Eggs were a serious matter to my grandmother. She had strong opinions about what color the yolks should be, how the whites should perform, and how they should “set up.” She was famous for her angel food cakes, and even had a small side business baking them for others. I was always glad when there was a “customer cake” in the planning, because that meant that egg noodles would also be in the offing.
In the summer when I visited her in Greencastle, Indiana I was charged with the solemn duty of bringing the eggs from the local creamery. She carefully counted out the right amount of money and put it in an envelope in the bottom of the large basket that I would use for the precious cargo. I walked the short distance to the little block building that served as the distribution point to egg customers, and that processed for all the egg farmers in the area.
The creamery ladies were always ready for me. They selected three dozen or so eggs that they thought were perfect, and set them with great care in the big basket, counting them out for me. One, two, three, four… I handed them the envelope without looking at the amount, and they never looked at the contents, either.
Then, I walked as carefully as I could. Nitroglycerin has been transported with fewer nerves than I felt carrying Grade AA eggs home to my grandmother.
When I walked across the porch with the basket, she was waiting for me, her apron already tied on. She followed me to the kitchen table, and I set down the basket. She looked inside, and said, “These look pretty good.”
Out of my grandmother, that was high praise. I was lightheaded with relief.
She disappeared into the kitchen with a remark something like, “I hope this high humidity doesn’t affect the cake.”
I knew that good or bad, the cake’s fate was out of my hands. But I wasn’t really worried. I had never seen my grandmother fail to produce an angel food cake worthy of the name. Regardless, egg noodles wouldn’t be far behind.