A Word About Eggs

You don’t hear too much about eggs — the occasional Get Cracking ad, maybe. Eggs got a bad rap back in the anti-cholesterol days and they never quite recovered, even though they proved themselves to be artery-friendly.

Eggs just keep a low profile now. They’re seen as kind of comical. I don’t know why. Maybe because the way they’re shaped or because it’s so easy to draw funny faces on them.

Some people don’t like eggs. I didn’t like eggs when I was young; a) because I had to look after our chickens and they were ugly and stupid and the eggs often came out covered in poop and they tasted like whatever the chickens had been eating the day before which could have been anything from dog food to soap; and, b) because my mother believed eggs had to be eaten plain and very runny.

Then, when I was a teenager I had a job going to the Kitchener market with a neighbouring farmer. We’d leave home around 3:00 am and stop for breakfast on the way. The first day the farmer ordered breakfast for the whole crew so I ended up with a plate of fried eggs, over hard. Then they passed the ketchup. Always being up for a new taste sensation, I gave it a try. And lo – I discovered eggs were not bad when cooked to solidity and smothered in ketchup.

My enjoyment of eggs grew in proportion to the time elapsed since I tended chickens.

Some people eat quail eggs and duck eggs and ostrich eggs. I’ve never tried them.

There’s a lot of mystery about an egg. Why are some white and some brown? What’s better – organic, free-range, free-run, Omega-3 or the cheapest ones on the shelf? Is there a real difference? I always get organic free-range when I can.

Do fresh eggs float or sink? And why? (I’m going to turn this one over to the Crack Watawa Life Research Team)

Which part turns into the chicken? Is it the yolk? Is it the white? Turns out it’s neither. A tiny white spot on the yolk called the egg cell, when fertilized grows into a chick. The yolk is food for the chick and the white stuff holds water for the chick and also protects it. The little holes in the egg shell let in air and at the fat end of the egg there’s a little space for an air sac. Who knew?

Then there’s that stringy squiggly thing attached to the yolk that keeps it in place. I hate that thing. I found out it’s called the chalazae. I always pick that out before making anything with eggs.

Eggs are kind of a super-food. They contain all the amino acids a person needs at only about 75 calories for a medium egg. They’re a good source of the different vitamins and minerals we need, except Vitamin C. Eggs are 11.2% fat: 17% of which is polyunsaturated, 44% monounsaturated, & 32% saturated.

You can make hundreds of things with eggs. Some are simple, some are not so simple. My favorite simple egg thing is an omelette, preferably with goat cheese and/or mushrooms. One day I want to go to Provence and have a fresh black truffle omelette.
Here’s another yummy egg thing:

Huevos Rancheros[1]
(serves 4)
3/4 cup bottled salsa
1 medium plum tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4, 7- to 9-inch flour or corn tortillas
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (packed) hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix first 3 ingredients in medium saucepan; set sauce aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla and cook until just beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Using tongs, turn tortilla over and heat 10 seconds. Transfer to large sheet of foil. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Enclose tortillas in foil and place in oven to keep warm.

Divide remaining 2 tablespoons oil between 2 medium skillets and heat over medium heat. Break 4 eggs into each skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until just set on bottom, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover skillets; cook until eggs are cooked as desired and cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Bring sauce to boil.

Divide tortillas among 4 plates. Top each with 2 eggs, then warm sauce.

[1] From Bon Appetit Magazine