Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Omelet Wars

An eerily exact blog/life convergence this afternoon. Getting ready to make myself an omelet for lunch, I came across this post, by Emily Weinstein on Mark Bittman’s New York Times food blog. The topic: Omelets.

Weinstein writes that she loves scrambled eggs, but has never been able to get with omelets. Then she dug into the 13 pages of omelet instruction in Julia Child’s "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and produced an omelet that was “creamy, flavorful and light. . . Now I get it.”

I don’t claim any kind of mastery in the kitchen, but I’m a student of the Jacques Pepin School of Omelet-Making, which calls for rapid stirring of the beaten eggs as they cook in the pan so that they form, as he likes to say on TV, “zee smallest possible curds.” You can compare the Child and Pepin omelet philosophies, which are displayed side-by-side in their co-authored cookbook “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.”

I’m a big fan of Pepin and don’t have much use for all the competitive cooking shows and preening TV chefs out there. What I like about Pepin isn’t just his technique, but also that he manages to show how it might be fun to make something beautiful and tasty for people you like--as opposed to cooking to beat the other guy.

It may not be much, but it’s good to know that, thanks to Pepin, I can usually turn out a reliably good and good-looking heap of eggs when I need to.


  1. I made omelets for lunch yesterday, and another today. I've been cooking competently for a long time, but I struggled with omelets. I am always ready to take Julia's word for things, but I could not get her omelet technique to work for me, basically, ever. I rarely watch cooking shows, but one day I happened to catch one (it may actually have been that nut job Gordon Ramsey, but I don't recall for certain; I remember he was cooking for Joan Collins!) and from that point on I could produce a perfect omelet every single time. Sometimes you just have to take wisdom where you can find it!

  2. I can only make a decent omelet if I use EggBeaters - for some reason, they're easier for me to...um...omelate.