"Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng & steamed French eggs
Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You is a haunting portrayal of family dynamics and alienation. The story begins with Lydia’s death. While at first jarring, the early revelation becomes more clear as Ng weaves through the past, delving into each family member’s perspective by way of a roving third person narrator.
As time passes, it becomes evident that there is much kept behind closed doors in the Lee family. The older children, facing the challenges and loneliness of high school, are pressured too by their half-Asian American, half-white American heritage.
Their parents, Marilyn and James, are caught in a world that has yet to understand the nature of their interracial marriage. Their choice to turn a blind eye to the racism of their children’s peers and the effect it has on their family creates a ripple effect that ebbs throughout the novel.
Hannah, Nathan and Lydia’s younger sister, is caught in the crossfire of her parents’ desires for their eldest children and her siblings’ resentment for it.
As a first generation American, I was struck by Celeste Ng’s deft depiction of what it meant to be an Asian-American during such a tumultuous time. She carefully demonstrates the delicate balance holding this interracial family together, and too the aching sense of loss that permeates their life together.
Ng is a master of the family portrait, drawing a vivid image that is at once both haunting and strangely accurate in its portrayal of the way we struggle, all our lives, to understand one another.
This gripping page-turner is full of nuance and stunningly brilliant understanding of what it means to be a family.
These eggs are a breakfast treat. Whenever I have them, they remind me of all the comforts of home and family. In spite of its shortcomings, the Lee family is like any other. Throughout the book, breakfast reflects the climate of the family — the fluctuating relationships and degrees of understanding between the children and their parents.
I know steamed French eggs sounds a little odd, but trust me when I say that it is food perfection – fast, easy, and delicious (plus it makes you look so talented in front of your friends ;)). My husband discovered the recipe while watching chef Jacques Pepin work his magic in a few YouTube videos. We’ve been addicts of this breakfast staple ever since.
STEAMED FRENCH EGGS
- Eggs (as many as you want)
- Toppings: Tomatoes, spinach, pepper, parsley or cilantro (or whatever you like)
Fill a saucepan with a half-inch of water. Set to boil on high heat.
Grease a few small ramekins really well with butter. Place a few of your chopped veggies or just a pinch of parsley or cilantro at the bottom of each ramekin.
Crack one egg in each ramekin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the ramekins in the saucepan with boiling water (as many that fit). Cook, covered, for exactly 3.5 minutes for a runny yolk, 4 minutes for less runny, and 4.5 minutes for a completely solid yolk.
Remove the ramekins with a set of tongs and place on a towel to cool for a minute.
Slowly slide a butter knife along the edge of the egg in the ramekin.
Place a slice of toast on top of the ramekin and flip. The egg should fall out gently onto the toast, with the vegetables on top.
Serve and enjoy!