A hushed silence fell upon the huge Hogwarts dining hall. Even a couple of Hufflepuff girls who seemed pathologically incapable of suppressing their giggles for more than five continuous seconds had made a superhuman effort to maintain the decorous silence. Harry looked up at the beautifully decorated ceiling. He was slowly getting used to the idea that the wizards would decorate the ceiling in keeping with whatever special occasion they happened to be celebrating. Trees and baubles for Yuletide. Pumpkins for Halloween. And now, for the first time, it was Hogwarts’ turn to host the festival of EoMEoTE. To some people it would seem quite peculiar to decorate a hall entirely with eggs and bread in various forms, but when you considered the nature of EoMEoTE, it somehow made perfect sense. Here, a chandelier composed entirely of carefully blown dragon eggshells. There, a fan of bread slices baked using Granny Edna’s Novelty Exploding Flour (“every bite an explosion of taste!”). And of course, in a glass case near the stage, one of the school’s most treasured possessions – a slice of toast which, if viewed from a certain angle through very squinty eyes, bore the brown and crispy likeness of Godric Gryffindor, one of the school’s famous founders. It was a very impressive scene indeed.
At the front of the hall, headmaster Dumbledore slowly rose to his feet and cleared his throat and addressed the pupils. “Now that we have all finished our dinner, the time has come for the exciting part of the evening. As you know, students from magical schools all over the world have been submitting entries to Hogwarts – dishes conjured up using eggs, toast and a little bit of magic – for the festival of EoMEoTE. Tonight, before your very eyes, Hogwarts is proud to be able for the first time to perform the official EoMEoTE sorting. Our famous and much-loved Sorting Sieve will be placed over each of the submissions and classify it into one of the official EoMEoTE categories. Of course, when I say "official" you will recall that old Genus Grenville, who came up with the classification scheme for magical creatures, tried to persuade the Sieve to accept the 6 fixed categories that he had come up with. Genus argued that it would bring consistency to the sorting process, but the Sorting Sieve was none too pleased. That’s when the event had to he cancelled for a decade because the Sieve refused to speak. So now, we just let the Sorting Sieve make up the categories as he goes along."
Dumbledore walked over to where all the EoMEoTE dishes were arranged on a long wooden table with intricately carved legs. Dragons, hippogryffs, phoenixes and other mythical creatures swirled around the legs and gargoyles glared out from each corner (wizards are notoriously messy eaters – there’s always some gravy or something that needs to be drained from the table…). It was this magical table that Dumbledore now approached, holding the Sorting Sieve. As a culinary tool, the sieve had seen better days. It was a bit rusty around the edges and in one place the mesh was pulling away from the metal frame. Also, little bits of food had become stuck in the mesh (as is usually the case with sieves!) and had, over time, become part of the structure. So as a sieve, it was probably not the world’s most useful. But as a culinary sorter, it was the real deal. Gently, Dumbledore placed the sieve over the first plate. Nothing happened. At the Gryffindor table, Hermione looked at Harry and rolled her eyes. But then there was a sound unlike any they had ever heard. It sounded a bit like a very small, tired, gate squeaking, but if you listened carefully, you could hear that there were words there, not just squeaks, and that the squeaks had something to say.
“Now let me see, what have we here? It looks like, umm, a little pancake basket containing an egg from Saffron (The Food Palate). An egg hopper you say? Either sweet or savoury? Now that’s an interesting concept! . But despite telling us that this will soon appear on the school menu, there’s not much by way of a Hogwart’s connection, is there… OK, I think that makes it a Halfblood Prince. Next!”
And so, in what was to become a pattern over the next few hours, Dumbledore carefully picked up the sieve and placed it over the next plate. “Hmm. I’m getting two very different impressions here. On the one hand there’s a magical queen imprisoning Muggles; but on the other hand there’s this butler chappy who sounds awfully familiar. Stephen’s (Stephen Cooks) devilled egg salad makes a fine picture but it’s doing my head in as far as sorting goes! I think that makes it… a Doubledore, because two tales are better than one. Next!”
“Right, this one looks, erm, a bit spicy! Are those chillies I see on the Roti John that Julia (Armoacookery) has submitted? Hmm, more fiery than a Phoenix’s kiss. But wait – there’s no magic in evidence here at all (apart from the everyday magic that is cooking…)! So that means it’s a Muggle Munch! Neeeeext!
"Onward and upward. Well hello! What have we were My favourite publication Witches’ Weekly has just published an interview with GIlderoy Lockhart! And that Nupur (One Hot Stove) is one hell of a witch – I mean, she has got the "huevo rancherosum, apperatum" spell down pat, and it’s one of the tricky ones. I mean, I’ve seen grown wizards cry as their tortillas burn, their yolks break and their magical beans un-fry themselves. But Nupur makes it look easy. I reckon this is Gryffindor Grub for sure!"
"Now here’s an interesting one. I’m hearing the distant sound of the castanets, but then they’re being drowned out by an addictive dance beat. Hmm, interesting. And I know the pupils are allowed to go to Hogsmeade, but Ibiza?? Maybe they are all lured by the culinary siren song of Sarah’s (The Delicious Life) Spanish omelette – who knows. What I do know is that we have to create a new class for this one – it’s a Harr-E Potter. I may be just a humble kitchen utensil but I know what goes on in these clubs!"
"I seek it here, I seek it there… but I don’t see the egg in this one! In the mayonnaise? Really?? And what – am I supposed to believe that eggs and oil and lemon juice actually become mayonnaise? Never heard of such a thing – what will these culinary wizards think up next?? OK, so assuming that the mayonnaise counts as the egg… where’s the Hogwarts connection? Erm, not sure cooking in fancy dress counts, even though Elizabeth’s (Blog from our Kitchen) BLT sandwich sounds fab. So that makes this another Muggle Munch. Next!"
"Here’s one that reminds me of a movie I once saw – Dobby Does Eggs. Oops, no, it’s house-elf Casey that does the eggs. And there probably isn’t much in common with the film I’m thinking of, except of course that eggs get laid and so does… erm, never mind! I’m still deciding whether the fact that Clare (Eat Stuff) enlisted the help of house-elves to whip up this fab cooked breakfast is against some obscure Hogwarts rule, but for now I’ll class this as a Ravenclaw Repast. Who’s next?"
"Ah, I see my old friend Sybil Trelawney gets a mention in this one. I’m astounded at the shock revelation from Mrs D (Belly Timber) that Sybil made a third correct prediction in her lifetime. That woman’s talents know no bounds. And isn’t it fortunate that the prediction relates to eggs and toast? The Turkish delight that is cilbir was predicted and duly materialised, much to the delight of the Chief Counsel for Culinary Conduits of Clairvoyance. This is vintage stuff – Gryffindor Grub all the way!"
"You can see it’s summer and people are craving cold food – like a curried egg salad. This one looks really good – the lovely gold of the yolks and the curry, the vibrant red of the chopped tomatoes… As Foodnerd (Foodnerd) says, it looks a little like the Gryffindor colours. But oh, the amount of (self-confessed!!) whining about the theme… This is EoMEoTE, not whine & dine (although that could be a fun idea…! – Ed.). I think I’ll class this one as a Moaning Myrtle Next, please!"
"Mmmm, this one smells really goooood – Mcauliflower (Browniepoints) sure knows a thing or two about eggs and bread. My interest is piqued – crispy eggs and instant toast?!? And look at how the story is just festooned with spells, magical creatures, bickering between Harry and his friends, quidditch… You name it, this story’s got it. Definitely Gryffindor Grub! And on we go!"
"This is another one giving me mixed signals. It’s breakfast… but it’s also dinner? Maybe some sort of spell that plays with the space-time continuum? But no, I can’t detect a whiff of magic around this one. Viv (Seattle Bon Vivant) tells us about the restaurant where she had breakfast for dinner, but not a wizard in sight! So that makes this another Muggle Munch."
"Oh my, here’s another spicy one – I’m sure anything that smells this dangerous should be confined to a Professor Snape’s Potions class! And what’s all this I hear about Harry flying south on his broom? Maybe if he’d paid more attention in class, he wouldn’t have been so surprised by Mia’s (The Skinny Epicurean) spicy breakfast tortillas. A litttle knowledge is a dangerous thing, you know. Either way, I’d make this a resounding Ravenclaw Repast. Moving along!"
"Doesn’t this one look lovely? Like a little rising sun of eggy goodness. Sylvie (Soul Fusion Kitchen) is not at all confused about how to make a satisfying breakfast out of egg salad on an English muffin. But she is a bit confused about the plot, place and characters. Kansas?? Wrong wizard, methinks! And so, as she’s also woven two tales into one, she joins Stephen as a Doubledore. Next, please!"
"Excellent – something sweet at last! This one’s definitely a pie – nothing quite like eggy custard in a pie, I tell you! Lady Amalthea (Noshes Thoughts Reves) assures us that no magic was used by Harry and his friends in the making of this egg custard pie, but that Mr Weasley created the flaky pastry crust using magic. Hmmm, could that have been the famous TraderJo spell?? Either way, the wizards are well set for a midnight feast with this one – I declare it to be a Ravenclaw Repast!"
"Now there’s something you don’t see every day. Ham and bacon being held prisoner by some pretty solid-looking bars of egg?? Prisoner of Eggsbaconham?? I think there may be a book title in there somewhere… Maybe Stephanie (Dispensing Happiness) should have a word in Ms Rowling’s ear! I have to say that for sheer inventiveness I think this one qualifies as Gryffindor Grub! Neeeeext!"
"This one looks like a mystery – a real case of cloak and
dagger egger. Sam (Becks and Posh) seems to present us with a delightful eggy-bready-custard confection, surrounded by berries – and it’s all local produce! But sadly, the invisibility cloak that she has borrowed from Harry has disapparated the recipe, so I guess we’ll never know… And then our Sam, as a Muggle, uses the invisibility cloak to disappear herself!! So I’ll class this as a Ravenclaw Repast, because what it lacks in detail, it makes up for in barefaced cheek! Are we almost done?"
"What’s this – more egg salad? Aaah, but this is egg salad with a difference. I sense lots of care and attention going into this one, and lots of herbs. Oooh, maybe Professor Sprout should have a look and add some magical plants as well! Lindy (Toast) didn’t think I’d be willing to judge her Eastern European-influenced egg salad but I’ll prove her wrong and class this as a Muggle Munch. Next!"
"Aaaah, after all these new-fangled egg salads and toasted bagels, it’s nice to see a return to traditional family values and a good old breakfast fry-up. Augustus Gloop’s (Grab Your Fork) eggs, bacon, toast, fried tomato… what could be better to cure Harry’s little hangover and, erm, soothe his troubled mind as to what happened last night as he wakes up minus his robe (and everything else!). Is that your wand are you just happy to see me… yikes! I had this one pegged all wrong!! It’s not Gryffindor Grub, it’s definitely Order of the PhoeniXXX!!"
"Nearly there now. And what, may I ask, is this?? Andrew (Spittoon) starts off with a perfectly reasonable fried egg on toast but then he produces his secret weapon – the absolutely ginormous dragon bacon! I think of it as a self-heating foodstuff – I mean, bacon off the rump, heat from the front – crispy bacon in seconds! Either way, I’m still wondering what exactly Andrew was smoking when he came up with this one. With that in mind I think I’ll have to class it as a Harry Pothead!!"
"Oh bugger, it appears to be contagious. Just as I get the alien vision of dragon bacon out of my head, along comes Anthony (Spiceblog) with an even more disturbing vision. NO bread. NO dragon bacon. One egg. One extremely large hammer and a couple of totally horrified looking mini magical creatures. One very messy pont of impact. I have no choice – this one will have to be a Philosopher’s Stoned. Because I have no doubt that he is!! Take him away!"
"And finally, the last dish! What have we here… Yet another new professor at Hogwarts? I can’t keep up! Jeanne (Cooksister) explains how Harry comes to make eggs, toast and sausages in the Gryffindor common room using said professor’s carbonarum spell. Well, what else did you expect from a visiting South African wizard? And his hunting crocodile??! I make this one a final Gryffindor Grub, I think."
"And now I’m off back to the baking cupboard if you don’t mind. I have a hot date with a sexy little pastry brush that I don’t want to miss. So farewell Dumbledore & the rest of you and don’t forget to pop by again soon to see what next month holds in store for EoMEoTE!"
[P.S. - if you want to read about the history of EoMEoTE, there's a whole bunch of links in this post covering previous incarnations...]