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Question about ordering fried eggs ...

What's your definition of the following terms for ordering fried eggs?

Here's my very unscientific definition:

1. Sunny side up = white firm, yolk still liquid
2. Over easy = Sunny side up but "flipped" so yolk doesn't appear "yellow" but is still "runny"
3. Over medium = over easy but cooked until yolk is set, but still runny in the middle
4. Over hard = over medium but cooked until yolk is firm
5. "stepped on" = over hard but yolk is smashed

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  1. Ha, interesting. I didn't know there were terms for anything beyond 'over easy.' I guess I generally have my fried eggs over medium...

    The more you know... (cue rainbow).

    1. Those sound right to me! I've never heard of "stepped on," but I like it. I would have just said "break the yolk."

      3 Replies
      1. re: manraysky

        Ever hear of "dippy eggs"? I have friends from the Philly area who order them that way (with a side of scrapple of course!). I'm a strictly soft-scrambled girl myself, so I'm no expert, but I think it's the same as sunny side up.

        1. re: majorette

          My mom calls over easy eggs "dippy eggs". We're from Delaware.

          1. re: majorette

            I'm a dippy egg girl from PA. Dippy, for me, is a sunny side up egg. You fry it in the pan w/ a lid for maybe 1-2 mins. just until the whites are cooked. It takes no effort to break the yolk to let the beautiful golden yolk ooze everywhere!!!

        2. Sounds good to me. Like manraysky, I've never heard of stepped on. I do like to order my hash browns (not home fries) "burnt" - which means very, very crispy on one side.

          1. hmm I'd always thought over hard meant the yolk was broken...

            1. I tend to agree with your definitions, but recently saw a sign in a restaurant that defined things slightly differently. AFAIR, these folks claimed that an "over well" egg is one that has been fried both sides until the yolk is firm; "over hard" means the yolk has been broken. But then again, the same sign claimed that an "over easy" egg is supposed to have a runny white, so credibility is an issue.

              Anyway, don't forget "basted" eggs - like sunny side up, they aren't flipped, but the top side is lightly cooked by spooning or splashing hot cooking oil over it (or sometimes by adding a little water to make steam and covering with a dome / pot lid / etc.).

              3 Replies
              1. re: alanbarnes

                My mother's standard technique was similar to your definition of "basted", but she just covered the pan the whole time--no added water. The white gets nice and creamy-cooked (partially set) that way, but the yolk is still runny.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I had never seen the basted egg until I visited my husband's family (done by his family by taking the spatula and gently flicking the hot oil onto the top of the egg).. It has become a new favorite of mine, and to me is a very 'pretty' looking egg. It's a nice way to prepare the egg when one is concerned with presentation.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    My mother always referred to that type as Southern Fried...used a tablespoon to collect the bacon crease and spoon over top of the yolks

                  2. I think I recall Moe of the Three Stooges ordering a "sunny side DOWN. And DON'T turn it over".

                    1. What do you call it when, " ... the whites are a webbing of cedar colored plastic, especially around the edges and taste metallic while the yolk is runny, almost cold and snot-like, and the overall taste is of burnt plastic and warm salty spit" ?

                      - From, "The Travels of Mas Akasijuf in America" circa 1970

                      5 Replies
                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          That would be eggs cooked on a blazing-hot grill-top, like the ones my girlfriend and I had at a working-man's greasy spoon at five one morning in Jackson, Tennessee. You paid upfront and got your ticket, then got in line behind one of the stools. When your stool came vacant, you sat down and slapped your ticket on the counter. The cook would glance at it, break eggs onto the grill, slide a piece of toast and whatever meat and potatoes if any onto the plate, and then your eggs - exactly as fast as this is taking me to write it. You were expected to eat it at the same pace; after having escaped a tornado in Oklahoma City and then driving all night, that was not a problem for us.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            Beautiful story. Why were there so many people at 5:00 am? And did it happen in black and white, i.e., how long ago?

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              That would be on or about the 1st of November 1974, in very nice color (Jackson is a pretty town, particularly at dawn). For all I know these were all guys getting ready for work in the railroad yards or wherever. Judy was the only female in the place, and I'm sure we were both the only folks who didn't have to jump up and go to work. We just needed to get to Nashville in time for lunch...

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                1974. Right about the last time I had one of those plastic edged cold in the middle fried eggs, back when Kathie, my first wife, and I mostly cooked but also sought out good independent restaurants in the Pacific NW, A bit before I left the States to live and work elsewhere - always to miss such eating in America adventures (although I've had much more than my share elsewhere).

                        2. You left out "nuke 'em," i.e. fry them until totally cooked. Actually at home, I prefer the whites barely cooked and the yolk very cooked.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: chocolatetartguy

                            Just curious -- how do you accomplish that?

                          2. "With a skirt" - sunny side up, runny yolk, whites firm but with crisp edges.

                            1 Reply
                            1. That's about right - I;ve heard all of those in diner parlance. There are two levels of over hard (just like two levels of hard-cooked eggs) - the first level is where the yolk is firm but still tender and orange, the second is where the yolk is firm and crumbly and yellow. If the first level could be analogized to "medium well", then I'd have a great name for something I am fond of.

                              One thing this list is missing is the delights of the deep fried egg - egg poach-fried in the European way, suspended in hot oil. Drain on paper and season - a delight.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Karl S

                                According to one French cookbook I have, oeufs frites are deep-fried like that; our 'fried eggs' are oeufs dans le poele...or something like that.

                              2. Way off topic - but microwaved eggs. I'm usually in a hurry in the morning, and I found a "clam shell" type microwave egg cooker. Break an egg into each side, poke the yolk so it won't explode, and nuke for 48 seconds (in my tiny little unit). Bingo - two eggs, yolks just a little runny (over medium is the closest), no added fats, no messy cleanup. I have to put the toast in first because it takes longer!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: KevinB

                                  that works in a coffee mug with a napkin on top too. Not the best eggs, but certainly FF and quick

                                2. It can be catch-as-catch-can. I was once in
                                  a coffee shop where I overheard the
                                  manager telling the cook how to fry
                                  an egg. Another time, O ordered eggs over easy
                                  amd they arrived basically heated but
                                  miraculously hardly cooked at all.