It’s a Mystery to Me

February 21st, 2009

I love a good mystery and I love reading about food. One of the best authors who combines the two brilliantly is Rex Stout. Nero Wolfe is a detective who weighs 1/7 of a ton because of his passion for food. His other passion is orchids, which he raises in a greenhouse at the top of his brownstone house in New York City. He rarely leaves his home and has two employees who are indispensible to him. Archie Goodwin is his assistant who ventures forth from the brownstone to help solve the cases that Wolfe undertakes and Fritz Brenner is his Swiss born, European trained chef who collaborates with Wolfe in creating inspired meals. These books make me happy and I have been collecting them. They were originally published from 1934 to 1975. Many of them may appear dated, but it is like watching an old black and white movie from the 40’s. Some truths are universal and eternal. Dining well is one of them.

Breakfast in the brownstone was taken by Wolfe in bed. Now that is a custom that I could get used to. Fritz Brenner refused to fry eggs so his egg dishes were omelets, coddled eggs or this recipe for shirred eggs. Rex Stout even talks about a shirred egg dish for single servings. It would be interesting to find one in an antique store. I’m assuming he is talking about a kind of ramekin. For my serving I used a 6″x 8″ casserole and it was perfect. By the way I found 6 of these at The Dollar Store a few years ago. The recipe for shirred eggs and many more of the dishes discussed in the Nero Wolfe Series can be found in The Nero Wolfe Cook Book published in 1973 by Rex Stout and the editors of Viking Press.


4 breakfast sausages ( I used diced ham )
1 Tbls. butter
4 Tbls. light cream
4 large eggs

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 dashes paprika
chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brown the sausages in a skillet and set them aside to drain on a paper towel. Butter 2 shirred-egg dishes generously, add 2 tablespoons of cream to each, and slip in the eggs, 2 to a dish, being careful not to break the yolks. Arrange the sausages in each dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and chives. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are done to the desired firmness. Serves 2.

5 responses to “It’s a Mystery to Me”

  1. Kalyn says:

    Thanks for the encouragement on the house renovations! I know it will be worth it, but I admit, it’s starting to feel long, and I know I have a long time to go!

    The eggs sound wonderful. Fun finding your blog!

  2. Lulu says:

    I love Rex Stout! I read him when I was going for a surgery and wanted to make sure I had plenty to read. I’d always loved the gardening books by his siter, Ruth Stout, so I thought, “What the heck.” And it turned out his books were really good too.

    Lovely photo, by the way.

  3. Penny says:

    Kalyn, keeps us all up to date on the redo. We are all with you.

    Lulu, I’ll have to check out Ruth Stout. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. Penny, you’ve inspired me to read Rex Stout. Your shirred eggs look yummy and I second the idea of breakfast in bed.

  5. Natashya says:

    I love Rex Stout, it has been a while since I have come across any though.
    I even liked the tv series when it was on, I love the cadence of Archie’s dialogue.
    So wonderful that you have the cookbook – I could get used to these eggs being served to me in bed too!

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