The poached egg might have been one of the first egg preparations I remember my Mom teaching me. I am sure she taught scrambled eggs prior to poached, but we had those a lot, so I probably learned by watching her.
Poached eggs were one of her favorites, especially for dinner over corned beef (from a can, the circles are very distinctive). I remember she and her friend Pat called this their favorite dinner during their “Salad Days”. Since corned beef in the can was relatively inexpensive, I always thought “Salad Days” meant the time when they did not have much money and had to go with whatever was least expensive. I came to find out later that it means a youthful time of indulgence
I have the pan that my Mom taught me to poach eggs in, even though it has seen many better days. If she was poaching just one egg, she would use the deep lid of the saucepan; two eggs and she would use the saucepan itself. No more than 2 eggs at a time in the pan.
First: Bring water to simmer in saucepan. Add 1 tsp white vinegar (I have used rice wine vinegar in a pinch. You want a neutral vinegar here, not some fancy flavorful triple reduction balsamic).
Second: Break eggs into a bowl.
Third: With a slotted spoon, give the simmering water a slight stir to create a circular movement in the pan. Add one egg at a time, allowing each egg to collect itself in the water before adding the next.
Fourth: If you keep the water at a simmer, you will have a nicely poached egg in about 4 minutes. You may need to test the time to find what gives you a finished poached egg that you like.
Some folks futz around with eggs cooked in plastic wrap, to keep them contained and fancy. And my husband will always use a special poached egg pan! What is your favorite way to poach eggs?