Monday, June 14, 2010

The Physics of Egg Half Fry

The newest bug which has caught me is nowadays is cooking. Now , I  realize that at 26 years of age , I am a late starter in this sophisticated field ,  but none the less , as I always say to myself before trying anything new  - 'Everything is difficult before it become easy' , hence here  also , I decided to venture on this new field with enthusiasm. There was certainly a huge  lack of skill, but apparently no lack of will.
Bear in mind that , that until I caught this bug , I have never even boiled water. So everything I try provides me a  new set of  leanings and new set of rules . It is a different matter that it provides my kitchen with a new set of accidents.(and the set of accidents is , I must confess , is by no means small ).
I know my limits (or maybe not , that's why I am cooking ) , hence I decided to start with the innocuous egg half - fry.Now all of you would say that it is one of the simplest thing in the world - Put a pan on the gas , break an egg on the pan , move the pan here and there a bit and you get an egg half fry as seen in pic below.Add salt and spices as per your taste.And that's about it . Simple !

Well things were somehow not so simple when I tried it.
I certainly put the non-stick pan correctly on the gas and I certainly turned on the gas .(important step else how will the food cook - I thought it myself , it was not even mentioned in the recipe book ! ).
Then I took an egg , hit it with a spoon so that it cracks and dropped the inner contents of the egg on the frying pan. Within 30 seconds I learned , the non- stick pan is a misnomer as my egg got stuck on the pan's surface badly, I somehow scraped it off from the pan and placed it in the only place it was worth placing - the dustbin.
After much extensive research on the internet , I discovered that even in non-stick pan one has to put some oil on the pan's surface to avoid sticky incidents.I started wondering if the 'non stick pan' should actually be called 'nonstick only after using oil pan' , but decided to think over it on a later date and came back to give another attempt to the egg half fry.
On coming back to the cooking area , I realized that  I  had forgotten to turn off the gas.But that's not such a big deal , is it ? I took back the misnomer non stick pan , put it on the gas , put some oil on it , let it heat up a but and cracked an egg on it again.Much to my disappointment , as the egg touched the pan , the inner yellow portion(yolk) of the egg burst open and spill all over the pan.My initial impression was that it must have been an egg of a chicken with weak inner strength and feeble character.But then I though - Chickens cannot be humans , hence there must be some other reason.
And then it stuck me - it the same thing which has been the cause of all those injuries to me during my childhood - Newton's acceleration-due to gravity  g . I realized that I must not drop the egg from a very high height else it will fall down with a faster speed due to gravity and hence spill open on impact with pan. Now the next confusion was what is the 'break point height limit' of each egg. They should mark it on each of the eggs else how will one know after which height the egg will break. But I thought , that it expecting too much from technology.Maybe, after a decade or so it would be mandatory to sell eggs with break point height linit marked on them. I realized , I  was going ahead of my time so I broke the chain of thoughts and came back with a fresh egg.
Now this time , I did everything right -  pan , oil , heat , correct height , but for some reason I got another unexpected output.The yellow(yolk) which is supposed to be in the center (refer the pic) with the white albumen  surrounding it was actually present on the edge of the white albumen. It seems as if the it wanted to leave the white bed and venture the world on it 's own. I know what you are thinking - the egg has the characteristics of traveling , it must belong to a migratory bird.
But alas , my friend - in this world there are no simple explanations.It turns out the culprit was center of mass , trigonometry and of course gravity. See,at the time of cracking the egg, if the egg is not parallel to the surface of the pan , then all the inner contents of the egg will slide to one side of the egg and the force of gravity (mg) will split into mgcos@ ans mgsin@ (will always was a bad thing while solving physics problems in school), which will cause your yellow yolk liquid (which is heavier compared to the white albumin liquid) to fall away from the exact vertical point below on the pan.The white albumen liquid , on the other hand , which has lesser weight and lesser self - ego  will not be bothered by this incline and still fall in the center.The end result will be a displaced yolk in the half fry.
It took me 3 eggs to experiment with and confirm my research. It would have also calculated the angle @ which causes the yolk to fall out of the white portion completely of the half fry - it would have been a breakthrough discovery (just like the calculation of escape velocity - the minimum  velocity which is required by satellites to launch them successfully in the earth's orbit ) but I was running out of eggs , hence I had to put my enlightening research on hold.
Now all excited - with pan , oil , heat up of pan , correct height , no incline - I cracked the egg and VOILA  (or maybe WAKA   - the phrase of the moment - thanks to FIFA and Shakira ) -I got a perfect half fry egg.
I gobbled it up after adding salt to it and rushed to write this blog to tell everyone about it.
After the successful half fry and this blog , I feel so satisfied with my efforts - now there is no chance of anything going wrong - or is it ? Damn , the gas is still on ................


  1. :)) i was there when u made all these experiments.
    also hey post it on enagar.

  2. @ enagar - Indeed !!! have posted it on enagar - submitted for review

  3. there is a problem with the first post... now everything should work fine

  4. Shobhen truly funny. God cooking isnt rocket science because there isnt any science. Its all about heart. No complex angular velocity, centre of gravity, integration to be done. Its just sometimes a dash of pepper, a pinch of nutmeg powder and cooking with LOVE that makes all the difference

  5. @ Tenzin (aka aberrated) - I truly agree to what you say - I can feel the same when i am cooking - but I thought why not apply some physics humor to the process:)).
    And as far as cooking goes - I agree -
    "One may forget to add a few spices and masalas but one must never forget to add the LOVE."
    PS - have registered as a follower in your blogs - with for a post especially in the Ode to Cooking one.

  6. I'm sure its very funny to watch you in that complicated situation..hehehe
    what the mix, physics + humour + cooking! must be gud :)
    liked a lot!
    Dont forget to add love at the next time! As ur friend told u.

    p.s: but nothing like the mom's egg fry, no? She need only love. :)

  7. really a different approach finding why the yellow part floats over albumen.....:))...a conducive and auspicious approach...heee hee...awesome!!


  8. @ Mari - Thanks for your comments .
    Hope you had a good time reading it
    Nothing like mom's egg fry - thats why I am going home on vacation :))

  9. @ Pallavi - thanks so much. It was fun embedding physics in it. The egg frying incident is a trur incident in my short cooking career.

  10. You indeed are a super cook in making.. but if you make your recepies public.. who will buy your book :D
    Interesting writing style.. pretty impressive..
    ..I can already smell the next one in row..

  11. @ Nea ! - Thanks = after reading my receipe and methodology maybe everyone will get confidence that they can do better and hence start cooking -
    the next article is heavy material - it has actually now been posted !

  12. good one..eggs are sophisticated but the sophistication is supreme wen we gve them the name of omlette..hehe..stat stunning..sanjeev raj

  13. @ Sanjeev - Thanks ! looking fwd to more posts in ur blog also.....ande ka funda :)))