Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - April 24, 2003
I've never been much of a morning person, but I admire those who wake up, ready to jump right into the day. My husband is one of those people. He hops out of bed, sings in the shower and accomplishes about five things before I even open my eyes.
When I attended a press convention a couple of weeks ago and found out there was a breakfast meeting, I groaned. But the breakfast was more fun than any breakfast I've ever been to.
The guest "speaker" was Howard Helmer from the American Egg Board. Helmer is the world's fastest omelet maker, having twice earned the Guinness Book record. His job at our "egg-citing" breakfast was to teach the 200 or so of us to make omelets in 40 seconds.
His energy and huge grin were contagious.
"Good morning," he said loudly.
When our response was a lukewarm "good morning," Helmer shouted, "Good morning" again.
Our next "good morning" was sufficiently enthusiastic that he knew we were ready to learn.
"The first thing," he said, "is to mix two eggs and two tablespoons of water together for a single omelet. Not milk; milk makes the eggs too heavy. You want water to make them light and fluffy. Now if you have more than one person you're serving, say for instance, four people, then you'll need how many eggs and how much water?"
Egad! He was asking us to do math in the morning!
"Eight eggs and eight tablespoons of water!" we yelled.
"Very good," he yelled back.
"Next," he said, "get a 10-inch skillet really hot and then add one tablespoon butter or one-half tablespoon olive oil. But it's important to make only one omelet at a time. Otherwise, you just have scrambled eggs."
Helmer filled a soup dipper and poured the egg and water mixture into the hot skillet.
"You just let that bubble up, then you 'zhunk' with your spatula," he said. In my years of home economics and 4-H, I don't recall ever being introduced to that term, but by his actions it apparently meant using it to push the omelet toward the center of the pan.
"Then gently tip the skillet from side to side to make sure the eggs are cooking evenly. When the eggs are no longer gooey but still shiny, add onions, mushrooms, cheese, salsa or whatever you want to the left side of the omelet."
Then, with a slight pause, he remarked, "For those of you are left-handed, put the ingredients on the right side."
"Take your spatula and flip the empty side onto the side with the ingredients. Then 'voilá,' turn out your beautiful omelet onto a plate," he said.
He did a couple of more demonstrations and then turned us loose to try our hand. About 15 past presidents of the Kansas Press Association served as our coaches as we lined up in front of the hot skillets at the cooking stations. In their bib aprons they cheered our clumsy efforts.
But it didn't matter whether our results were egg-xact. To each and every one of us, Helmer and our coaches cheerily pronounced, "What a beautiful omelet!"