Am I little endian or a big endian?

Been given some lovely fresh eggs, thus soft boiled eggs this morning. Not really something I’ve eaten for decades. Which leads to the existential problem, am I little or big endian? This is, as we all know, an important decision.

So far, having had two yummies, all I can say is that further research is required.

39 comments on “Am I little endian or a big endian?

  1. What is your position vis-à-vis soldiers? Do you not find them unpleasantly militaristic in this new and more enlightened day and age?

  2. We get fresh eggs from a neighbour’s rare breed hens, they’re small but the yoke to white ratio is very good. Boiled eggs with soldiers made from home made bread, followed by home made marmalade on toast is my second favourite breakfast.

    I have no preference on ends.

  3. What is your position vis-à-vis soldiers? Do you not find them unpleasantly militaristic in this new and more enlightened day and age?

    Burning them slightly may tick some diversity boxes. Putting two together and opening them into the shape of a Y may tick others, but won’t be much use. A bit like the real thing, then.

  4. Whether you go for the big or little end should depend on whether you are a bludgeoner or an executioner.

    Bludgeoning works better from the big end: the air gap allows one to get the end of the tea-spoon handle underneath the shell more easily.

    Execution works better from the little end: there is more space from the end to the yolk sack, allowing one to execute and tidy up with less risk of yolk getting in the way.

    Maybe Tim’s extra investigation will allow him to advance on his shallow initial definition of the issues!

    Best regards

  5. I’m a poached egg man myself. I’ll cook them in an old-fashioned poacher, or just swirling in a pot, or – newest trick for me – in the microwave. In summer the microwave is the clear winner because the kitchen is quite hot enough without having pans of boiling water on the go.

    Of course you need a absorbent for the yolk . Toast is the classic but I find that a dod of mashed potato in a bowl does well – made the lazy way, with Smash.

    Remarkably I find all this quicker than boiling an egg and making toast. It’s a matter of taste how much butter or cream you add to the Smash.

  6. Stopped using instant when my dear departed father’s second woman turned her nose up at it as I made shepherd’s pie.

    She is a wonderful woman so no problem with her and she was right, the real thing is a wonder.

  7. Rupert Fiennes,

    I didn’t get this at all. Had to Google. And never everything related to the computer terminology.

    (I actually had to do something with low-level data recently and got into Endianness for the first time in decades).

  8. It used to be a sort of shibboleth to declare your adherence to the Motorola/POWER or Intel camps. It’s still a big deal as ARM cores can be either depending on decisions made during development so binary-safe code needs to be aware. Last time I had to mess with it was a few months ago when writing some low-level buffer munging stuff in Node.js. I still think big endian is more logical.

  9. Nigel S: “Execution works better from the little end: there is more space from the end to the yolk sack, allowing one to execute and tidy up with less risk of yolk getting in the way.”

    Agreed.

    I also like the method (from the Daily Mail!) of putting the egg in cold water, bringing to the boil, then turning off the heat and covering the saucepan and leaving for about two minutes. It makes for a more consistent firmer white.

  10. Get some point of lay hens, bog standard brown ones are the best (two are enough), they are cheap (about £7 each) and a bag of layers pellets (about £6 and will last 2+ months).
    They will lay after about a week and for the next two years you will get an egg per day from each of them, they will slow down after that (but still want feeding) so you can either keep them as pets for another couple of years till they die or you can replace them.
    Watching them scrat around in the garden is fun, they have a kind of mechanical motion that makes them look like robot dinosaurs.

  11. AndrewC,

    dependent upon your location, disposal of non-laying hens is either an expensive trip to the vet or a bit of squawking and a spade (for the squeamish, keeping them as pets is a cheaper than the vet, chicken feed costs chickenfeed).

  12. Why the spade? Sure, old hens aren’t likely to be all that tender but coq au vin deals with that. Why a spade when you’ve a pot?

  13. I suspect Rupert Fiennes is another emigrant from The Register. Do I win £5?

    Whoever called the addressing modes big-endian and little-endian is a genius because it describes them perfectly and it’s the archetypal trivial matter to go to war over.

  14. Tim,

    chickens for the pot are usually only a few months old*, a 3+ year old layer will be scrawny and tough, not worth the effort to pluck and cook. Just bury it under the rhubarb or blackberry bushes and eat it that way.

    (*industrial chicken pies use end of lay free range hens that are 12 months old, they replace the hens each year to maintain consistent yield of eggs)

  15. One senior partner I once worked for was in the habit of rearing a couple of pigs every year with the intention of packing them off to the slaughter house.

    He didn’t usually bother with names but one year he called them Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman.

    Hahaha.

  16. Yes, I know this, thus the coq au vin idea. Which is the peasant manner of dealing with a scrawny old bird.

  17. “a 3+ year old layer will be scrawny and tough, not worth the effort”

    I’m sure there’s some sort of comparison with women hidden in this but I’m not going to draw it.

  18. “the coq au vin idea. Which is the peasant manner of dealing with a scrawny old bird.”

    Ditto.

  19. ‘Which is the peasant manner of dealing with a scrawny old bird.’

    Yes but this is the first world, replace the scrawny old bird with a younger, more tender (and attentive) model.

  20. Endianness,

    most normal people use Big-Endian for numbers and Little-Endian for eggs thus demonstrating our superiority over both the intellectual and animal kingdoms.

  21. @rjb (and off topic)

    I sometimes wonder about the conformist mindset of much of The Register‘s readership. These are presumably intelligent types but they bleat like the Animal Farm sheep in the comments sections: ‘BBC good, Trump baa-d’, downvoting and self-righteously slagging off anyone with another perspective. Our genial host was on the end of it when he used to supply them with contrarian articles; he and that organ appear to have parted company, no doubt to mutual relief.

  22. I have a dozen rare breed here and the eggs have some noticeable difference in taste between types (araucana etc) When they are old a Chinese mother in law makes sort work…scrawny or not …chickens that is.

  23. I boil mine hard enough for the white to be solid, then tap them around the equator to break the shell and de-shell them.

  24. Answer to question: Big end up. Gives better access to yoke for dipping soldiers.
    Comments: Get a few hens. Talk to hen keeping neighbors. Bantam eggs are great steam-poached or fried, but for boiled you need full sized birds. Get a cockerel to annoy the suburban irks 😉
    Or ducks, great characters, delicious eggs, if you don’t mind your garden being trampled and nibbled to a swamp.
    And get some napalm for the fox…

  25. Tim

    Perhaps your treatment of hen’s eggs is morally questionable, as some at least may be fertilised. Following your, Ironman’s and SMFS’s ‘reasoning’, a hen’s egg is not merely a potential chicken but an actual chicken from the moment of fertilisation. No civilised person would boil a chicken alive, so how can you justify boiling a fresh and fertilised ‘live’ egg?

    Perhaps a fertilised chicken egg (though it has value) doesn’t have quite the same moral status as a live chicken? You know, like a fertilised human ovum is morally important but does not have quite the same value as a living human being?

  26. We got a dozen fresh duck eggs, yesterday, from a friend’s farm. At some point this morning, a Full English shall occur.

  27. Naah. You have to break too many of them to make a decent portion of pasta.

    Though poached quail eggs would be pretty show-offy. Must try it.

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