Devotion & slow poached eggs.
My sweetheart is a talented chef. Together, he and I recently opened a brunch restaurant. He does all the food. I do the serving, hostessing, and whatnot. We’re open 2 days a week. It feels like a small, intimate “family business” — and we love it.
Last weekend, Brandon unveiled a new menu item:
Crispy pork ribs with cheesy garlic grits, avocado and chimichurri sauce, with a slow poached egg on top.
People went berserk for this dish. They sucked the bones clean. Every scrap, devoured. One woman asked if she could have six extra orders to take home. A smash hit.
At the end of our hectic, fast-paced day at the restaurant, I flopped myself wearily on the couch to rest my aching feet. Meanwhile, Brandon pulled out his egg cooker.
“What are you doing?” I asked. Surely, he was exhausted. Time to rest. Except…
He explained that he wasn’t perfectly happy with the slow poached egg on the rib dish.
Over the next several hours, he experimented with about a dozen different water temperatures and timing configurations (77 degrees for 11 minutes, 78.5 degrees for 9 minutes, and so on), inspecting each egg like a scientist, carefully labeling each plate, marking notes on his clipboard.
This one: yolk’s too runny. This one: too viscous. This one: good consistency, but the whites don’t slip easily out of the shell. Too sticky. No good. Try again. And again.
I was slightly flabbergasted by all of this. The dish was already so popular! People loved it! Why all of this extra work? Wasn’t the egg already good enough? How much good-er could it possibly be?
But as I watched Brandon work, I could see the faithful, caring determination in his eyes.
He knew the egg could be improved upon — so he needed to improve it.
Simple as that.
So he worked. Testing. Tweaking. Patiently. Methodically. Until he found that sublime combination of temperature and timing to generate the ultimate slow poached egg: soft, smooth, just the right amount of runny. He smiled.
“Nailed it,” he proudly declared.
“Now that’s real devotion,” I thought to myself. (I also thought, “Damn. I picked a good man.” But that’s another article…)
. . .
When you blend “discipline” and “love” together, you get “devotion.”
We all need both.
We need discipline to plan, activate, move, do, and keep doing.
We need love to sweeten the journey, to give us a reason to keep going.
It’s beautiful to witness someone who is obviously working in a state of devotion. You can see it on their face — in the words they write, in the work they do, in the songs they sing, in the art they create. You can feel devotion in the air. Taste it in every bite.
What do you love? Are you giving it enough discipline?
What are you disciplined about? Do you really love it?
What do you claim you are devoted to that you are not really devoted to? What’s that all about?
Do these questions make you uncomfortable? Me too. They popped into my mind, I typed them out, and then I thought, “Yikes.” But maybe in answering these types of questions, we can begin to live more honestly, and we can move closer to that beautiful experience — that heightened feeling — called devotion.
Or at least, you know, cook better eggs.