Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Illusory Eggs.

I made reference to the ‘illusion food’ of the Middle Ages in yesterday’s post, and want to show you a nice example - which fits the egg-theme for the week - from half a millennium later. It is a simple idea, found in Eggs: Facts and Fancies about them (1890) thanks to a Japanese contributor.

Egg Apples.
Boil the eggs hard. Remove the shells one by one, while they are under the water; press both ends softly between the first finger and thumb till it assumes the same of an apple. Color each slightly with red, or make spots to simulate the appearance of an apple. If real apple leaves or stems cannot be obtained, get some other and decorate with them.
Pile them in a dainty dish and place it on the table and it will make a pretty display of un-timely apples, pleasing to the eyes, and satisfying to the taste.
Miss Kin Kato, of Japan.

The late fourteenth century manuscript written by the Master Cooks of King Richard II known as The Forme of Cury also included a wonderful recipe for illusory apples – actually meatballs, ‘gilded’ with egg and saffron (or parsley if you wanted green apples.) Now, if you are planning to serve meatballs and boiled eggs sometime soon, why not present them both as apples? Or they might make an interesting idea for next Easter?

If you are not yet tired of apple illusions, and it is not taking a theme too far, you can reverse the illusion and use plain crackers to make the ‘apple’ filling in the (in)famous Mock Apple Pie recipe.

Quotation of the Day.
Eggs have two advantages over all other foods. First, they are procurable nearly everywhere; second, the most dainty person is sure when eating eggs that they have not been handled.
A Book for A Cook, The Pillsbury Co. (1905)


KT said...

I am picturing trying to press in the ends of a hard-boiled egg. Seems like it would just puncture and leave two large holes - not staying in the shape of an apple. Though perhaps I should try it before dismissing the idea as impossible!

Sharlene T. said...

What a great post... I often serve a recipe called Bolivian Meatballs, although I'm not sure they are... that's the name given to me with the recipe over 30 years ago... but the egg is placed inside the meat before final baking... they're delicious, but shaping the final product to resemble an apple would be great... think I'll give it a go... come visit when you can and check out my very first vlog!

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