Who was the daring chef to make the very first omelet and defy all manner of French economical thinking? She or he was a courageous being, for anyone who knows the French knows they are thrifty and clever in all ways. Which means that to make an omelet meant breaking many eggs and those eggs – had they been left to brood – would have turned into chickens which, economically speaking, have the upper hand.
But no, culinary courage prevailed, and the omelet has become an iconic dish, popular in France since the Middle Ages when, it may appear, purse strings loosened a bit and the eating of eggs became less of an economic affront.
Renee Descartes – The First Omelet Lover?
Renee Descartes, the famed philosopher from the 16th century, certainly gave the omelette legitimacy. He was a penurious eater yet he allowed himself a “ragout” of eggs. There was a caveat: he only liked eggs that had brooded for eight to ten days, announcing that a one-day old egg was “detestable,” or detestable. No one knows who first took whisk to egg, but Descartes no doubt aided in it’s becoming popular, so that today it is a standard plat du jour, a typical and satisfying lunch dish, the quickest main course possible.
For me, it is a vital dish for anyone’s culinary repertoire, which is why I always included the proper way to make an omelet in every cooking class I held. This is because I love the dish, and I knew my public. They all loved cooking, each had a busy life, and a five-minute dish that ended up being savory and elegant was one of the most valuable tricks they took home with them.
The omelet is beautiful, too, because it is versatile. It can be so simple – eggs, some Parmigiano or Gruyere, a few mint or parsley leaves – and it satisfies. Or, it can become more substantial by adding bacon, or cooked potatoes, or more cheese, or just about anything you want. No matter, it’s a dish that takes minus-time to make.
The best side with an omelet? There are two. One, a simple green salad; the other a fresh baguette.