Boiled Eggs, soft and hard

My mother made a soft-boiled egg for me every morning of my childhood.
I have fond memories of those eggs.
I remember her spooning the egg into my greedy mouth.
Salted. The egg.

Not particularly fond of the finished product.
Because my mother, the quintessential Italian, cooked by intuition.
And she hovered over the pan for the entire time, first waiting for the water to boil before she added the egg, and then watching the eggshell for any sign of readiness.
“Do you think the egg is done now?
“I hope it’s done?
“Is it done?”

We never knew if the egg would be close to hard-boiled or still uncooked.
Cracking the shell always a moment of pressure.
Kindness, I’m sorry to say, I didn’t acquire until much later in my life.
And a stingy portion at that.

Here is a foolproof way of boiling the perfect egg, every time after the first couple.

Have a timer handy.
Choose a small saucepan. Use the same saucepan every time you boil eggs.
Choose a burner. Use the same burner every time you boil eggs since burners vary in temperature.
Always use the same sized eggs.
Always take the eggs directly from the refrigerator and put them into the saucepan.
Pour tap water to cover the eggs, and to the same exact in the saucepan every time.
Put the saucepan on the burner and turn it on to exactly medium.
For soft-boiled, set the timer for 8 and a half minutes. For hard, sixteen minutes.
Once we turn the timer on we can walk away from the stove until the timer reminds us.

Timer goes off. Eggs come out.
The eggs have no choice but to emerge from their baths cooked exactly as they were last time.
And we don’t have to wait for the water to boil before putting the egg in which saves half the attention boiling eggs otherwise require.

Run cold tap water over the eggs for 10 seconds which encourages the shell to separate from the egg.
For soft-boiled eggs, tap the eggshell on the larger end because that has a bit of an air pocket and separates from the shell easily.
For hard-boiled eggs, crack both ends of the shell and then roll the egg on a hard surface to entirely crack the shell before peeling.

Eat soft-boiled eggs with a grapefruit spoon which slices through the cooked white without needing pressure to break through to the yolk. That pressure sometimes leads to a yolk that squirts out from its confinement.

The first eggs will likely be off fractionally.
Adjust the cooking time to suit the egg to taste.

In my experience, as long as you're using the same sized saucepan and the same amount of water, the timing stays the same.
But for a lot of eggs, in a larger saucepan, take a good guess.
It'll be better the next time.