The square egg machineAugust 21, 2006
Growing up in the 1970′s, I knew that my parents didn’t take lightly to the idea of foolishly spending money. Unlike my peers, my parents never had: separate cars, cable TV, answering machines, a VCR, multiple phone lines, a maid or a gardener. Of course, by the mid eighties, when my brothers had moved out of the house, they started adding in some of these things, and by today, the only one that still eludes them is the answering machine (“if it’s important, I’m sure they’ll call back”).
But it’s that Carter-era frugality that makes me doubt my own childhood memories when I think back upon my parents buying a Square Egg Machine. Of all the needless crap invented in the Seventies (pet rocks, have a nice day bumper stickers, the Pinto) few things seem more non-essential than a device for squeezing your hardboiled egg from traditional oval (or “egg”) shape into a cube. But for some reason, purchase it they did, and I can still remember the one time it got used.
We all stared breathlessly as my father ratcheted down the clear pyrex lid, crushing the egg into conformity with its new dimensions… would it retain this cubist form once it was free’d from captivity? The wait was palpable, and if I remember correctly, really, really long. Possibly months. But at the end of it all, we took out the hard-boiled egg, which was indeed square, and marvelled at its absolute lack of ovality. And then, I believe, someone ate it. I’m not sure who, except that I’m damn sure it wasn’t me, because I don’t really enjoy hard boiled eggs. We were, to a man, underwhelmed, and never again did we use the machine. No idea what happened to it, although if I had to guess, I’d say we threw it out, costing ourselves a cool $7.99 decades later in potential eBay profits.