As a diehard breakfast junkie (Linda not so much but she humors me) we frequent diners and breakfast joints wherever we can find them. Of course we do this because we’re hungry, but also to try and pick up some local color and flavor from wherever we happen to be. We tend to avoid the chains unless we are desperate (or have some good coupons).
So we both like eggs and a common way we order fried eggs is “Over” or cooked on both sides. Now you would think this should be a pretty straightforward and more or less universal cooking method, at least within the lower 48, right? Well not necessarily! We have found some distinct regional variations and have now learned to be more specific with our egg ordering to avoid any surprises.
In RI where I grew up and in nearby MA, we always ordered our eggs “Over Easy” – they pretty consistently came out with the whites fully cooked and the yolk mostly liquid, maybe sometimes the yolk even a bit too well done. As a youngster our family always called these “dunkin’ eggs”, because we would dunk our toast in the yolk.
Well, as we travel around we have found, particularly in the southern states, where ordering an egg “Over Easy” will pretty consistently get you a marginally cooked egg with runny whites! Yuk! Even traveling thru New York State, Pennsylvania and Ohio recently we found the definition of “Over Easy” varied from town to town and diner to diner. Who knew!
Wikipedia defines “Over Easy” as cooked whites and a liquid yolk (just the way we like ’em). I was not able to find any written description of “Over Easy” that specified less thoroughly cooked whites, but I can tell you for sure that many places we have been consider “Over Easy” to be just that!
So now no matter where we go, we usually ask or just say we want our fried eggs “over with cooked whites and a liquid yolk”. Normally the local definition of this will end up to be either “Over Easy” or “Over Medium” but sometimes it might be called “Over Light” – which I always thought was synonymous with “Over Easy”, but maybe not? Similarly, if you like your eggs “Over Well” or “Over Hard” you might also want to consider being more specific when ordering at an unfamiliar location.
So that’s the egg ordering lesson for today, next time we explore poached eggs and what to say if the restaurant asks you how you want them cooked (huh?)…