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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Boiling an Egg and the Eleven Plus

In what way can the preparation involved in boiling an egg be compared to the preparation for the eleven plus? Surely this is a question that mothers and fathers all over the country for the last fifty years have been pondering? I am grateful for our copy of `Woman’s Home Companion COOK BOOK’ published by Collier and Company in 1942. Our edition is the well used 1946 cook book. The preface points to a cook book by Eliza Leslie of Philadelphia in 1832 which pointed out the need for cook to demonstrate the art of writing recipes in which salient points can be grasped quickly. To quote Eliza Leslie, from a quote within the Woman’s Home Companion COOK BOOK, “The following receipts are drawn up in a style so plain and minute as to be perfectly intelligible to persons of the most moderate capacity.’ (A receipt in 1832 is today’s recipe)

The actual instructions for eggs cooked in the shell suggest that the length of time cannot be given exactly because it depends on a number of factors:

The size of the eggs

How cold the eggs were when they were placed in the pan

How many are cooked in the pan

Individual taste.

A soft boiled egg should have even coagulated white and yolk while a hardboiled egg should be tender and dry.

Bring the water to boil. Lower the eggs into the saucepan with a spoon. Reduce heat to keep water simmering.

Soft cooked 3 – 5 minutes

Medium cooked 7 – 8 minutes

Hard cooked 15 to 20 minutes

We can use the same instruction method for our eleven plus children. The instructions for helping a child towards the eleven plus must include thoughts on:

The ability of the child

How much the child wants to get into a grammar school

The amount and extent of help offered by the parents

To bring the child to the boil just before the eleven plus examinations:

Not too many papers and tests

Lots of revision and consolidation

An abundance of praise and support

Stick to these precepts and your child should come gently to the boil.

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