Cheaters Never Prosper: The Poached Egg Story

I’m here to tell you about the spectacular way that I prepare instant grits in about five minutes, but first I need to complain about eggs.

Poached Eggs

All that flapdoodle about how poaching eggs is a big stupid deal and it’s really hard to get it right and if you can do it then you’re fancy and everyone should learn how because when you finally make a proper one it’s soooo worth it? Well. I can tell you for sure that the part about it being difficult is way true, but I can’t comment on the other part.

I’ve spent all morning and some of the afternoon trying to get even one lousy egg right, and that was with the help of the egg-poaching training wheels (the Poach Pod) I got for Christmas. Without it, I guess I would’ve wound up passed out on the kitchen floor covered in egg slime, because apparently it’s even more impossible without the Poach Pod. I can scarcely imagine.

Poach Pod

Now, a lot of you have probably poached the hell out of some eggs, and I don’t mean to call anybody a liar. But after today I have a growing suspicion that poached eggs are a hoax originated by the egg farmers of America to trick millions of ambitious home cooks into cooking and wasting six times as many eggs as they can possibly eat in pursuit of an elusive (and totally fabricated) result, and that those same cooks must then bluff about their successful egg-poaching exploits or risk culinary humiliation. You’ll be pleased to know that I, however, didn’t waste my eggs. So I guess now we know how I die.

The closest I ever got to a poached egg was this half-cooked yolk experience with butter on it and craters all over from where the water dripped down from the lid because cooking it uncovered left me with dry, solid yolks. I’m not saying it wasn’t a tasty egg; I’m just saying the grits were better, and they didn’t take all day. I will revisit this egg thing again in the future. Today belongs to grits.

Poached Eggs

Instant grits can be heavenly with a little extra attention, and they still only take about five minutes. As you probably know, when you prepare them with water according to the package directions, the grits don’t actually taste like much. But if you make them this way instead, you won’t need to hide them with butter. Or cheese-food. Or table salt. And the only added work involves mincing a little bit of garlic—which can even be replaced with a spoonful of packaged minced garlic in a pinch.

Creamy garlic grits

Creamy garlic grits

Serves 4

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups instant grits
  1. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the broth, cream, water, garlic, and oh, say 1/2 tsp of pepper to a boil.
  3. Stir in the grits, cover, and remove from heat.
  4. Wait 1 minute.
  5. Fluff and taste; add more pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.


Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.

  • Featheredkitten
  • Ha ha! Egg poaching is something I have only done a couple of times and I’ll tell you it is very often not worth the trouble. I’ll take a fried egg and be pretty happy about it. Should you try again in the future, I suggest a little vinegar in the water and a large slotted spoon.

  • Njicki

    My food prep teacher taught us a cheater version of poached egg that is super easy and just as tasty. You heat up a greased frying pan over low/medium-low, crack an egg (don’t break the yolk), then when the whites go opaque on the bottom, you slide a tablespoon of water into the frying pan and quickly cover with a lid. Wait 30 seconds or until the top of the egg yolk is white, then take it out and eat it quick over your starch of choice.

  • FernVerde

    I am a new, huge fan. Just found you while searching for forgot-knows-what. My damn browser has too many tabs open because I keep swearing I am going to hand-write me some recipe cards from your stuff! You are unbelievably entertaining, but here is the stuff you must know about poaching eggs. The girl with the vinegar comment has the secret, if you check out Cook’s Illustrated’s copy of Best Recipes they will explain everything you don’t care enough to know but probably would have liked to know when you were testing that silly kitchen toy out. It is possible, but without the instructions right in front of me, its worthless to even try. keep making us laugh and adding to our crafting to-do lists! Pleez!

  • Oh that looks really tasty.

  • anjan

    Kristina, Your experiences with poaching eggs mirrors my early attempts. The key is farm fresh eggs. None of the eggs in most supermarkets, and even in Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s will work. You will need to get to a local farmer or a farmer’s market.
    I hope you give it a try, and wish you success.


  • Jeaux Brown

    Hi! I have been poaching eggs for years and still get frustrated. Sometimes they are PERFECT, others…not so much. The trick was in getting the water to a consistent whirlpool when putting the egg in. Not so easy if you are doing 2 eggs.

    Well…NO MORE! I bought the Poach Pods this weekend and got perfect eggs. One trick with poached eggs is to put apple cider vinegar into the water…helps the whites circle and form. SO, I did the same in the Poach Pod (after spraying with Pam cooking spray.) Added a few drops of vinegar to each, then covered the lid for 5 minutes. Absolutely divine eggs with no craters. Try it. To me, there is nothing better than a poached egg.