Not only had I never made a soufflé before this week, I had never eaten one. They have a reputation for being hard to make and exquisitely tasty so I have always considered it something to have in a restaurant. However, as I don’t live in a perpetual 1978, I have never been in a restaurant that offers them. In my imagination they have remained in an intangible delicacy. I was more than a little surprised to open my chosen cookbook, Make Them Egg Meals, and find that the “thing to remember about a soufflé is that, really, it’s only eggs added to white sauce – and it’s easy!”
My entire life I have been lied to about soufflés. What the actual funk?
I can’t believe I fell for the soufflés are hard bullshit. Chefs, man. I knew they were liars (all that ‘risottos are difficult’ nonsense. Please. It’s just stirring rice. A fox could do that) but somehow they conned me. Jokes on me, I guess.
Make Them Egg Meals was published by the British Egg Information Service before grams or Celsius were a thing in the UK. So I had little idea about what I was getting into, ingredient quantity-wise, before I adjusted my scales and started measuring things out. I’ll say it now, in case anyone is planning on following in my footsteps, three ounces of butter is a lot of butter. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. It’s eighty five grams of butter.
Eighty five grams of butter. For lunch. Jesus Christ.
It’s no wonder life expectancy was so low in the 1960s if everyone was just casually putting eighty five grams of butter in things like there was no tomorrow. I guess if you ration food for over a decade that when you let people buy more they lose their damn minds. A generation of oily-lipped buffoons, joking about ‘what difference will another ounce of butter make?’ I’ll tell you what difference it will make, pal. It’s the difference between watching Z Cars on a Tuesday evening or being prepped for a coronary bypass. Eighty five grams of butter indeed.
The recipe was, as the British Egg Information Service promised, pretty easy. Make a white sauce, stir in a massive pile of cheese and some yolks, fold in some stiffly beaten egg whites, cook. The recipe said chuck it all in one dish so I did. No ramekins for me and the Egg Board. We make our own rules.
It looked like this
And the taste? Somewhere between eggs and cheese but, importantly, not quite as good as either of them on their own. I’m glad I gave it a go, but I’m not sure I’d bother again.