Do you remember what life was like back when you first met your sweetheart? Ahhh, lusty bliss and well before the days when one wouldn’t die of embarrassment if a little backside wind escaped. For us it’s been twenty years and honestly, it’s always the dog who does it.
Life was simple, breakfast was eaten in bed and work was that stuff other people did but we were too busy having fun to think about that. I’d never heard of ‘toast soldiers’ until I met John.
During his first visit with me in the states, during our travels we were in one of those apartment hotels and he announced he was making soft boiled eggs for breakfast and did I want any and ‘oh by the way, toast soldiers too’.
I don’t often have soft boiled eggs for breakfast because if I’m not paying attention and undercook them, then I’ve got all the white runny stuff that really turns me off. I also don’t like hard boiled eggs for breakfast – maybe I’m just hard to please.
“He can cook too?” I thought. (Yes, he will cook soft boiled eggs, toast soldiers, seafood pasta and umm… that’s about it. He CAN cook but he hasn’t done much of it since I moved in.)
I said yes to breakfast and not to sound stupid, I didn’t mention that I had no clue what a toast soldier was so I kept a pretty close eye on him. The ‘duh’ moment hit when he buttered ordinary toast and cut it into strips to dunk in the creamy egg yolk. Little. soldiers.
Breakfast was perfectly cooked and I’ve been a fan of soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers ever since. One thing on that trip has caused us a few arguments. I ate like an American. No, seriously, I did. Everyone did.
We pick up the fork in our left hand and our knife in our right hand and we cut the portion to be eaten and then we put the knife down, swap the fork to the right hand and eat the bite. right?
One day he asked if everyone in my family ate that way.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
He went on to tell me that he thought I ate funny and I said, “everyone eats this way.”
“No, they don’t, Maureen, I’ve seen heaps of American movies and they all eat the proper way.”
The PROPER way??
OMG he was insulting me and telling me I had no class and I was really peeved. I told him that was just nuts. I didn’t know anyone but foreigners who ate with the fork always in the left hand.
That night we went to a poncy restaurant and I was determined to point out how Americans ate. He, on the other hand, was just as determined to show me that I didn’t know how to eat. We furtively looked around the room, trying not to stare and it wasn’t long before a sly smile came across my face. EVERYWHERE people were swapping forks back and forth and in the poncy restaurant too.
“But… in the movies they eat properly,” he said.
“You are such a snob thinking your way is the proper way and remind me why I thought I liked you in the first place?” He laughed, apologized and life went on but I never forgot.
If you’re wondering how I eat now — when in Rome…
- 2 large eggs
- 2 slices of bread (any sort)
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to medium heat.
- Simmer for 4 minutes for a set white or 3 minutes if you don't mind the white being gooey. (five minutes will give you a perfect set egg but it won't be runny)
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Both Mrs K R and I totally remember the first time we saw each other. We’re not sure about the exact day, but it was probably the third week in February (years and years ago), so we always say Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of our first meeting. It took a good half decade before we became an item, though. We each totally knew the other was the “one” — but we were way too young and had worlds to conquer first, and and had the good sense to know that. I haven’t been that mature since! Anyway, I use my knife and fork both ways. More often John’s way, but certainly not always. Maybe I should be in pictures? 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day.
LOL but you did know that most Americans eat that way. 🙂 Yes, you should definitely be in the movies. You have all the experience you need.
Serena |Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch says
It’s funny how well you can remember the early days of your relationship even after years! I love these little toast soldiers! I’ve never heard of it referred as that but my kids would love the name! I’m pretty sure my eating skills wouldn’t pass his test…lol.. My husband complains because I eat a little to fast most days! Picky..picky.. Happy Valentines Day Maureen!
Marie | FeelingFoodish says
Funny, Maureen – I’d never thought about the fork in left hand thing? The soft boiled eggs look good! I haven’t had them in a long time.
Sarah & Arkadi says
this is so simple and fun!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Love the fork story – and your introduction to toast soldiers! I don’t much like soft or hard boiled eggs but as a child, the soft variety won me over if served like this. We used to have toast soldiers underneat hour baked beans on toast too!
Beans on toast was new to me too. 🙂
ehehe…good story there. Yummy eggs and gorgeous photography! 🙂 ela
Egg and toast soldiers are one of those simple, yet totally amazing foods!
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
We had a neighbor from England how used to make my daughter eggies and soldiers when she was at a sleep over at her house. I had to ask my friend what what soldiers were. 🙂
I knew I wouldn’t be the only one who hadn’t heard that term 🙂
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says
Great photos. And now I’m wondering how I eat?
Maybe you do both? I definitely ate ‘like an American’ before I moved down under. 🙂
Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books says
Such a cute story!! =)
Ansh Dhar says
LOL Maureen. I was at a business lunch with my first American client, more than a decade ago. I had brushed up on my fine dining skills and was ready to show off my ‘propah’ eating skills. ( I am Indian and most things propah are British for us ) And then I saw him switch the fork!
It took a lot of skill to not show how amused I felt.
And then when I moved here, it really didn’t take long for me to learn the right way to eat. It sure is the American way :)) (when in Rome.. )
It was easier for me to learn to eat like the Australians than explain why I ate like an American 🙂
Ansh Dhar says
Since the post made me chuckle so much, i forgot to tell you how beautifully done the eggs are. My daughter is gonna be thrilled with the idea of toast soldiers 😀 thanks
This looks like the perfect breakfast! I love poached or soft boiled eggs…for some reason they seem so much more special. They definitely require some toast for dipping, and those soldiers look just great!
I love perfectly soft boiled eggs and toast to dip into them. As to where the knife and fork go, I cut with the knife in my right hand (cause I’m right handed) and holding the fork in my left hand to anchor down the food. Then I switch and eat with my right hand. By the way, what’s with holding the fork with the curved part at the top and the tines pointing down? That seems so strange.
I was raised in Yugoslavia and moved to Canada when I was seven and I have no idea how I learned but that’s what I do. It also helps that I’m a great reader while I eat and used to hold my paperback in my left hand , turning with my thumb, while eating with the fork in my hand. I precut my food to make the process more efficient. 🙂
I cracked up at GG’s comment that when she was in school and tried to eat with her left hand she was told not to eat like an American. LOL
I still remember, and can see it as if I was experiencing it right now. .. …. breakfast when I was wee little……..even before I went to school. My mother often made soft boiled eggs with soldiers……….Except, my mother kicked them up a notch. She ran a slice of fresh garlic over the butter on the toast. I guess it was the Hungarian in her. They say that aroma or smells are the biggest and best trigger of memories. It is still the way I make garlic bread and soldiers with a soft boiled eggs today. Makes the house smell wonderful too!
garlic? I must try this!
Glamorous Glutton says
I remember the first time I went to the States being fascinated by the swapping of the knife and fork. I also remember as a small child I used to eat often with just my fork. I got into loads of trouble at school in the dinner hall. Don’t eat like an American. I was told, I never really understood why not? My view, it’s about the food not the knife and fork! Lurv eggs and soldiers, a regular here for breakfast. GG
LOL I remember going to London in my earlier years and thinking, “how do they eat with their forks upside down like that?”
I love soft boiled eggs, usually make them 2-3 times a week! They look delicious, the toast looks great too!!
How cute, the name toast soldiers. What a great story Maureen.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Maureen, what a fun post! I’ve never really stopped to think about whether I eat ‘the proper way’ or not. Actually, sometimes I think I just eat like a darned pig! Fun recipe too, I haven’t had this for a long, long time. Might start on Monday!
LOL Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday!
Eva Taylor says
Because I am a first generation Canadian, we were taught to eat the European way, fork in the left hand and knife in the right; it always struck us a weird when people stopped to switch sides. I don’t think people teach their kids table etiquette anymore. I have a friend who cuts up her food all at once and then puts the knife down and doesn’t pick it up for the rest of the meal!
I love soft boiled eggs and the toast soldiers sound like a perfect way to soak up the glorious, drippy yolk.
There IS a difference between the way some people eat at home and out in company. : )I break off pieces of bread and butter them as I eat when I’m out at a restaurant. At home, I butter the whole slice of bread and sometimes start eating before putting down the butter knife.
I forgot to buy brussel sprouts when I was grocery shopping today cause I was going to serve them with my duck. Bad drivers on the road and the parking lot put me off but I’ll keep your recipe in mind for the future.
Hotly Spiced says
I didn’t know Charlie had such a problem with backside wind! I love toast with soldiers – it’s a great way to start the day. It sounds like John’s cooking credentials are the same as Carl’s – if they put out a cookbook it would be very thin xx
Charlie is willing to take the blame for all farts, Charlie. 🙂
My imaginary boyfriend and I remember everything about the first few times we met.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Too funny! I’m not much of an egg eater but your toast soldiers look so golden and irresistible that I might be tempted to try!
My Dad asked my American sister in law if she was going to teach the baby to hold his knife and fork the proper way or her way. She gave him the death stare…..
Your sister-in-law and I have a lot in common. The yank bashing that goes on in this house is appalling. 🙂
Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine says
You’re so funny Maureen. I love this story, it’s crazy how we think our way is the right way. I’m really glad you over came the fork problem, you seem to make such a good pair!
The problem was that HE assumed I’d never been taught table manners. 🙂
I had to think for a second, but now I’m certain I eat the proper way 🙂 Bill’s list of recipes is even more limited than John’s! Mostly breakfast food…and I think he’d like soldiers with his eggs, too.
As long as you eat with your fork in your left hand with the bottom of the fork facing up, the Aussies will love you. Swap hands and you’re outta luck.
InTolerant Chef says
We grew up with toast soldiers and it was usually dads job to make them. I always they were named after him because he was an army soldier himself!
I think our Aussie way of eating is much more sensible- you can eat quicker and the food won’t get cold 🙂
I don’t deny that at all. It was his arrogant way of telling me I didn’t eat properly that pissed me off then and does every time I think of it. 🙂
We both love soft-boiled eggs but I haven’t made them in a while. Your good looking eggs have inspired me to make this for breakfast in the morning. Thanks!
My grandmother would swat my hand if I ever tried to NOT swap my fork. One of the joys of my frequent travel abroad is that I can dispense with it guilt free. I swing both ways, I suppose.
Who knew?? 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I love the stories about you and John Maureen! I pictured myself at the restaurant right with you both 😀 You two are so funny!
Such a funny story Maureen! I immediately picked up my pen and another pen and started thinking how I hold my fork! Lol… (didn’t have a fork nearby obviously) I do sometimes do the swapping thing too, it kind of depends where I am. And like you I love soft boiled eggs, but if the white is runny that is just too gross.. 😉 These look delicious!
You’d fit right in with the Americans then 🙂
a very good, tasty and healthy breakfast, i like that 😉
OMG, this is so funny!! You know, I never realized that Americans do swap their forks, hahaha!! Most with their forks in right, and so I never really gave it a thought. But now that you say, I have never really seen many eat with fork in their left with a knife in their right…..lol! You are a riot!
I adore soft eggs, and the toast soldiers look endearing. I think my boys will love this.
Bam's Kitchen says
This is a new one on me too. I make birdie in the nests all the time but this is the first time I have heard of toast soldiers. Too cute and a great idea!
Your first question is like a big memory whirlwind because I met so many beautiful sweethearts in my life.
Back in the day when I was like 10 years old, I remember watching American TV programs at home and they ALL ate the way you do! I thought, “that is so freaking cool!!” I deliberately wanted to eat with a fork in the right hand even though it was difficult with some Asian dishes while everyone else ate with chopsticks or fork and spoon.
I grew up with soft boiled eggs for brekky and in Asia, we would eat it with a few drops of light soy sauce and white pepper. This is one brekky that needed a spoon and you cannot eat it like an American.
LOL I think it is terrific that you thought how we ate was cool. 🙂
Awww… this reminds me of my childhood. I cannot cook a soft boiled egg correctly like my Mum. I love the toast soldiers too… such a perfect dipper. 🙂
Abbe@This is How I Cook says
Toast soldiers? What a wonderful name. My mom eats soft boiled eggs often but they never grew on me. When it comes to eating I would say that you both must travel to China. Then you might both be on the same page!
What a great idea, Abbe!
Amanda (@lambsearshoney) says
Soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers is just pure comfort food, as is beans on toast – I can’t believe you hadn’t tried that before coming here!
I’ve observed the American way of eating and it just seems too labour intensive to me – all that swapping around!
LOL That’s nicer than saying, “I thought you had never learned table manners.” 🙂 We didn’t eat beans on toast either.
I, like you was very sure that everyone ate that way. Don’t know about you but I would have gloated for a bit because I was right. I also would not have let on that I didn’t know what a toast soldier was. Men, I tell ya!
A couple of years after I moved here I admitted that I didn’t know about the soldiers. I accused him of not paying attention on any of his previous visits to the states. How could he have missed that? Men!
Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice says
Love this post! You have such a good sense of humor that just shines through your posts. This dish looks delicious–gorgeous photos!
The Food Sage says
Gorgeousness in a post, Maureen. Boiled egg with soldiers hold special childhood memories for me … funnily enough they just don’t taste as good these days. I remember my dad teaching me how to make boiled eggs when i was about 8, too. If i follow his rules, they always turn out perfectly x
marion reisz says
If you want the perfect soft boiled egg, go to the American Test Kitchen site. The method is incredible and really works. I now have soft boiled eggs and soldiers several times a week because it is so comforting. Just put half inch of water in saucepan, bring to boil and put any amount of eggs , cold from fridge, cover the saucepan, boil exactly 6 to 6 1/2 minutes, remove and run under cold water for a few seconds and enjoy. They tested 1,000 eggs and finally came upon this method. The eggs will not crack and there is no “slimy” egg white and perfect dunking egg yolk.
I love this. I love the recipe…But I love your story so much more. The dog always does it 🙂 Now we blame it on the munchkin 🙂