Now this was no small feat, let me get that straight right now. My mother's career was our home. My mother washed and ironed our clothing, cooked all of our meals, did all of our landscaping, painted walls, rewired lamps, fixed holes knocked in walls, took care of the family finances, tiled and refinished floors, nursed us back to health, tutored us, sewed some of our clothes (then, mended them later), disciplined us, took us on cultural outings, did art projects with us, and many other necessary chores that kept a household as orderly as was possible with characters like my brother and I. By the time we left home, we knew how to do ... well ... nothing.
I used to think my mother, who preferred to be called "Mother" (so I called her "Mama"), never let us assist her with any of the chores because she liked taking care of us. Now I understand that my brother and I were really more of a hindrance to her completing tasks; she was very obsessive like that. My mother was the "hotdog" of housewives; she did EVERYTHING herself. Later, I believe she felt very guilty, as my brother and I came out of our family household absolute bumblers.
My brother and I are fast learners. We quickly gathered that if Mohammad (Mama) won't go to the mountain (our laundry), we'll take the mountain (of mending, stains, grocery lists, ironing, potential meal options that may be prepared and frozen in individual portions for reheating later) to Mohammad (again, played by Mama). This worked well for a while, until my brother and I each moved around six hours drive away. By then, the mountain (of the aforementioned) would not fit in the car.
So, we began to learn to do for ourselves. For me, the baby steps were the most painful parts of the process. I almost killed myself by unknowingly mixing bleach and ammonia cleaning products in an under-ventilated bathroom full of unaddressed mildew. I started a small grease fire in my kitchen by trying to pop oiled barley in a wok. I ironed the pleating right out of one of my nice kilts. I warped numerous cooking pots and pans by running them under cold water to cool them down to clean. There were, literally, years of: unbalanced and unsorted loads of wash; stains set so deep a Bissell would bust before getting anything out; furniture legs deeply gouged by the vacuum; stacks of chipped dishes; and bouts with food poisoning from waiting just a bit too long to eat a sandwich with mayo. I was a Home Ec wreck.
Don't get me wrong. My brother and I could call our mother at any time, day or night, and ask the most seemingly inane question about keeping house and she would patiently explain out the answers, step-by-step. I believe she loved these phone calls. She still does. She's very nurturing. As I said, my brother and I are fast learners. Both of us have become fairly accomplished at certain aspects of keeping a household.
I have become a fairly proficient and creative cook. I have a knack for creating flavor combinations which are simple and fairly inexpensive. I enjoy experimenting, especially with produce and herbs from my kitchen garden and those of my friends. I try to keep things interesting. So, rather irrationally, I was too embarrassed to ask my mother how SHE boiled an egg.
If you look in The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, Fanny Farmer's Cookbook, The All New Joy of Cooking, and Betty Crocker's Cookbook, you will see and read more than you could ever want to about how to practically, and methodically, boil an egg. What you will not learn in any of these bastions of strength in the common household culinary world is how to attain "The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg" that I've developed. I imagine that these little tricks we use in these recipes we devise are what we hand over to our children and their children and so on.
So, here it is, without further ado:
Take egg out of fridge approximately 20 minutes before boiling. If the shell is too cold, it will crack when placed in the boiling water. Bring enough water to boil in a small pot so that your egg will be completely submerged. Do not put any salt in the water in effort to make it boil faster; salt will weaken the shell. When water has come to a rapid boil, gently place egg in water with a small ladle, 2 tbsp measuring cup, or soup spoon. Do not adjust temperature. Rapidly boil the egg for 10 minutes. Following, turn off burner and allow egg to sit in boiled water for an additional 6 minutes. Promptly drain and either place egg in fridge or place in strainer and run cold water over it to cool. Voilà! She is, how you say, magnifique!