Friday, February 8, 2013

I Hate Eggs

I hate eggs. I always have. I used to insist that my mom make French toast without eggs. She dipped the bread in cinnamon flavored milk and tried to fry it. It wasn’t really that good, but the faint taste of eggs left by the batter was more than I could stand as a child.

The biggest problem with eggs is that they stink like sulpher and rotting carcasses. My mom keeps telling me that fresh eggs don’t stink, and I keep telling her “yeah, Mom, they do.” They really do. When I was a third year medical student on my surgery rotation at a VA hospital 200 miles from home my senior residents (all huge, hulking frowning men) demanded our team meet over breakfast every morning. And every other person on the team gobbled down nasty, stinking hard boiled eggs every morning at 6 am. I wanted to throw up. I still avoid the cafeteria at work in the morning. I can’t even walk on that floor, because the stink of egg wafts through the hallways.

The other problem with eggs is that they are slimy. On the rare occasions I have choked down some egg because social politeness demanded that I have at least a few bites they slither in my mouth and at the back of my throat like phlegm. One of my favorite mentors from my training was a vegetarian. She would invite me to her home in the evenings after work to discuss the reading I was doing. Since she was a courteous and thoughtful individual she would always feed me dinner and make me tea. Unfortunately, since she was a vegetarian, many of her meals involved salads with hard boiled eggs in them. I didn’t want to offend her. She was being so kind, spending her free time in the evenings tutoring me. So I ate the eggs, tried to ignore the stink and the slimy feeling at the back of my throat and did my best to look as if I were enjoying them.  I didn’t do a good job. About a year later we connected at a conference and went out to eat. As we were ordering she said “Oh yes, you don’t like eggs, do you?”

Hating eggs is a handicap. Most breakfast foods are not available to me; eggs come with everything. I lived in San Antonio, Texas for 4.5 years and never ate a breakfast burrito. The stupid things are stuffed with eggs. People serve you eggs in their homes when you go for breakfast. My sister made scrambled eggs for me once, when I was up in Boston to celebrate her college graduation. She was convinced that if I just tried them again, made with her good recipe, with all the right seasonings, I would like them. What could I do? We had fought throughout our childhood and ignored each other as young adults. We were just starting to be friends. I didn’t want to say no to her gesture of sisterly love. She made scrambled eggs with spinach, standing in the miniscule kitchen of her shabby 3 bedroom house that she shared with five other students. I ate them. I smiled and pretended they weren’t so bad. I love my sister. I hated her eggs.