by John Alonge, proprietor of The San Diego Wine and Culinary Center
On most days, the rustic-but-comfortable dining room at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch is a pretty lively place at breakfast time. There’s a fire burning in the oversized 1930s fireplace and a big buffet spread of coffee, juice, cereal, bread, muffins and other delights. At every table, animated conversations can be heard. Ranch guests, bent over steaming platters of eggs, bacon and hash browns, wax on rhapsodically about their plans for the day. Some will hike to distant alpine lakes high in the Sawtooth mountains. Others will take a fly fishing lesson. A few will raft or kayak some portion of the Salmon River. Everyone has some energetic plan for the day and wants to tell their tablemates what they’ll be doing before dinner.
So, on this particular day in July, when a hush fell over the dining room shortly after 8 AM, I looked up from my banana pancakes quizzically, wondering what had happened. Glancing to my left, I saw Brandon (one of the Ranch staff members) spinning around a table snapping photos. Paige, one of the other Ranch guests, was sitting squarely before a plate which cradled an egg creation of some sort swathed in a rich overcoat of red salsa and flanked by several quarter-folded tortillas and a bunch of plump, purple grapes. I wondered what all the fuss was about.
I jumped up from my seat to investigate. “What’s going on, Brandon?” I asked.
“Look at it!” he exclaimed with tantamount enthusiasm. “It’s an all yolk omelet!”
I peered down into Paige’s plate. Sure enough, her omelet exhibited a rich, deep golden hue of an intensity far beyond that of the ordinary egg scramble. I gazed upon it with rapture. I knew instantly that this was one of those moments of extraordinary significance that life reserves for us on very rare occasions. The extreme importance of the moment was just beginning to sink in.
Brandon continued to dance in circles around the table like a dingledodie, snapping photos at a frenetic pace. More and more people gathered to see what all the commotion was about. Soon, the focus of everyone in the dining room was the golden mass on Paige’s plate. Sandra, the General Manager, walked in and was instantly drawn irremediably into the egg-centric vortex. The fragile silence reigned like an ephemeral ice crystal on an aspen branch.
At last, after an anxious eternity, Paige picked up her fork and planted it in the preternatural pile of egg. Slowly, like a glacier advancing down a mountain couloir, she lifted the first all-yolk forkful to her mouth and engulfed it. Someone behind me gasped with emotion.
Immediately, I had a vision of tiny alevins, post-embryonic salmon rising from the gravel of the riverbed, a yolk sack attached to their tiny bodies for sustenance. Like some primeval ritual, the forkful of all yolk omelet being consumed by Paige joined the rich, protein-laced protuberance on the underbelly of the fledgling fish in a paroxysm of primitive life force. All the evolution of every species on the planet was suddenly nourished by that one single bite.
For that one, perfect instant, the future of the human race was assured.
John Alongé, proprietor of San Diego Wine & Culinary Center, known as The San Diego Wine Heretic, personally presents a variety of classes, tastings and seminars, demystifying the sometimes arcane world of wine and entertaining groups of all sizes. He is a much sought after speaker for corporate and private groups all over the country.