Join us this week for a sampling of culinary excellence with our new feature, the KMCG Recipe Nook. Each installment will feature a recipe and the history behind it from a member of our team.
This week, we ask you to indulge in the Chickee Egg, a breakfast treat that has been in Rob Blair’s family for four generations…
The chickee egg has held a standard spot in my breakfast rotation for something like 40 years. From what I understand the chickee egg was introduced to our family by my Grandma Pat, and although I have made many amazing chickee eggs; she made them the best, even with the occasional chunk of egg shell.
The chickee egg is essentially a whipped soft-boiled egg mixed with bread, salt, pepper, and the best cooking ingredient, butter. In a pinch, I can fire out a chickee egg in under three minutes…and it would actually be closer to two.
The modern day process is extremely simple and I’ll walk you through that now
- Take a mug
- Put cold water in the mug about 1/3 of the way up
- Crack an egg or two into the mug, keeping the yolk(s) intact
- Microwave it for one minute for one egg and 1:15 for 2 eggs
- Review consistency – the egg should be loosely cooked, not too hard and not clear. Use more microwave in 10 second increments if too much clear exists
- Drain water using a fork as a fence
- Throw in a little less than a tablespoon of butter. Add salt and pepper
- Mix the egg butter S+P using the fork and break up the hardened egg white.
- Rip up a slice of bread into 1cm cubes (roughly) and mix into the mug
- The bread soaks up any of the liquid so add more bread to get a consistency you enjoy
And there you have it. A chickee egg is a pretty balanced meal and comes in under 400 calories. One has to make sure that the water gets out from under the egg without draining the egg. A little bit of clear egg is ok, it just requires more bread, and I find the consistency to be most enjoyable when there is almost no clear as that is what makes the consistency of the yolk the best. A nice bright yolk that is not overdone and pops a little during the mixing makes for an incredible treat!
Here is a little history of the Chickee Egg:
Sometime in the early 1900s my great-grandpa Callahan hired a woman who my Grandma affectionately referred to as her Mamie. She was hired because Great Grandma Callahan had kidney disease and, at the time, 6 living children. Not that it has any relevance to the story, but my Great Grandpa was successful and gave all of his kids a building in Brooklyn when they got married. The modern-day value of those buildings is somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 Billion Dollars.
Anyway, Mamie would make chickee eggs for the 6 kids, I’m assuming because of the efficiency in making a bunch of these at once. The only problem was that electricity was barely invented and microwaves certainly didn’t exist back then. So being that Mamie had no clue how to use a microwave, she would soft boil a bunch of eggs at once. This is how my grandma always made them for her kids, and this is the way she made them for me. Time-consuming, and delicious.
As I type, I’m getting hungry and I feel the warmth of nostalgia thinking of days I spent pretending to be sick in my youth just so I could get a chikee egg and watch all of the rotten shows that daytime television had to offer in the mid to late ’80s. I can see the flame under the little pot she would soft boil with in her kitchen in West Babylon, NY and I can hear the grainy crackle of the old radio she had in her house.
My mom, Joan Blair, informed me that she endured a chikee egg blackout of a few years around the time she and my dad, Bob Blair got together. She quickly recanted when she remembered that she would indeed ask her mom to make her chickee eggs as an adult when she would return home. She was a little embarrassed that an adult would ask her mom to make breakfast to which I reminded her that she could make me a chickee tonight and I would eat it. My dad for some reason enjoys eating heavily salted, cold fish but never got into eating chickee eggs.
As with almost all great things that currently exist, a bit of an evolution occurred in the process. My mom enabled my lifelong appreciation for this delicacy AND developed a new cooking method. My mom makes a lot of food really well and she instilled some great cooking values in me - self-teaching and not-over-the-top experimenting. She was always up on new techniques, especially ones that shorten the time to cook without sacrificing quality. Using this ideology, she had learned how to poach eggs in a microwave and had an epiphany while making a chickee egg. “This is stupid, I can just poach it in the microwave,” she said as she was soft boiling the egg. Voila, the velocity of the chickee egg hit hyperspeed and we the modern-day Chickee Egg was born.
Presently, I have been coaching my son the intricacies of cooking them, and to be fair, you can learn how to become a chickee egg master in less time than it took me to write this article. Feel free to share your experience with us and please follow the cooking time guideline - having an egg pop in the microwave can be scary and messy. Bone apple teeth!