February 10, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

In search of the perfect ‘Dippy Egg’…

My boys love a runny boiled egg commonly called ‘dippy egg’ in our house. They love to bash the shell, peel it off and see if the yolk is runny, as it should be, and then dip their warm toast dripping with butter into it. Dippy eggs rock in this house; they are a staple, common, easy food. So why are they so damned hard to cook?

Once upon a time I was taught to boil an egg. I was told that the water needed to boil, they egg would be plunged into the boiling water, wait 3 min and voila! You have the perfect runny yolk. These days I’ve noticed that the time to cook the egg is taking longer and longer. I cooked 3 eggs today and they took 8 mins to cook! Are eggs getting bigger? Should we abandon the 3 min rule or am I just doing it completely wrong?

I’ve tried putting the hot water (from a tap) into the saucepan with the eggs from the start. My theory here is that the egg starts to cook a little before the water actually reaches boiling point. This takes a couple of mins in itself and would account for the extra mins surely? Nope. This didn’t work and I just had to boil the eggs longer as before. The boys complained ‘Grandma can cook dippy eggs properly –why can’t you?’

Hubbie then came in to the competitive world of cooking the perfect runny yolk. He’s ‘sciencey’ (studied astrophysics at University) he follows instructions and cooking, as we all know, is just a set of instructions to follow just as science is. If you follow the instructions then surely the result should be near enough, right. Right? Well, in his case yes. He, according to the boys, cooks the most delicious dippy eggs and once again Mummy is not up to the grade…

I try again though the boys have been eating far too many eggs though in my pursuit of the perfect egg. They are rock hard. I’m beginning to feel as despondent as the faces of my children reflect. I’m an average cook, I have a signature dish but I still can’t cook an egg it seems.

The today I am on my own with Henry. Ollie is out with the neighbour’s children (apparently riding in beach buggies and pushing old motorbikes in and out of garages) and Hubbie has taken Tobes to collect a new desk. Hen is dubious when I ask him if he would like a dippy egg. He says ‘I want it runny Mummy, you know runny‘ like Grandma and Daddy do.’ No pressure there then.

I boil the water; I put the eggs in and wait 4 mins. I take an egg out, crack it and it’s still not cooked.

The white is still clear and the yolk isn’t even warm. I resist the urge to shout out ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE IT’S ONLY A BLOODY EGG!!! I leave the others and decide another 2 mins is called for.


After the 2 mins I take out another egg, crack it and look in to see the deliciously golden yolk nestling in the cooked white pillow and yes –it’s runny! I feel like doing an ‘I can cook an egg’ dance (a bit like my ‘poo dance’ –for another blog I feel) something between Ricky Lake and Eliza Doolittle.


I butter the toast; a jaunty enthusiasm accompanies my buttering.


…and then present my second son with the perfect Dippy Egg.

So I can then, apparently, cook the perfect egg. Henry dived in and dipped to his heart’s content. He said ‘Thank you Mummy that was lovely’ which made me feel like a million dollars, like I was Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsey and every other famous chef rolled into one. I think I will rest my new found skill as that many eggs in one week surely aren’t that good for you. Henry left the table happy, and full, and declared that not only was he ‘The money monster’ (he’s great at finding money) but he’s now also ‘The dippy egg monster’ and I think that’s a lovely thing to be…

1 Comment

  • Ah, what you need is a Lakeland egg timer. You put it in the water with the eggs and it darkens as they cook so you can judge it far more easily. It’s a cheat but one worth using!

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