It was my scrambled eggs that started this absurd train of thought. Now I knew that the Americans were fond of a dish called shirred eggs – and I always thought these two were one and the same. After all, shirring elastic gathers fabric up into a sort of scramble.
I started checking this out, and discovered that for years, I have been quite wrong about this. Actually, shirred eggs are known in Europe as baked eggs, or oeufs en cocotte.
[I don’t like oeufs en cocotte though]
But the recent discussion of teaching phonics, and the wonders of the English language got me thinking about the word shirred. I have never heard anyone use the word shirr, just shirred and shirring. That set me off on a train of thought about the words which rhyme with shirred, and the glorious variations of spelling.
As I shirred the third egg, the kettle boiled. But my tea tasted odd, so I inferred the kettle element must be furred up. I heard a man talking on the radio about his pedigree herd. Then I motored to school.
Isn’t it absurd that word after word can be spelt so differently and yet still rhyme? [Gove, move, love …]
On final question – what do YOU call the action of breathing on the window, in order to write messages in the condensation? I have always said “So I huhhed on the window” Which is yet another way of spelling the rhyme. The ultimate condensation writer was, of course, Miss Froy, in The Lady Vanishes.
And by the way, if you don’t like your eggs scrambled or shirred, but boiled, check out Jenny’s beautiful pictures on The Custards recently.