In my time reviewing kitchen gadgets, I’ve learned it would not be good to be reborn as a chicken, because the sickest, most disturbing contraptions always, always have something to do with eggs. Pressure cubers, poaching baggies, vertically extruding grills: they are a twisted universe unto themselves.
So, in a vaguely Easter-themed special, I have decided to test every one of these damned gadgets I can get my hands on. Strap in – I’m looking for the worst, the most unspeakable. If you are already suspicious of eggs, be warned: the following may – nay, will definitely – contain triggers.
Yolk Fish egg separator
First up, separators. Yolk Fish from Prezzybox (£8.95), a fat-bellied silicone fish that uses light suction to hoover up yolks, is effective and only moderately weird. There’s EZCracker (£3.97, Amazon), which sounds more like a racist slur than a kitchen aid. It’s a handheld cradle suspended over razorblades – when activated, the device’s arms push the shell down, on to the blades, and apart. Like a lethal reverse Wonderbra. (I achieved successful shell splittage 20% of the time. The separator attachment fell off and landed in the bowl 100% of the time.)
EZCracker egg separator
Then there’s Bogey Man (£6.99, findmeagift.co.uk), a clear winner. Imagine a Toby Jug, if Toby were suffering from the plague. When you break a raw egg into his head and tip it up, albumen seeps from his nostrils like snot. It’s goddamn disgusting. Egg-wrong rating: 3/5.
Bogey man egg separator
You ain’t seen anything yet. Lékué might sound like a high-end moisturiser but, in fact, it’s the brand behind Ovo, a square-egg cooker – and, at £5.40 from omlet.co.uk, it’s a cheap and simple way to destroy your dinner. Pour an egg, plus other ingredients, into a cube-shaped silicone mould, microwave, then “de-mould” for – ha! – a good, square meal. Be still, my beating digestive tract. I put in carrot, baked beans and thyme, because they’re all I have. After a minute, there’s an explosion. Ovo’s top has blown off, leaving a sorry cube of protein-wrong, flecked with petrified remains of semi-cooked carrot and burnt herb. It stinks, too. Egg-wrong rating: 4/5.
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VonShef egg cooker
The next few experiments involve hardboiled eggs, so I crank up the VonShef steamer (£13.99, domu.co.uk), which lets you cook 16 at a time. Sixteen! Who needs 16 eggs at a time, outside of the army or an IVF facility? This isn’t Cool Hand Luke. They cook fine, but take 18 minutes. Also, the stacked trays resemble an incubator, which makes me feel sad. Mmm, sad eggs. I try out Egg Slicer Wedger Piercer (£1.38, Amazon), which sounds like a person with a column in Tatler. Sadly, it does all the things for which it’s inelegantly named, so it’s useless for my purposes. You can even use it on mushrooms.
The Eggstractor, though. It’s a concertina tube atop a tripod, which claims to peel eggs instantly. The idea is that when one pushes down on it, pressure inside the egg’s air cell causes it to jettison its shell, like Nina Simone shrugging off a fur, and slip through a hole in the tripod base, naked and ready. It’s surprisingly violent, like performing CPR. When I finally succeed, the egg slams into the counter, the yolk shooting across the room. It’s like punching someone in the face so hard their eyeball explodes. “The Magic of the patented Eggstractor is Pure Science!” reads the box. Luckily I speak a little bozo, so let me translate: “It’s bullshit!” (Bullshit to the value of £17.20 – thanks, Amazon.) Egg-wrong rating: 3/5.
Watch Rhik wrangle with the surprisingly violent Eggstractor.
Lakeland’s Boiled Egg Topper (£9.97) is the unexpected catch of the day. It’s a Dalek’s eye that beheads boiled eggs with ruthless ease. Pop it on an ouef, draw up the spring-mounted topper and it cracks back satisfyingly, neatly scoring the shell along its perimeter so the top can be levered off. No more bread soldiers getting cold while I pick at boiled eggshell, the breakfast equivalent of finding the end of the sticky tape. Definitely using this again. Egg-wrong rating: 0/5.
Beep Egg timer
I unwrap Beep Egg (£13.95, prezzybox.com), a floating egg-timer from Germany. “It’s very high-t’egg,” the packet jokes weakly, before getting bossy and prohibitive. “Do not try to open Beep Egg! Do not discard Beep Egg in an open fire! Do not swallow Beep Egg!” It plays ringtones corresponding to how cooked your eggs are: Killing Me Softly for softboiled (inspired), It’s a Heartache for hardboiled (bit tenuous) and Chick Chicken for medium (essentially meaningless). What about Hard Knock Life and Stuck in the Middle with You? With might not be its forte, but the timer is superbly engineered. Egg-wrong rating: 1/5
The instructions on the DoraQ egg spinner (£11.99 from Amazon, when available) sound like a troubling drunk. “You can make eggs body dumped in the middle of a different rotation.” Sorry? “Housewives simply been thrown into intact eggs inside the eggs’ shaker.” The words have clearly been put through rudimentary translation software; while I’m gripped by the Gertrude Stein-esque prose this has generated, it’s getting me nowhere.
Okashina Tamago Mawashite flan maker
I turn to the $46 Okashina Tamago Mawashite Purin Egg Flan Maker (japantrendshop.com). The instructions are slightly clearer, being entirely in Japanese, and I find a video online in which a chorus of singing eggs show me what to do. Like DoraQ, the aim is to spin an egg, scrambling its insides and turning it golden. When gently cooked in the shell, it will turn to purin, a crème caramel dessert popular in Japan. Yeah, right. It’s basically a Kinder toy. I place an egg into a plastic chamber and pump a crank back and forth, spinning it dizzies. It’s like subjecting a tiny astronaut to centrifugal training. Following the video, I boil a pan of water. “Stop the fire and enter the egg plastic-wrapped,” the singing eggs tells me. Is this a plea for safe sex? Why plastic-wrapped? (Why any of this, I suppose.) I comply. After 30 seconds – as instructed – I take it out and leave it to cool. I have a bad feeling.
Okashina Tamago Mawashite flan maker
I’m ready for my purin. Caramel sauce standing by, spoon poised, I crack the egg. A neon puddle seeps out, covering the counter and dripping on to my shoes. It’s horrendous, an Exxon Valdez of smooth, liquid sick, a split colostomy bag. On the plus side, it’s a shade of yellow I’ve never seen before. A masterpiece of egg-wrong: 5/5.
I did later figure out the DoraQ sling, and can now whip up golden eggs to order. But the damage is done. It has been a shattering experience that has left me shell-shocked. I never want to see one again. My flat stinks to high heaven. I’ve learned to watch my back next time I’m on a farm, for the things we do to eggs are an insult to hens that will echo through the ages. The horror. The horror.