Naomi’s Blown Eggs

“Why don’t you do a post about me?” 10-year-old Naomi Schneider said, gazing over my shoulder as I showed her various posts about her father and mother.

“Why would I do a post about you?” I answered.



“Because,” she said.

I assured her that she must be somewhere on my blog, and began opening posts about Tuesday sushi nights and Mexico vacations and Sonoma wine barbecues and other Schneider-related topics, and finally found a group shot at the Ferry Building in San Francisco where a teeny, tiny Naomi could be spotted in a corner.

“No,” she said, “I don’t mean a post that has a tiny picture of me. I mean a post ABOUT me!”

“I’d have to think about a reason to do a post about you. I don’t just do posts about people for no reason.”

“You could do a post about my blown eggs!” she suggested.

It wasn’t a bad idea. She had just finished making her “blown eggs” as a snack for herself and my daughter Willa’s pal, Van. It was actually a somewhat unique preparation of egg that Naomi and her dad, my pal Don, had come up with. A hole was punched in either end of an eggshell, and the inside blown out — much the way we used to do before dying Easter eggs — into a hot buttered pan.

Van had looked concerned. “Did you spit in there!?” she queried Naomi as her egg landed into the sizzling pan.

The egg comes blasting dramatically out and splatters into the pan, a Jackson Pollock of yolk and white, and cooks in about 45 seconds, a thin translucent sheen of egg that is then slid onto a plate, still creamy on top, and sprinkled with Maldon salt.


Willa wanted one. And this is where the trouble began.

“I can do it,” Willa said. Naomi looked aghast.

“Uh, no, I’ll do it for you Willa.”

“No, that’s okay,” Willa said, as they began jostling for the pan. Within a moment, things had escalated and I had to step in.

“I invented it, only I can make it!” Naomi insisted.

“Then I don’t want it,” Willa countered.

I suggested Naomi make the holes in the shell, and Willa blow the insides out — a compromise that appealed to neither of them. So then I went on to explain to Naomi that I had invented a lot of dishes, many of which I had taught her father how to make. And that when you discover something good, you don’t want to hoard it but open your heart and share it with others.

“Well, then you at least have to say, ‘Invented by Naomi,’ if you make it,” she offered by way of concession. Willa was having none of it. Which sent Naomi into a tailspin, and she spent the next 30 or so minutes moping on a swing outside.

The next morning, Willa — faced with having to say “Invented by Naomi” every time she made this new style of egg — found a workaround that was to her liking.

“Dad,” she exclaimed from the kitchen as I returned from a morning run, “If you drop the egg into the pan from up high, it turns out the same as Naomi’s and you don’t have to spit into the shell!”

She had named her new culinary invention “Willa’s Dropped Eggs”.

I thought it best we didn’t immediately share this with Naomi — she would find out soon enough when she read “her” post.

“Can I have a Willa’s Dropped Egg?” Willa’s brother Flynn called from the living room.

We’ll still call it Naomi’s Blown Eggs and give her full credit when we’re at the Schneiders. Whatever we call it, it’s a pretty great invention and we’re blasting through our eggs in record time. And perhaps most importantly, Naomi got the post she wanted.

Summer of Love

It was while browsing the produce aisle at my favorite Japanese market that I saw it — in a plastic container, settled on a bed of rice, a knobby black Perigord truffle.

Truffle-smothered Iberico pork shoulder steak

Truffle-smothered Iberico pork shoulder steak

I picked it up and regarded it enviously. The price was $34, which for a truffle slightly smaller than a tennis ball seemed surprisingly reasonable. But it was more than I felt like spending, so I continued on to the fresh seafood section. But while I shopped for hamachi and albacore, my mind kept returning to the truffle. When I picked it up, I’d been hit by the unique perfume that told me this was a summer French truffle rather than a fall Oregon truffle. There is no other smell on earth like it. More

Butterbeer & Kreacher Comforts

My son, Flynn, is something of a Harry Potter fanatic. We originally read the seven books together when he was in kindergarten and first grade, and the moment we’d finished, he promptly launched back into them and read them all over again. He’s now 10, and is in the process of re-reading the 759-page seventh book, “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows” — for the ninth time.

Flynn at the barber shop with his book while Dad gets his hair cut

Flynn at the barber shop with his book while Dad gets his hair cut

Every so often, he gets out his Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook — composed mostly of foods actually mentioned in the books — and finds things he’d like to make. Usually it’s something sweet, often “Rockcakes,” the scone-like lumps served by the gentle giant Hagrid when Harry and his friends would visit him in his groundskeeper hut. But on a lazy Sunday afternoon, he had something else in mind. More

The Best Kind of Labor

While the rest of the Los Angeles swarmed the Labor Day weekend beaches to beat the heat, see the big waves and watch Laird Hamilton shoot the Malibu Pier, we elected to stay on the mountain, be satisfied with our Pacific breezes and almost-ocean views, and do what most people do for the holiday — barbecue.

The day's star attraction

The day’s star attraction

To be more precise, smoke. When I don my pit master hat, I usually default to one of two things — North Carolina pork shoulder or Texas brisket — or sometimes both. This weekend, it would be the latter. Like a morbid cartoon, I caught a particular pork shoulder winking at me from the meat aisle at the grocery store, and was smitten. More

The Dump

I used to complain to my wife about the fact that her sister — a caterer — would often drop by and “gift” us large quantities of food leftover from one of her jobs. There would be big Glad bags of pasta salads, large chunks of picked over cheese and half cakes.

I called it “the Dump,” and came to resent coming home to discover a fridge full of leftovers from someone-I-didn’t-know’s wedding that I was now responsible for either eating or assuming the guilt of throwing away.

Heirloom tomato & corn risotto with parmesan scallops, straciatella

Heirloom tomato & corn risotto with parmesan scallops, stracciatella

We don’t see her sister often these days, and it’s probably been nearly a decade since we last received a drop off. But our friends, Kristine and Simon, just moved to Lake Tahoe, and were back in Topanga to pack up. We invited them to dinner, and Kristine showed up with a canvas bag full of stuff. More

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