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Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This may be how Pepys nay have eaten his eggs:

'“TRULY THOU ART DAMNED: LIKE an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.”

'William Shakespeare’s fool Touchstone lets this zinger fly in "As You Like It", and the food historian senses a challenge. The art of egg-roasting may be as bygone as an eglantine or a bodkin, but what can be learned of the history and fate of the technique?
'Furthermore, in defining an ill-roasted egg, Touchstone not only proposes a history question, but presents a cooking challenge — to well-roast an egg, evenly, and to taste.

'Roasting eggs in the dying remains of a fire is probably one of our earliest human — or even hominin — cooking projects. Many millennia before the domestication of poultry, there were springtime nests of woodpeckers, gulls, and rheas for our forebears to rob. And even before we were exerting reasonable control over fire for cooking purposes — that might be 1.900,000 years ago according to a current theory — geothermal heat and wildfire aftermath gave the earliest cooks a chance to experiment.

'In his account of serving as an English officer in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, Thomas Boys writes of being rescued from hunger by a Spanish muleteer. The stranger took an egg, “cracked it at one end, and stuck it upright in the hot embers.” Boys’ verdict? “I beg to state that a roast egg — so roasted, i.e., done slowly in the embers — not only is altogether a different sort of thing from a boiled egg, but beats it to sticks: especially if washed down ... with a cup or two of Spanish wine out of a leathern bag.”

Boys’ muleteer was not alone doling out roasted eggs to hungry travelers ...
Boston minister George Foxcroft Haskins climbed Mount Vesuvius on his Grand Tour in 1850, to discover near the summit “a party of gentlemen in a fissure between two banks of sulphur, roasting eggs in the ashes of the mountain.” After this group of Americans invited Haskins to join them, they “drank together some mountain wine and ate eggs roasted in the cinders” of the active volcano.

'The phenomenon was common enough in America that an educator used egg-roasting to illustrate an abstract concept of physics in his 1837 volume of popular science. ... he made the idea of expansion accessible with this example: “When children roast eggs they crack the shell slightly before they are put into the fire to keep them from exploding, or bursting as they usually call it. The egg bursts because the liquid in the shell expands with the heat. If there is a little crack in the shell the steam will find vent and do no injury, but if the vapor is confined, the shell explodes with a loud noise and the egg is scattered through the ashes.”'

Highlights from

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

And of course Pepys may have eaten them in traditional ways known to us: boiling, scrambling, diced when cold, etc., are not exactly advanced techniques or difficult to perform, even for Jane Booth.
And the Pepys did keep pigeons (what's the difference between a pigeon and a dove?) -- whatever -- in the garden of Axe Yard.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.