The Time an Egg Exploded

Before we begin, I feel I should clarify a few things:

  1. I consider myself a person of average intelligence, with perhaps a small deficit in common sense.
  2. I would argue that my boyfriend (Stef) is of similar intelligence, with a few extra points in his favour on the common sense scale.
  3. I studied Home Economics for three years and nowhere was it mentioned that eggs have the capacity to destroy entire villages with their explosive properties.

OK, let’s go.

It was a standard weekday morning for us. I was slumped on the sofa, coffee in hand, trying to motivate myself to stop watching the BBC news story I’d seen eight times over the past hour and get ready for work; Stef was fannying about in the kitchen attempting to come up with something quick and easy to shove in a Tupperware box for lunch.

He decided he wanted eggs.

Now, he won’t mind me saying this (I’d go so far as to say he’s proud of the fact), but over the past few years Stef has managed to teach himself to cook almost anything in a microwave. Rice, vegetables, cous cous, you name it. And we’re talking fresh foods here, not boil-in-the-bag, solely-intended-for-the-microwave items. So it came as no surprise that he had decided that now, 7:45am on a school day, was the perfect time to turn his attention to the next stage of the nuking experiment – level 7: boiled eggs.

I have to share responsibility for what happened next. He asked for my advice and I gave it. I was a key player in the traumatic events that followed. Our conversation went like this:

Stef: How long do you reckon I should microwave an egg for?
Me: What, boiled? In water?
Stef: Yeah. In a plastic tub.
Me: I don’t know. When we boil them on the hob it’s like… seven minutes? But the water takes about five minutes to start boiling beforehand.
Stef: So twelve minutes?
Me: Yeah. Twelve minutes. *goes back to slurping coffee and watching Carol read the weather again*

So, you see, it was my fault too. I could go further, and say it was the fault of my teachers, every adult who’s ever taught me anything, egg farmers and uninformative labels on cartons. But the truth is, I have easy access to Google and there was no excuse.

I don’t recall much of the twelve minutes between our conversation and ‘the big event’. I think there was a guide dog segment on the news and I shed a few tears, but that’s about it. The next thing I remember, there was a humungous, earth-shattering BANG in the kitchen.

I jumped to my feet (which, trust me, takes a lot at that time in the morning) as Stef emerged from the kitchen, covered head-to-toe in brown chunks, his mouth hanging open. He couldn’t form a sentence, such was his state of shock. ‘What the- the- what the fuck?’

It was around this moment that I noticed two things. Firstly, his glasses were covered in tiny pieces of shell. Secondly, the smell. Sweet baby Jesus, my insides are contracting just remembering it. An intense and sulphurous smack in the face – like burnt hair and farts.

I entered the kitchen. It was everywhere. The ceiling, the walls, the spice rack, even dangling from the blind cord. I retched, and then started laughing harder than I’ve ever laughed in my life.

‘What happened? What happened?’ I just kept shrieking. I honestly couldn’t stop. He was just standing there, palms up, covered in egg.

‘I was peeling it. As soon as I broke the membrane it just… it exploded.’ He was not yet finding this funny.

I was bent double by this point. The gravity of the situation, and the cleaning it was going to require, had not yet hit me. An egg had exploded and it was hilarious. After about five minutes I managed to calm down enough to tend to the minor burns all over Stef’s arms. He was fine, but the kitchen was not.

After we had cleaned up and Stef had taken his traumatised self off to work, I headed to my own office and regaled everyone with the story of the incident (and the video footage of the aftermath). The responses were not what I anticipated.

‘You can’t microwave an egg!’
‘Everyone knows whole eggs explode in the microwave.’
‘How did neither of you know this?’

It was a good question. How did the entire world seem to know the hidden capabilities of such an ordinary and innocent food staple? How had we passed a quarter of a century on this earth without this information coming to light?

Google provided further proof of our ignorance. Apparently, one man had managed to sue a restaurant after he was severely maimed when biting into a microwaved hard-boiled egg. I reflected that if Stef hadn’t been wearing his glasses, he could have been blinded.

Thankfully, there are no serious injuries in my story. We diced with death the day we decided to shun the hob. We played a dangerous game. We were the lucky ones.

I’ll be sticking to scrambled in future.

Published by Mary Hargreaves


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