Valerie King

Diary of a Leftover Egg White

Started morning innocently enough making Hollandaise sauce for lunch and found self with leftover egg white. Was going to tip blithely down sink when decided this positively immoral and shouldn't waste precious food blah blah blah, why not make meringues?

Dash out to buy more caster sugar and spend approximately £89 on variety of items not absolutely necessary but makes writing out cheque worthwhile.

Return home in lather and discover have forgotten to buy caster sugar because too busy purchasing special offer lamb shanks and squid ink linguine – this will enhance flavour of meringues how, exactly?

Spend not inconsiderable amount of time bending lamb shanks in order to fit into freezer and realise only possible way to get them in is to get enormous oxtail casserole out. Damn. Now got to find five people prepared to die horrible, spine-maddened deaths in order not to waste precious food.

Return to immense local superstore and opt for not using receptacle of any kind as will prevent me from buying anything other than bag of caster sugar.

Pay for caster sugar and fifteen other items could not resist on way to checkout and return home covered in double cream, top of which had burst when pierced with carving fork. How hell can carving fork have sell-by date?

Begin meringues by thoughtlessly cracking open second egg and discover now have left over egg yolk. Recall reading article somewhere about egg yolks being beneficial for hair and skin, then remember tried this before and home-made protein shampoo resulted in scrambled head, since water too hot when rinsing, but needed hot water to melt yellow glaze on face, looked like glossy cadaver with unnerving grin. (Unnerving grin brought on because spent time while face was setting reminiscing about when darling father decided to save money on expensive holiday suntan lotions and made own mixture incorporating olive oil and lemon juice, then sat in French sun accoutred in revolting nylon trunks and vinaigrette dressing, needed doctor within hour.)

Have brainwave, make Floating Islands, need custard, need more egg yolks, now appear to have leftover egg white.

Glower disconsolately at egg white, calm self with cook's mantra "Where the hell's the gin" make do with huge gulp of sherry from decanter – if that child swaps the labels one more time I shall swing for him – terrible waste of single malt – what else can you use single egg white for, decide first course for Murderer's Dinner must be Consommé Royale - will use poached egg white for stamping out obscene motifs to float in soup no-one will notice.

Kitchen now looks like Perfidious Albumen's Re-enactment of The Somme, can soon change that, make strongly-flavoured beef broth, kitchen now looks like abattoir.

Clarify broth using traditional method, involves two egg whites and shell. Now have leftover egg yolk.

Reach wearily for calculator, tot up morning's expenses, discover original egg white has cost £141.62 and tip egg yolk down sink.

(NB: A friend recently accused me of plagiarising Helen Fielding's staccato style for this piece – I responded by acidly explaining that nothing had been further from my mind. I was plagiarising Alan Coren's staccato style, actually, although I prefer to think of it as an homage, if only because, that way, it will probably cost less.)

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