces is a no-no) was too big to slip past the rim and under the omelet. I tried to flip the egg-pancake a la Julia Child, but I’m not her, nor will I ever be, and I’ve made peace with that. What I got was a wider egg-pancake that was quickly surrounding itself in a cloud of odd-smelling steam. We’ll call it steam.
I finally wedged the corner of the spatula under the omelet and flip part of it over. The underside was a lovely shade of charcoal. I got the rest of it flipped over, but the inside of my now egg-taco was still a bit runny and undone. I felt as if I had no choice but to press the charred hide of my omelet even closer to the floor of the pan in the hopes that it would squish its runny guts closer to the heat source.
Eventually I gave up and plopped the very black and firm Eggenstein onto my plate. Next to the burnt toast with peanut butter and sliced peaches. The toast burnt because I thought surely whole wheat will hold up to the same amount of heat as ciabatta, which I’d been toasting all this week. Apparently not.
Once I chewed past the burnt bits, the omelet was just fine. Ugly, but fine. I’m trying not to think about the amount of carcinogens I consumed. The highly suspect pan is being held for questioning. From now on the larger, newer non-stick pan will be doing the omleting in this household. The other might be good for sautéing vegetables. I’ll have to call in an expert to look at it, and by expert I mean my mother.