Thursday, 3 December 2009

Eggs à la Nabocoque, Vladimir Nabokov



Maxime de la Falaise had a varied career as a fashion model, cookbook author, and Andy Warhol collaborator (she was featured in Blood for Dracula, and designed a menu for Warhol's version of the automat--the Andymat). She wrote a food column for Vogue, and in 1973 published Seven Centuries on English Cooking.

Found among Vladimir Nabokov's archives is the following recipe, dated November 18, 1972, and addressed to Maxime, who presumably requested it for inclusion in her cookbook. Nabokov noted on the top of the page "Maxime de la Falaise McKendry for a cooking book"; a later note reads, "Never acknowledge by Maxime." Perhaps it wasn't quite what she was looking for.

At any rate, here's the recipe that Nabokov sent Maxime:

Eggs à la Nabocoque

Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them.

"Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan.

If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an oldfashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful.

After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.


3 comments:

fatima k said...

"If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an oldfashioned seance..." is my favourite line.

André said...

I remember seeing the handwritten manuscript of this recipe, possibly at the New York Public Library.
One thing that is never going to work is the timing, because the boiling temperature depends on the altitude at the location. Still, great writing ;-)
NYC André
PS.
I just posted a picture I'm happy for you to use if you want at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/4684025954/

lollever said...

With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.LOL Account

LOL Coaching