Saturday, February 5, 2011

Excerpt from my current reading

[Three friends take a camping/boating trip up the River Thames...]

"Harris proposed that we should have scrambled eggs for breakfast. He said he would cook them. It seemed, from his account, that he was very good at doing scrambled eggs. He often did them at picnics and when out on yachts. He was quite famous for them. People who had once tasted his scrambled eggs, so we gathered from his conversation, never cared for any other food afterwards, but pined away and died when they could not get them.

It made our mouths water to hear him talk about the things, and we handed him out the stove and the frying-pan and all the eggs that had not smashed and gone over everything in the hamper, and begged him to begin.

He had some trouble in breaking the eggs -- or rather not so much trouble in breaking them exactly as in getting them into the frying-pan when broken, and keeping them off his trousers, and preventing them from running up his sleeve; but he fixed some half-a-dozen into the pan at last, and then squatted down by the side of the stove and chivied them about with a fork.

It seemed harassing work, so far as George and I could judge. Whenever he went near the pan he burned himself, and then he would drop everything and dance round the stove, flicking his fingers about and cursing the things. Indeed, every time George and I looked round at him he was sure to be performing this feat. We thought at first that it was a necessary part of the culinary arrangements.

We did not know what scrambled eggs were, and we fancied that it must be some Red Indian or Sandwich Islands sort of dish that required dances and incantations for its proper cooking. Montmorency went and put his nose over it once, and the fat spluttered up and scalded him, and then he began dancing and cursing. Altogether it was one of the most interesting and exciting operations I have ever witnessed. George and I were both quite sorry when it was over.

The result was not altogether the success that Harris had anticipated. There seemed so little to show for the business. Six eggs had gone into the frying-pan, and all that came out was a teaspoonful of burnt and unappetizing looking mess.

Harris said it was the fault of the frying-pan, and thought it would have gone better if we had had a fish-kettle and a gas-stove; and we decided not to attempt the dish again until we had those aids to housekeeping by us."

--from Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome, first published 1889


  1. I loved that book! It is absolutely hilarious!

  2. Ah I absolutely love Three Men in a Boat! It's hilarious! The audio-book version read by Jeremy Nicholas is fantastic.

  3. Rachel, I saw on Amazon that Hugh Laurie did a recording of it, which I'm sure would be a riot. Unfortunately it's abridged, which always kind of annoys me. I didn't see any Jeremy Nicholas recording -- perhaps that's only available in the UK?

  4. Yes, I've had a look and it's quite difficult to find - you only seem to be able to get it on cassette over here. It was done in the early 80s, so it's probably been superseded by newer versions. It was abridged though - it's always a shame when they do that.