The Egg and The IPod
THE EGG AND THE IPOD
by Allegreta Behar Blau
In 1947 Betty McDonald wrote a book entitled “The Egg and I” which was made into a movie starring Claudette Colbert. It was about city folk moving to a farm, wanting to experience a quieter more natural way of being. Little did they know what they were in for. This is the 2013 version, “The Egg and the Ipod”
In anticipation of the birth of my baby brother, my parents, grandmother and I moved out of our very small apartment into a very small house. The house was old, pre-war, but our kitchen was relatively large and homey. The big grey Formica table that sat against one wall was not just for eating — my father did his paperwork and paid the bills there; I sat with my mother and grandmother while they had their coffee and gossiped. When I was older, after clearing the table of dinner dishes and washing them by hand, I would sit at the table and do my homework. It was a place for all things.
My mother had the kitchen painted a sunny yellow (anything but white was unheard of those days) but no one who knew her was surprised at this most unconventional color. She was a bit of an “artiste.” The chairs, as comfortable as the living room couch, had soft cushiony backs. Everything in the kitchen was old — the refrigerator moaned and groaned regularly and the small freezer compartment could barely hold one steak. The ice cube tray generally revealed more water than ice, even after being “frozen” for several hours. The stove was gas lit and there were several match books on hand. The oven had a mind of its own — setting the dial at a desired temperature was like playing Russian roulette; one could only pray that the food would be properly cooked. The sink was lead and very deep; its porcelain veneer scratched to the point that the white had all but disappeared, giving in to the grey beneath the surface.
An old fashioned coffee pot sat on the stove all day. It percolated hot water which then gave way to a smooth brown tint that told us the coffee was ready to be poured into small porcelain cups that sat on small porcelain saucers. No one heard of mugs. We had a plain two-slices-of-bread toaster. If not closely watched, the toaster would burn the bread. No one heard of toaster ovens either.
I spent a lot of time in the bright and cheerful kitchen, mostly talking with my grandmother who held court as the Grand Dame of the household, sitting at the head of the table. She was the major meal preparer of the family — my mother was a disinterested cook — so most of the day my grandmother, who I called Nona which is the European way, would be found in the kitchen cooking ethnic dishes, using a lot of spinach and feta cheese. And eggs.
Nona taught me how to cook eggs. Eggs were a staple in our household; the refrigerator always held at least two dozen. Nona used eggs in almost everything she made, and when there were no prepared dishes, we would have eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I quickly learned after practically throwing up at the sight of soft or hard cooked eggs, that my favorite, and only way at that time was to eat them was soft scrambled. I didn’t discover the wonders of eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, or, fabulous overstuffed omelets until I left home and was on my own. Scrambled eggs, topped with pepper, never salt and served with (gasp!) white toast heavily laden with butter and jam and a cup of coffee with plain milk, no sugar was, and some days still is, my ideal meal. Only now I eat gluten free bread.
My Nona’s recipe for delicious eggs: First, heat a small skillet on a high flame. Then, pour in a small amount, about two tablespoons, of vegetable oil and watch for the pan to start sizzling. Next pour in a mixture of two eggs beaten with one tablespoon of water, never milk. Cook on a very high flame, stirring and fluffing up the eggs. When still slightly watery quickly remove from the pan, pepper to taste, and then serve. The trick is to cook the eggs quickly.
Eggs tasted good, were healthy (no one knew about cholesterol then) low in calories, high in protein and satisfied all my hunger pangs. It is no surprise that as I got older and ate out on a regular basis, I would order eggs. Eating this delicious and inexpensive meal would bring back memories of a simpler time — a time of sharing thoughts and ideas with the family, of my grandmother’s sagacity and open, unconditional love.
The Ipod! What a fabulous invention. Any kind of music you want when you want it. Earbuds — a way to close out a noisy world. A way to relax, close the eyes and melt into the surrounding sound. Of course I have no idea how it works. All that sound in a tiny receptacle that go through tiny wires into my ears — a miracle.
Ah BUT. All this technology we have; I don’t get it. Huffing and puffing just to keep up. And the terminology. The computers. The Internet. The Ipod that followed and the Iphone 5. How to text, how to twitter. Facebook. Youtube. And when did the three letters APP become a word? Streaming. Download. Upload. What comes next? What else do I have to learn? And the mother, and most fabulous, of all new words and worlds: Google.
The computer gets a virus. Do you tell it to take two aspirins and call you in the morning? It breaks down. Get a new one. No use fixing the one you have, it is obsolete. But I just purchased it about a year ago. Get a new one with all the bells and whistles. Buy an Apple, they never break down.
My cell phone is not a Smart phone, it is a stupid phone; it can’t take pictures. How can I hold my head up in public? So I get a new cell phone that comes with instructions. The problem is you have to download the instructions on to the computer. There’s so much I can do with the phone — play games, text (that’ll be the day) access this and that and of course, take pictures. And oh yes. Make phone calls.
Can the egg and the Ipod ever meet and coexist in blissful harmony? I’m working on getting them together but right now you’ll have to excuse me. I am about to eat the eggs I cooked on my electric stove top, and turn on my plasma TV which I programmed earlier to stream my favorite show. Ah technology. You gotta love it. Along with eggs.
I am a die hard New Yorker even though I have lived and am currently living, at least half of my life in Los Angeles. I grew up on Long Island and wrote a short story I will share with you entitled “Girls from Long Island Don’t Ski,” in this, my first blog. I moved to Manhattan when I was 23 years old and lived there for eight years — writing many stories about the single girl, NYC experience, such as “How to Live and Love in a One Room Apartment” — before moving to San Francisco for four years, eventually landing in the land of sunshine, Los Angeles. I married late — and inherited three stepchildren. Check out Allegreta at www.Allegreta.com