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"Two eggs cooked any style"

You see that alot on breakfast menus.

It's become so ubiquitous that it sort of rolls off the tongue like "peanut butter and jelly"

But what is reasonable to expect, as a diner, when you see the words "two eggs cooked any style"?

Scrambled, fried, over easy and the like are par for the course, no-brainers.

But what about poached? When you order eggs at a restaurant is it reasonable for the kitchen to prepare your eggs soft-poached, esp. if the place does not offer an eggs Benedict type choice?

And what about basted eggs? Menu says "any style" and sure enough, last I checked, basting is one style of egg prep.

Or how about soft-boiled? Runny center, soft jiggly whites? Menu says "any style" right?

Curious as to the thoughts of the enlightened and hungry ...

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  1. I never thought "any style" included poached or even soft-boiled. Maybe i should check it out at my local Waffle House.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grampart

      They will. We were touring in the south, (no waffle house here). and our English drummer ordered poached eggs every day. Once he had to explain what a poached egg was - but they did it.

    2. I don't think the menu has to even say, when the server asks you "how do you want them cooked?", then I'll get down to the nitty gritty. If I want poached I'll specify poached easy. I'm sure there are different ways people describe how they want their egg cooked to a specific doneness. Maybe a regional thing or people don't know what a basted egg is.
      The only type of place you aren't going to get it your way is like a Burger King.

      28 Replies
      1. re: monku

        I think "Basted" is somewhat regional. I have asked for this in some areas and got a blank stare in return. Maybe the waitstaff thought I had a Boston accent and was being rude!!??

        1. re: ospreycove

          I'll remember that if I order basted eggs in Boston.

          1. re: ospreycove

            What is "basted" anyways? I'm from Jersey. Never heard of it.

            1. re: Heatherb

              I assume it's eggs that are fried in the pan where you just cooked your bacon and the bacon fat is then used to baste the eggs. My mom would just tip the pan a bit and use the spatula to splash a bit across the top. You can also ladle it from a spoon.
              It is THE best way to eat a fried/SSU egg.

              If it's not that, I'd be interested to know.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                Thats it. Could use butter instead, btw.

                1. re: Davwud

                  except where I live that is the only way to fry an egg...lol

                  1. re: LaLa

                    Unfortunately dietary restrictions mean I can't eat bacon much anymore or it would be about the only way I'd fry them.
                    Once in a while is a nice treat. Perhaps some bacon and eggs for Christmas morn.

                    DT

                2. re: Heatherb

                  Basted used to mean splashing fat over the top of the egg to cook the white. Now it also means just cooking the top of the egg without going over-easy. The easiest way to cook eggs basted is to simply put a cover on the pan and the steam cooks the top of the egg. I recently have been adding maybe a teaspoon of water just before putting the lid on to create more steam.

                  1. re: John E.

                    that's a "dippy egg" in my house...

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        I had that thought also. I do something similar where I crack the eggs in a tomato sauce, cover and simmer. I think of those eggs as poached.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          coliver that's eggs in purgatory and served with thickly sliced really good toasted Italian bread it's a real treat!

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Isn't it also common (or is it just me?) to make a bowl of Ramen noodles [yes, yes, I know it's not very Chowhoundish] augmented with various veggies of all kinds as desired, maybe a sausage or two or some leftover meat slices of whatever kind [including roast duck :-)], and a couple eggs (minus shell, of course) poached in it, all added in stages together in the same pot, then all transferred to a single bowl and eaten as a "soupy noodle dish with fixin's?

                          2. re: cowboyardee

                            Putting a cover over the eggs is how basted eggs are cooked in my neck of the woods. I never order eggs over easy because too often the yolks get hard. The result might be similar to poached only in that the yolk is soft and the white is fully cooked (but fat is used) but it wouldn't be similar to cooking eggs in any sort of sauce.

                            Basting is putting hot fat on top of the egg to cook the white. This method uses steam to cook the white, the result is the same.

                            1. re: John E.

                              "This method uses steam to cook the white, the result is the same."
                              ____

                              The differences:
                              A) No flavoring from fat (preferably browning butter or bacon grease)
                              B) Steaming the egg steams the tops of the yolks as well. Makes em look a little less pretty, and can harden them up when steamed for too long.

                              I'm familiar with cooking eggs on a flat top under a bowl. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. But if a menu advertised basted eggs and I got one cooked under a bowl, I'd be let down. Cuz they weren't basted.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                Well, that's the way it is I guess. My suggestion would be to order something else.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  I would. But... this restaurant was hypothetical and all. Where I am, I pretty much never see basted eggs as a listed menu option, and the bowl + flattop method is most often employed when someone just orders sunny side up. Granted, I only frequent so many breakfast diners.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    I don't really recall the various egg preparations being listed in menus. Even though I eat breakfast in restaurants on occasion, I just order them that way because that's the way my mother prepared them and that's the way I prefer them. (Can't stand sunny side up or as my brother says, snotty side up. The whites are usually undercooked).

                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                  I was on the road the other day and stopped in a "Bob Evans" chain restaurant. I ordered 2 poached eggs with a breakfast that included too many things to list; when the order came I noticed the eggs looked overeasy or at best basted. The very courteous waitress replied to my questioning the order, "oh that is the way we do poached eggs, we put the eggs on the grill and add a little water before covering them' Ta Da....Bob Evans "poached eggs"

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      Wow.

                                      This steaming under a bowl on a flat top thing really needs a term of its own. I sorta like 'poached a la Bob Evans,' though no one else will get it.

                              2. re: John E.

                                pretty sure i live in the same "neck of the woods." basted means basted with fat, although here in the dairyland the eggs are usually basted with clarified butter rather than bacon grease. ordering your eggs basted is also a really good way to piss off the hungover brunch cook during the height of a busy rush. maybe that's why people are getting the steamed, or "bob evans" version? i've never seen that before.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  Not having worked in a restaurant kitchen, I don't know exactly how they prepare them. I know that my mother covered them to get the whites cooked and the result is the samexas basted.

                                  I have never even seen a Bob Evans Restaurant let alone eat at one.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    i've seen bob evans establishments "down south (insert ironic winking emoticon)," also never been. from what i understand it's perkins/denny's/ihop caliber crappy chain sysco breakfast-diner crapola. someone will correct me if bob evans is actually a sublime gastronomic experience.

                                    at any rate i think a steam-cooked egg is a very different thing than a basted egg, so i'm agreeing with the others on the semantics. if i were to order basted eggs and i got steam cooked eggs i wouldn't be too happy. but. . . i also would not order basted eggs in a $3.99 earlybird combo breakfast type joint. at the nicer places where i *would* possibly order basted eggs, i would expect the cook to be able to rustle up an actual pan (not a flat top) and some clarified butter and do the thing properly. a steam-cooked egg just doesn't taste the same, imo.

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      I've never gone back into the kitchen to see exactly what technique is used to cook my eggs. I 'm not really that picky, I only have two reqirements for my fried eggs: that the yolks are runny and and the whites are not.

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        I used to eat pretty regularly at Bob Evans when I lived in Cincinnati 30-odd years ago. Hardly a sublime experience; more of a guilty pleasure type of thing. The kind of thing that you miss when you move away to an area without them (say, Milwaukee, for random example) because you cant find a place that has biscuits & gravy that taste like Bob's.

                          3. Depends on the place, I guess. I like my eggs poached and I don't have a problem at a diner. But once at a local pancake house I ordered them poached they stared at me and said they only served them fried/scrambled/over easy. In retrospect, they probably didn't have hard boiled eggs either. They definitely didn't have eggs benedict.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: funniduck

                              At one place in New Orleans, I asked for over easy and was told that they only do scrambled, which was strange, since they had a full kitchen in view and were actually cooking the eggs.

                              1. re: michelley

                                But did you see them BREAKING the eggs? As noted below, I assume that any place that offers scrambled or omelets only is using eggs from a carton. Now, if they were using fresh eggs, I'd say your experience was bizarre.

                            2. There are upsides to preferring most of my eggs cooked sunny-side-up, and sidestepping this issue is one of them.

                              That said, I doubt that 'any style' actually means ANY style at most places you see this phrase on the menu. For starters, I wouldn't even expect the cook/waiter at a lot your typical breakfast dives to even know what a basted egg is.

                              I suspect that maybe 50% of these places would play along if you ordered eggs off the beaten path of preparations and try to give you what you want, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea from either your point of view or the kitchen's. Imagine you're sitting in Moe's Greasy Waffle Joint, having just ordered a rectangle of pre-frozen hashbrown and two pale rubbery sausage links. How long do you want to wait for a poached egg that's falling apart and over-set?

                              The 'perfect egg' cooked in a precise, temperature-controlled water bath is a style of preparation. And I doubt you'll find a breakfast dive with the equipment or training to cook an egg that way even if they wanted to.

                              It's a cruel, indifferent world for the dedicated literalist.

                              1. This is almost a trolling question on this hot and somnolent summer afternoon, Mr. Ips. Are you sure you're not a reincarn of the classic schoolmaster Peter O'Toole?

                                But since I'm getting ready to do some soft boiled ones, I will respond.

                                Scrambled or fried no expectations thus no room for disappointment.

                                Poached: only at home, or in business situations where the company and caterer feels it necessary to produce a faux benedict. Consume silently with that corporate grin.

                                Good eggs are best reserved for home. The nuance and the dance of the congealing ovum are best reserved for where you have communication with the eater. "How many seconds on that steam basting, or that oil basting?" They rarely (never) send them back, though often asks for repeats.

                                Soft boiled and poached are for home fabrication, unless you have a close relationship with the cook.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                  Is this a long way of saying a restaurant can do any kind of fried egg but if you want something that takes some meticulousness, do it at home?

                                  1. re: toomuchfat

                                    Taking into account the phrase "nuance and the dance of the congealing ovum," I suggest that FoodFuser's view is not just long but a breath of rhetorical fresh air!