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First Crack

Munizeh Sanai

Curated for the website by digital guest editor Mina Malik.

It starts with the weather: the force of the crack will be determined by temperature. Heat turns eggs into impulsive and self-destructive escape artists looking for their big break; on a warm day the extra relaxed egg will be quick to shatter and spill at the slightest tap of the shell. Better behaviour can be expected on cooler days; the cold keeps them thick and slow, huddled and slightly resigned, just like the rest of us. A confident crack against the counter should release a perfect hen fruit. Once successfully breached, the egg is cradled by a cupped palm, ensconced nicely between the heart and lifelines; a slight splaying of the fingers will relieve the colourless white from its duty of protecting its marigold queen. The perfect yolk is a rich, luminous orb capable of so much:

It emulsifies, it coats, it thickens,

It glosses, it fluffs, it folds, it ribbons…

Can you tell that I bake now? I’ve grown a great, sensory intimacy with the humble egg. It’s the big secret: to coax these transformative acts from this complete organic vessel, you have to know it outside-in, believing in all the potential for what it can accomplish. I hope one day, when the weather is good, we can make a meringue together. We will watch the eggs spin from a gel to a froth, trapping and holding air to create a new, sweet shade of white, shape shifting from a bubbly, pillowy foam to stiff glossy peaks—only to melt like a cloud on the tongue.

Or maybe we’ll just start our day like we used to: deciding between the creamy curds of a soft scramble or the crispy, lacy goodness of a perfect fry. I’ll crack the medium ovals onto a hot skillet, slick with smoking oil, crackling to life and filling the room around us with that distinct, savoury aroma. We’ll catch up about the cats or argue about the news while we butter our toast; you'll let the butter melt into yours, I'll wait so that the cold, salty layer can hold its creamy place. I’ll pierce the yolk and magnanimously spoon it onto the white, taking even bites with the bread. You’ll cut all around yours, saving the pristine yolk to eat whole, to burst with your tongue so that a big mouthful of warm golden can drip down your throat. You never ate eggs in the summer.

Photo and video courtesy of the author.


Munizeh Sanai has moved from one form of creative expression to another, beginning with a theatre major at Bennington College in Vermont, to a decade of work at CityFM89 in Karachi, then onto Lahore Music Meet, and now exploring the culinary arts in Islamabad. Her work can be viewed on Instagram: @munizehmakesbakes


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