“Do you like eggs?”
She laughed. She looked at me, so I laughed too.
Wolfe scowled. “Confound it, are eggs comical? Do you know how to scramble eggs, Mrs. Valdon?”
“Yes, of course.”
“To use Mr. Goodwin’s favorite locution, one will get you ten that you don’t. I’ll scramble eggs for your breakfast and we’ll see. Tell me forty minutes before you’re ready.”
Her eyes widened. “Forty minutes?”
“Yes. I knew you didn’t know.”
—Nero Wolfe, conversing with Lucy Valdon, in The Mother Hunt, chapter 17
I enjoyed reading this article, for a few reasons: “It’s Not Fake French, It’s Frenchette”
One reason is that it reminded me of this song, which I always sort of liked.
Also, it answered the question that I’ve always wondered about: Why does it take Nero Wolfe 40 minutes to scramble eggs while he and Archie Goodwin are hiding out in Lucy Valdon’s house? Clearly, I now know, he was making a brouillade:
For each order of brouillade, a pan of eggs has to be stirred constantly over a small flame for a long time, until they look like grits. (There’s a reason you don’t see brouillade on many menus.) Dropped on top are a few excellent snails in parsley and garlic, a buttery garnish for very buttery scrambled eggs.
(Rex Stout, who wrote the Nero Wolfe mysteries, was a gourmet in real life — I was sure there was a real dish behind this casual mention.)
My father (to switch gears) taught me that there are only two kinds of writing: good writing and bad writing, and you should appreciate and enjoy the good stuff wherever you find it.
These, also from the “Frenchette” article, made me smile:
The dining room is in back, behind a pair of arches and up a step so slight that its only conceivable purpose is to raise the insurance premiums; every time I approached it a worried server materialized to tell me to look out.
The entire roast chicken is juicy without tasting of brine, a rare thing these days. Hidden under the drumsticks and thighs are rafts of baguette that sat under the rotisserie, imbibing every drop that fell from the bird. Some diners might say bread wet with drippings is too homespun for a dish that costs $68. They don’t know what they’re talking about.