Startup: How to Crack an Egg

We here at Atomic Toasters recently had a behind the scenes discussion on the merits of using food as a viable tech topic. There were plenty of pros and cons, and it was agreed that we all love food, but in the end nothing was really agreed upon other than the obvious fact that we are easily distracted by it, as evidenced by the recurring use of the word poutine.

Or perhaps we did agree on something, but I was obviously too distracted by the poutine (delicious BTW) and promptly forgot what we were talking about. In any case, our fearless leader Dearth-vad-air has left us mice the keys to Atomic Toasters for the weekend and made us promise not to run amok.

Italian-in sausage!

So just in time for a big fat weekend breakfast, let’s run amok!


Several years ago my better half and I were watching TV together, a rarity as she is hopelessly addicted to reality and cooking contests while I generally prefer playing music radio or LPs while farting around online for entertainment.

On this day however we were watching a PBS cooking show, which I occasionally enjoy as I have always loved to cook. And of course eat (pats growing belly, heck, we plan most of our vacations around restaurants seen on TV).

This particular program featured the former Iron Chef Mario Batali who made an off-the-cuff statement that would change my breakfasts forever.

“Break your eggs on a flat surface and you will never end up with shells in your eggs again.”


I immediately looked up from my game of Angry Birds and asked her to rewind that last part. Sure enough, he said it again.

My brow furrowed and one eyebrow rose. Hmmm…Really? This went against everything I had ever been taught or seen, and seemed too simple a technique to be true. While I considered myself a pretty experienced egg cracker, even I had been digging the occasional crunchy-bit out for as long as I care to remember. And after all, shells in one’s eggs have been one of mankind’s greatest foils since the day we first started stealing from them none-too-bright clucking-birds. EVERYONE knows you break an egg on a sharp object. Right?

But hey, this is Iron Chef Batali! He has never steered me wrong, unlike SOME TV food personalities. And the dude obviously knows what he is doing. So the very next morning I made some of my famous omelets and gave it a try.

(whack!) Huh.

(whack!) (whack!) (whack!) (whack!) (whack!) I’ll be damned. It worked!

I served breakfast and proudly shared the results of my little experiment with my wife, who promptly asked why the omelets were so big.

Note: This is not my omelete

These days thanks to that one bit of “technical” knowledge, I look forward to grabbing eggs when cooking breakfast which has become an even happier part of the day. And since then only once have I had a shell in my eggs, a result getting a little too clumsy and cocky. Gone are the days of using fork tines to chase frustrating tiny white specs around a slippery bowl.

If this isn’t a technical skill that helps advance mankind then I don’t know what is.

There are lots of little secrets out there that can transform how you cook, from using 425 deg as your default oven temp, to making sure the pan is piping–hot (except for bacon, always start with a cold pan) to using water for lighter fluffier omelets and milk to make them stronger and easier to flip.

So let’s hear it; what is YOUR best kitchen technical secret/tip? We want to hear your greatest discoveries and stories. And let us know, should we include more food-tech articles?

If enough people are interested, maybe I’ll share some of my secret omelet tips.

  • Also on the egg thing, if you do end up with a bit of shell in your egg, don't grab a fork or spoon; use the shell itself to scoop that bit and you'll find you don't have to chase it.

    • <runs to kitchen, cracks a bunch of eggs>

      Holy crap! It works!

      • Deartháir

        Another giant omelette!

        • SHENANIGANS!!

          Hee-haa-haa!! Game on BITCHES!!

    • Charles_Barrett

      I was going to mention the eggshell-as-fragment magnet tip myself, but you've beaten (hiyuck-hiyuck) me to it…!

  • acarr260

    Bacon in the oven isn't a secret, is it? I have been slowly converting friends to this method. It gives you nice, flat bacon (still crispy though) that can be used in an omelet, on salads, or (this is where the flat part helps) on sandwiches all weekend (or until I run out of bacon Saturday night – don't judge me and my love of bacon).

    • I also began baking bacon in the oven with spectacularly delicious results. I had two issues however…

      A) you miss out on the whole weird pain/pleasure factor of frying bacon in your underwear, and

      B) the house lacks that heavy bacon infused ion-fog that makes your pets drool for several days.

      I did continue using the oven while making candied bacon however… which is the most delicious treat on earth.

      • P161911

        I cheat and cook bacon in the microwave. I even had a nice little device to drape the slices over.

      • Vairship

        Why would you fry bacon in your underwear? Wouldn't your underwear catch fire?

  • P161911

    I've heard the eggs on a flat surface thing before, and do use that one. One of the reasons that I heard was to decrease risk of salmonella, since you area driving the dirty outside of the egg inward.

    When using dried spices crush them with a mortar and pistil or at least rub them together in your hand to release more flavor.

    I should be able to think of a bunch more after years of watching Good Eats, but I'm drawing a blank right now.

  • acarr260

    "I'm a total egg slut" – Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations)


  • PowerTryp

    Best grater evah! I heart me some microplane.

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  • Charles_Barrett

    1.) Sara Moulton says that you can tell when your pot of vegetable oil on the burner is at temperature when the handle of an inverted wooden spoon, inserted down to the bottom of the oil, emits a bunch of itty-bitty bubbles around its circumference.

    2.) Several FoodTV folks say that to efficiently cut corn kernels off of the cob, stand a small drinking glass upside-down in the center of a larger bowl, hold the ear of corn vertically pressed atop the smaller glass, and cut the kernels off the cob using vertical strokes of a knife; the kernels gather in the bowl until you are finished, when you can then remove the small glass and continue working with the cut kernels.

    3.) "Oregano" means "joy of the mountain" in Greek… as Rachel Ray reminds us EVERY TIME she uses the word oregano…

    4.) Julia Child reminds us to "save the liver…" when butchering a chicken… oh, wait, that was Dan Akroyd on SNL [which NBC won't permit me to embed here…] *sigh*

  • [youtube gvC0iIfTVPA youtube]

  • RichardKopf

    I always reheat pizza in the oven. Because yes, I hate cold pizza. I am probably the only person who does.