Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Egg And I

Non-cooks may have little interest in this post.  Or maybe there is something illuminating....

Here goes.  Anytime there is a holiday coming up, the star of the show is always.......( wait for it, but not really, since it is in the title)......eggs.  If there is one thing every family seems to need for the holidays, and I mean any holidays, it is eggs.  Or maybe, they aren't the star; they are just the power behind the throne.

Think about it.  Everyone is home.  You've got to put on a lot more meals, not the least of which is breakfast, and what you are looking for the most is eggs.

I feel like Bubba, in the movie Forrest Gump, because I am about to illuminate the many ways that eggs come into play:

You need eggs for breakfast, plus eggs for something special like pancakes or French toast or, for Christmas morning, something like Eggs Benedict or one of the many overnight French toast recipes or some kind of other breakfast casserole.  You need eggs for your Christmas cookies, your pecan pie or just about any other pie that you can imagine, plus any cake or other fancy dessert that you can think of.  There will likely be eggs in your stuffing/dressing, eggs in your asparagus casserole or maybe your sweet potatoes, in your giblet gravy or your popovers or bread.  They'll be in your potato salad or standing alone as deviled eggs, in your homemade ice cream or your eggnog or your leftover ham salad.  If you are not celebrating Christmas, they will be in the Chinese fried rice you get as carry out.

It is ironic, if not humorous, that various nutritional studies gave eggs a bad rap for so many years before exonerating them, funny because though we might have tried to minimize the number of eggs we ordered in a given week, that couldn't countermand the eggs that insinuate themselves into our most basic daily eating activities.

I have at least one friend who doesn't like eggs.  That doesn't mean he isn't eating them out the vying-yang; it just means that, for whatever reason, he won't acknowledge them in isolation.

Me, I love the stark egg-- the over-easy or medium, the poached, the lightly-dressed egg salad, the hard-boiled, the rolled omelet or oven-baked frittata or quiche.  If the egg is the star of the dish, I am probably both comfortable and excited.

Eggs are weird.  No doubt about that.  The Coneheads' characterization of them as "fried chicken embryos" is almost too real to consider while eating.  But for those of us who are carnivores, and for vegetarians who eat eggs, their taste and versatility is unparalleled.  There are so many other ingredients we might lose if we had to, but eggs?  They are that odd food that can be the basis of so many complex dishes, sauces, maneuvers, embellishments, and yet on their own, with just a little salt, they can sate almost anyone.

The egg has 80 calories.  And a fair amount of cholesterol of some dispute in terms of its danger. And fat.  And protein.  And sheer nourishment.  In this Christmas season, and in the thanksgiving one that preceded it, the egg's humble qualities make it the ubiquitous presence this holiday season.  At least at my table.

1 comment:

John said...

Sucker that I am, I was lulled into thinking that you'd be celebrating your BGE in this blog post; Harry brought home some duck from a hunting trip to Arkansas with friends yesterday and they're smoking along with some oranges and plums as an appetizer for Christmas Eve dinner, even as I write this. The eggs that come from chickens are good, too, though. Love your food writing.