The true character of a hotel is never more clearly revealed than by its scrambled eggs. A wise two-star or three-star would never attempt the dish, but even the four-stars and five-stars fail.
It’s also a risky dish at home, so be careful, or your own domestic Trip Advisor ratings might disappoint.
Scrambled eggs is difficult. Take four to six fresh free-range eggs, and whisk them vigorously. Add a lot of butter and a small quantity of milk, a little pepper and salt. Stir continuously over a low heat with a wooden spoon until you feel the mixture thickening at the bottom of the pan. Turn down the heat a little. Most importantly, remove the saucepan from the heat well before the eggs look ready. They go on cooking, uncontrollably, and before you know it, it’s much too late. Pour quickly onto toast.
I’m writing about scrambled eggs because Sunday’s version at a four-star hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria, was the most memorable event of my weekend. Not, sadly, because it was an appetising example of the dish. Rather, it looked like a large yellow scab – one of the worst dishes of any kind I’ve ever seen.
It’s difficult to get it right at home, but the challenge for hotels is huge. How do you keep the dish liquid on the buffet counter, and yet hot enough, without creating a loaf, a brick, a slab, or a mound? It must flow.
This may be a technology question. It might have something to do with chafing dishes and how they work, whether they are warmed by lamps from above, or by hot water or flames beneath. Indeed, there’s probably a whole world of scrambled egg technology to discover, and a PhD to get. Maybe there’s even a trade magazine devoted to the subject – Eggs and Scramblers.
But some hotels know how to do it. Most fail.
If you know something about scrambling eggs for an army, do add a comment and I’ll pass it on to Sofia.
Here is a thoughtful contribution to the topic: