The word "coddle" has been around since about 1598 and means "to boil gently", and this then led to the term "mollycoddle"- which means "to treat with an obsessive and absurd degree of indulgence and attention". Dictionary definitions of a mollycoddled individual have included "sissy", "pampered weakling" and "pathetic, ineffectual man" (Watch out Stephen Fry, I can do old fashioned words too). As a mother I have to suppress my quite strong urge to mollycoddle my child, but I figured that as an egg was going to be eaten anyway it didn't matter if it became a bit of a pathetic weakling, unable to live in the big wide world. At last I could totally smother something without the fear of it being bullied at school the next day.
Anyway, here's how you coddle an egg. It's very easy, quite delicious, and makes you feel a little bit like a proper cook from the past.
- Boil some water in a pan
- Butter the inside of the coddler and the inside of the lid
- Break the egg into the cup and season. You can also add other ingredients like cheese and bacon, which will come out in a little eggy parcel.
- Screw the lid on and stand the coddler upright, with the water level halfway up.
- Simmer for about 5 mins.
- You can eat them straight from the coddler with a spoon or arrange them artistically on top of something savoury
You can buy coddlers in antique shops, car boots or on that online auction site I'm not allowed to mention. Mine cost 99p for the pair and are allegedly antiques (I would get them checked out but am a bit worried I'll be laughed out of the shop- they look a bit 70's to me). I think they taste better than poached, and they don't take any more time, so if you like eggs, and have an urge to obsess over something, my advice is give it a go.