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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

The Victual Forensics Department

Unfortunate Cooking

Come for the delicious recipes. Stay for the terrible story.

The Victual Forensics Department

Lynley Jones

Return to A Series of Unfortunate Recipes homepage.

In this penultimate post, we use advanced culinary analytics to assess Charles' omelette making techniques, and consider the side effects of hypnosis.

Partners in Crime

The phrase "partners in crime" is often used ironically to describe the kind of plucky characters who crack jokes as they work together to solve crimes or defeat the bad guys, or pull pranks on annoying children at summer camp. These characters will often get themselves into all sorts of trouble throughout their ridiculous escapades, as the audience members giggle along and root for their complicated shenanigans to succeed.

This omelette was perfectly made in the Adventure Kitchen, not poorly-made at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill.

At some point in one of these movies, a character often questions the wisdom of their elaborate schemes, saying something like, "Johnny, do you really think we ought to be hiding all of Billy-Bob's underwear in the freezer?" to which Johnny will reply with a wink, "Well, Tiffany, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs."

Making an Omelette

This is a metaphor, of course, because a well-made omelette is a deliciously soft bundle of eggy goodness, not a prank children play on one another at summer camp. And a poorly-made omelette is also not a prank, but rather a terrible travesty foisted upon innocent diners who simply want to enjoy a delicious meal of delicately cooked eggs, perfectly seasoned and sprinkled with herbs.

From The Archives of the Netflix Corporation

I recently gained access to the archives of the Netflix corporation by means of a spurious set of keys I fashioned out of paper clips. At length, I was able to find the Lucky Smells Lumbermill file, which had been filed under W for workplace accidents. In this file, I found definitive evidence that the omelettes Charles made for Sir were terrible. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but that is apparently how this story goes.

Someone must have gained access to the file before I arrived, because Page 13 was the only page left, and it contained only three photographs. Some of these images are quite grainy, but using the advanced culinary analytics I learned in the Victual Forensic Department at Lake Lachrymose Cooking School, I have been able to determine the following:

Charles can clearly be seen salting this omelette in the pan, after it is already nearly finished cooking. The most likely explanation for this behavior is that the eggs were not salted before being poured into the pan, which means that this omelette will be bland.

In this picture, Sir can clearly be seen eating an omelette which is quite flat and dull, rather than soft and pillowy.

Charles' omelette-flipping technique is flawless. However, this omelette has already begun to brown, and he is about to return it to the pan and cook it still further. The only possible outcome is an omelette which is tragically dry and overcooked.

Terrible Omelettes

I have not yet unearthed the evidence to explain why Charles would make such terrible omelettes for his partner. (Or, for that matter, why Sir was such a terrible partner to begin with.) It is possible that poor omelette-making was a side-effect of hypnosis, or that Charles was working on behalf of a secret organization to sabotage the Lucky Smells Lumbermill and help the Baudelaires. It's also possible that he learned to cook from Mrs. Poe. My research in this area continues, but what is clear is that Charles and Sir were partners.

Surely the Receptionist is a Villain

Dr. Orwell and her receptionist Shirley were also partners, but they were a different kind of partners. They were not the kind of partners who enjoyed omelette-making, and they were certainly not the kind of partners who enjoyed impish summer camp hijinx. Dr. Orwell and Shirley were the kind of partners who enjoyed "breaking a few eggs," a phrase which here means "conducting spurious eye exams, using hypnosis to exploit mill workers, wearing ridiculous disguises and plotting diabolical schemes to steal the Baudelaire fortune."

In short, they were not wisecracking characters in a fictional movie, but instead were horrible villains in a Netflix documentary.

They were partners in crime. 


Classic (Best) Omelette

If you would like to make a delicious omelette for your partner, this recipe gives you a detailed how-to so you'll know exactly what to do - and what not to do - so you don't serve omelettes like Charles'. (Spoiler alert: Step 1 involves breaking a few eggs.)

Trigger warning! This book contains terrible omelettes: