May I dip my English muffin in my egg yolk, please?

My wife seems to think it's not proper English to dip the muffin.

Published December 11, 2006 11:52AM (EST)

Dear Cary,

When my wife and I were having breakfast recently in a hotel restaurant, I noticed she had her "I can't believe what I'm seeing" look as I was dabbing my English muffin in my over-easy egg yolk.

I gave her my best "I can't believe that what I'm doing could possibly be wrong" look.

Simply put, she thinks it is not good or "standard English" manners to sop your egg yolk with English muffins, or even bread. I, on the contrary, think it is at worst colloquial, or even standard English to do so.

Can you help on this? Right now I'm left with hardened yolk on my plate in middle California.

Big Dipper

Dear Big Dipper,

I wonder where your wife got that idea.

Lots of people dip their English muffins in their egg yolks.

In Pennsylvania they eat something called dippy egg with toast soldiers. It can be with a soft-boiled egg and strips of toast, or with sunny-side-up eggs and other kinds of toast. It seems to me that an English muffin would be an acceptable variant.

What a lot of interesting customs there are for eating eggs. A man in England has invented the perfect cutter for toast soldiers.

How about another nice photograph of dippy eggs and toast soldiers?

Or perhaps this stock photo will better illustrate the concept.

Hungry yet?

I asked around and I couldn't really find anybody who would claim that dipping your English muffin in your egg yolk is impolite. I didn't talk to your wife, though. Should I have?

My guess is, pal, old friend of mine, good buddy, that it's something about the way she was feeling in that hotel restaurant that made her want to take control of the moment by acting like she knew what was what. Maybe you were embarrassing her in some completely other way that she was too polite to mention, like you were staring at your toast in a way that makes you look like you haven't fully evolved from the apes yet. That could happen. A lot of us guys, myself included, have a tendency to sometimes look in hotel restaurants like we're still dragging our knuckles.

And, truth be told, there is something about California hotel restaurants that will make you start thinking of etiquette rules that don't really exist. Like, isn't there a rule that says a guy should pull his chair out a little? He seems to be flying too low over the table. And isn't there a rule that says you can't look like you're reciting "Kubla Khan" to yourself while you're chewing a roll?

Oh, and the California bed-and-breakfast eating rooms are the worst. Americans pretend to be friendly, but they don't really cotton to eating at a big table with strange folk from out of town. First of all, you're not allowed to watch TV. People look around and don't see a TV and start pretending they were raised in English boarding schools. It's weird.

I figure you got off easy.

Dip away, big guy.

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