Monday, May 09, 2011

Benefits From An Old Job

Back when I was trying to save up money for college, I spent a year working 10-hour night shifts at the Waffle House in Columbus, Mississippi. Waffle House is something of an institution down south. As a transplanted Yankee I had never heard of the place until I was applying for jobs all up and down Highway 45.

There were several attractions to working there. For one, during your breaks they let you eat as much as you wanted of everything they had, making it the perfect job for a bottomless teenager...

When I started at Waffle House "everything" included steak, and I took full advantage of that rule, sometimes eating 3 or 4 steaks at a sitting. Sadly, after a while they changed this policy to exclude free steak. I have no direct proof, but I've always harbored the suspicion that somehow I was responsible.

In addition to the steak, we were open 24 hours a day (except from 3 to 4, when we washed the place out with a garden hose), and this gave me the chance to see every slice of life there was in a medium-sized Mississippi town. After 1 a.m. the patrons of Cricket's Disco wandered in after their favorite establishment closed for the night. This may have been their wisest choice since we had coffee and they often had put away too much Cricket party beverages.

When dawn broke the Cricket's people were gone but a regular set of farmers, factory workers, and other hard laborers had taken their place, patiently waiting on their coffee, eggs, and grits. And all through the night, truckers pulled in and out, eating steaks and burgers, swilling down our coffee, and telling about where they just were and where they were headed.

Omelet Ambrosia
And then there were the omelets. Even though they are called the Waffle House, they are probably even better known for their delicious, fluffy omelets. It's amazing that simple eggs and cheese can taste so darned good!

Now, my hot, arduous, but filling time as a Waffle House cook is yielding extra dividends. In my neverending quest to get paid for writing stuff I am currently marketing my services to a company that produces, among other things, how-to's and useful information. Rather than submitting an older sample of my work I decided to put something new together over the weekend. As I cast about for an idea while making my Saturday breakfast, the idea struck me to tell the world how they to can make these heavenly omelets.

A little research revealed that Waffle House had actually released their secret recipe on the Web, so I was able to have a check on the accuracy of my egg making memory.

The results can be found below. Enjoy your next breakfast!


How to Make a Fluffy Waffle House-style Cheese Omelet

With over 1600 restaurants, the Waffle House chain is a fixture throughout the southern United States, and one menu item they are particularly known for is their cheese omelet. Many people say it’s the best omelet they’ve ever tasted. Fortunately, I once cooked for Waffle House and they are not stingy with their omelet formula. In this article I will show you how to make a Waffle House-style omelet right in your kitchen.

First, assemble your supplies. You will need:

3 large Grade A eggs
2 slices of American cheese
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
A 9 inch, light weight, non-stick pan
A whisk, fork, or blender

A medium-sized bowl
A small metal spatula

The key to creating a fluffy omelet is whipping the eggs until the mixture becomes foamy. Waffle House cooks do this using an industrial-strength milk shake mixer, but you can accomplish the same thing at home with standard kitchen implements.

Break the 3 eggs into a bowl large enough to keep them from spilling out while you whip them. Using a whisk or fork, beat the eggs vigorously for a full minute until they become frothy. If you prefer using a blender, mix your eggs on a medium setting for one minute. Unlike some omelet recipes, no milk or other ingredients should be added. The mixture is made up entirely of beaten eggs.

Slowly pour 2 tablespoons of oil into your pan over high heat. Let the oil warm until you see small ripples on the surface, then add the whipped eggs.

It is important to let the eggs set with as much frothiness as possible. The preferred method for doing this is to hold the pan over the heat and slowly rotate it in a circular motion so the outer edges of the omelet move toward the center. However, you can get the same result by gently pushing the solid edges toward the liquid middle with a small metal spatula.

Once the eggs become firm it is time to turn them over. Waffle House cooks are trained to flip them gracefully in the pan. Although this is the most effective method it takes practice and can result in painful grease burns on your hand and wrist. Unless you are a pro, you may want to simply use your spatula to flip the omelet over.

After it has been flipped, allow the omelet to cook for about 30 seconds. It is crucial not to disturb it too much during this phase. Otherwise the omelet can “fall,” just like a souffle, and you will loose all the fluffiness you’ve been laboring so hard for. Very slowly rotating the eggs is all you need to do at this point. Then, after 30 seconds, flip your omelet back.

You are almost there. Let the eggs cook for 30 more seconds. While you wait, take 2 slices of American cheese and place them on the omelet in a double diamond formation. When 30 seconds is up, fold the omelet so that the cheese is covered and slide it onto a plate.


Cubicle Decoration said...

I wish we got food in my cubicle farm! All we have is a water cooler!

BarryL said...

Crickets and Waffle House in Columbus were a very big part of my youth-great times! Thanks for the article.

Tonya J Perkins said...

Thanks so much for the excellent tutorial! I cooked my omelete on a mini griddle and added some diced ham and chopped broccoli slaw, but I was still able to come up with a pretty decent first try. The egg mixture stayed fluffy, and I was even able to "flip" it with a little difficulty. I did have to split the mixture into two, as i overestimated how much I would need for one person. But the omelete is delish and I can't wait to make it for my husband, who LOVES waffle house omeletes. Thanks so much, and I will certainly look out for your future contributions.


Pleonic said...