Egg indulgence

Yesterday I posted about poaching an egg.   That is to say cooking an egg in water, not stealing an egg. Some of the commentators chimed in with methods of preparing eggs in water which involve keeping the egg within a container placed in the water.  A commentator commented that that (groovy, “What… enallage, no?”, he asked anacoenosistically.) method is really coddling rather than poaching.  That is not to say that you spoil your egg by coddling it, as you do children, unless you coddle it too long, of course.  You can’t be too easy on eggs, after all, or on children.  Otherwise, they aren’t very useful for breakfast purposes.   The eggs, that is, not the children.  You know what I mean.  You have to break eggs.  Pierce or break them.  The shells, break the shells not their spirit to resist, as you would with horses.  Sorry… I am just horsing around with these word games.  I’ll rein it in.

I happen to have some egg coddlers… which are contraptions, not people.  Sorry.


I had one two-egg coddler from my grandmother, was given another by an old lady from Philadelphia I met in Florida who was surprised that I knew what it was, and I bought the two one-egg coddlers for a song in the box at a flea market.  They are all Royal Worcester Evesham.  You can buy two, simpler, one-egg coddlers here.

The one-egg coddlers are probably best for people of French extraction, since in French one egg is un oeuf.

Here’s whatchya do.

  • It is a good idea to wash farm fresh eggs.
  • Place the coddler in the pan and fill the pan up to just below the metal rim.  Remove the coddler and start heating the water.
  • Coat the inside of the coddler with a little butter, including on the threads of the metal rim (so you can more easily open it).  The butter inside will make clean up a lot easier!
  • Put in spices or finely chopped ingredients, such as a little ham, cheese, mushroom, herbs, etc.
  • Carefully crack your egg into the coddling cup.
  • Screw down the cover, leaving it a little loose.
  • By the ring, lower it into the nearly boiling water.  You will lift it out of the water by something through the ring.  I use a chop-stick.
  • The cooking time depends on the temperature of the egg, the size of the coddler and number of eggs, and your preference for the yolk.  It can take several minutes.
  • Don’t forget to make toast.  You will already have made Mystic Monk Coffee from your newly refreshed supply and ground this minute with your little Mystic Monk Coffee Grinder.  Otherwise, you will have heated the water to “hot the pot” for your Mystic Monk Tea.
  • Open by the coddler’s ring without burning your fingers – I use the chop-stick for this too.  Okay, burn your fingers if you want.  The coddler will wait for you.
  • Devour with a small spoon and/or with toast “points”, that is, toast cut into narrow strips which you can dunk, as you might with a soft-boiled egg.

Some action shots!

Butter the inside and the threads. I am using one of the larger coddlers, even though I have only one egg. The egg is simply too large and that provides more room for goodies!


Add your goodies to the egg. In this case, I have a little, fresh ground pepper, cheddar cheese, and my own blend of dried herbes de provence.  A meltier cheese might be better, but this was pretty darn good.  Because cheddar is salty, I omitted salt.



This is a merciful method if you are doing many other things.  The cooking process, depending on the eggs and the coddlers, is fairly slow.  That means that even if you have to ignore your timer, your eggs won’t be spoiled (though they will be coddled).

This, by the way, is an excellent way to prepare eggs for a breakfast tray.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Frank H says:

    I have some of these same egg coddlers from my sainted mother, but have never used them. I will give it a go now that I have your instructions! [My work here is done.]

  2. benedetta says:

    Yummy. And very funny too.

  3. Patti Day says:

    Father, I have, or had–not sure, those same egg coddlers you have in the center. I bought them in Philadelphia at Bailey, Banks & Biddle on sale. I think I paid $10 for them (quite some time ago). It was the box and their charming shape which attracted me. I used them a few times over the years, but generally managed to over-cook the eggs, or had difficulty getting the tops unscrewed. I don’t recall the directions saying to butter the screw top, but then I wasn’t one for directions in those days. I may go to the garage and root through the remaining boxes from ‘the big move’ to see if I can locate them. I fear they may have gone the way of many things from that bedeviled move.

  4. Peggy R says:

    They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Beautiful detail. Believe it or not, I saw on late night tv this week an ad for cheap plastic egg coddlers.

    I recall my mother also had a tin tray to lay in a pan of water for poaching several eggs. You showed poaching yesterday.

  5. wanda says:

    Your Royal Worcester coddlers are so very pretty. In the top photo, I see a Nuthatch on the one at far right, is there a bird on the far left one? (Now that I look at the question, it seems political.)
    Anyway, I enjoy seeing the coddlers, it’s cool that the birds are even included.

  6. jarhead462 says:

    I love Shirred Eggs as well, with cream, parmesan, and chives.
    I need to get some of these coddlers- I will keep my eyes peeled at the yard sales.

    Semper Fi!

  7. irishgirl says:

    So that’s what an egg coddler looks like! Interesting….!
    In a book I have on the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (‘The Nun’ by Margaret Trouncer), there is a nasty ‘word joke’ shared by a group of nuns in her community of Paray-le-Monial that is a play on her last name (there were quite a few of them who didn’t like her):
    ‘What is the favorite collation of Sister Margaret Mary? The answer is ‘oeuf a la coque’ [boiled egg].’

  8. Margaret says:

    Gah! All the coddling eggs (and children) commentary at the beginning must have primed my brain.

    I haven’t put my glasses on yet this morning, and keep reading “toddler” in place of “coddler.” Yikes. Time for some caffeine (and glasses…)

  9. Anne C. says:

    I do love it when you’re in a good mood, Father! (Maybe some of our prayers are working at last!)

    I love a challenge, so I looked up the two words that were strange to me (in the first paragraph, in parentheses – oh! Enallage! She claimed anacoenosistically!) Neither of them were listed in Merriam-Webster online, so I Googled them. The first appeared, showing enough of the definition from the first line of its Wikipedia entry for me to grasp the gist of it; the second showed only 3 appearances in all of Google – 3 references to this very post of yours!!! In other words, no one has ever used that word before!!! (I only found its meaning after stripping off suffix after suffix . . .!)

    I trust that you “got” my lame attempt at using your words above . . .

    In Humble Deference to Your Wit . . .

    ; )

Comments are closed.