About the Name:
This recipe is named after the 12th book in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories: Message in the Hollow Oak. Like the cookbook, there are two versions of this book in existence. Unlike the cookbook, the two versions of the story are completely different.
The version of the book written in 1935 is Nancy’s first adventure outside of the USA. She wins a tract of land in Canada and along the way helps a sad young writer reunite with her grandfather and fiance and finds gold.
The revised edition, written in 1972, is about Nancy getting called to Illinois to solve a mystery that baffled professional detectives, involving indian burial grounds and archeologists.
It has been a while since I’ve read the revised edition, but I doubt that it ever mentions Nest Eggs. That said, in the original edition, while the eggs were never mentioned, they did state that Nancy and her friends ate plain but hearty food several times. This meal can definitely come off as plain but hearty.
About The Recipe:
The only difference in the two versions of the cookbook is that the old recipe specifies using white bread, while the new one does not. I used homemade white whole wheat bread, made the day before.
This is a fairly popular American breakfast. While this recipe calls it Nest Eggs, it is also known as Eggs in a Basket or Toad in the Hole, among other names.
The basic dish is eggs sunny side up* cooked inside toast.
Taste: I don’t always like eggs, but this recipe is okay. The toast helps balance out the eggs perfectly, sopping up the yoke after it’s broken. I burnt my toast, and my eggs were a little under cooked, so overall I’d give this an average rating.
Ease of Preparation: This is a pretty simple recipe, especially if one already knows how to cook eggs sunny side up. The hardest thing is to cook the eggs without burning the toast. Total Cooking time: 10 minutes.
Clarity of instructions: This recipe says to ‘dig out a nest’ Most other recipes for this type of food specify using a cookie cutter or upside down cup. I made my nest too small, resulting in an undercooked egg and burnt toast. Also, it gives the common but vague ‘sprinkle with salt and pepper’. The recipe also fails to state that the oil needs to be hot before putting the bread in. An experienced cook would know this, but since it is a children’s cookbook I’m taking off a point. Other than that, the rest of the recipe is very specific, giving an estimated time for how long it takes the eggs to set, which is very useful for a beginning cook who may not know what set eggs look like.
Presentation: This is a very pretty dish. It smells great and looks nice on the table, even if it’s a little burnt or undercooked, as mine was.
Conclusions: While this is a good recipe, There are a few things in the clarity of instructions that could be improved, so I’m taking off a point for that. I’m also going to take off a point for the taste, but that is because I am not a huge fan of eggs, and there was nothing spectacular about the recipe that could overshadow its basic fried egg theme. If you happen to like sunny side up eggs, add a point back in. (My taste tester, who likes eggs, gave them a 9/10).
*Eggs sunny side up are not considered safe, as it leaves the eggs partially uncooked and thus has a greater chance of containing unhealthy bacteria. That said, raw eggs have more nutrients.