Ode to the amazing egg
Musings on that wonderful orb produced by hens
Back to the egg
CN&R Managing Editor Meredith J. Graham recently took a plane trip and came back with one of those airline magazines you find in the pouch of the seat in front of you and read when you run out of things to do before you land. This one is called Spirit and it’s put out by Southwest Airlines.
On the cover of the April 2011 issue is a solitary white egg.
Inside is a 20-page spread devoted to the glories of that white orb. (How did they get so hip? Did someone on the editorial staff of Spirit read my GreenHouse columns on backyard chickens?)
“Its flawless design is everywhere, lending inspiration to everything from exquisite food to exotic furniture,” reads the teaser leading into the section. “Come with us inside the delicious, mystifying, and ever delightful egg.”
“Mystifying?” “Lending inspiration to exotic furniture?” I turned the page, wanting to know more.
The first story was an egg-centric essay called “A Study in Perfection,” by a Canadian journalist named David Sax.
“In the kitchen it is an all-powerful force of cooking, edible evidence of a higher power, if there ever was,” declared Sax of the egg, after writing reverentially of its many incarnations throughout time and cultures, including its use by the Easter Bunny, Lady Gaga and John Lennon as part of a song title.
“In many folkloric cultures, the egg is nothing less than creation itself, with our world hatching from its shell, fully intact.” This notion, I learned from Sax, is known as “World Egg Theory.”
The words of other prominent writers were featured as well—including Chicago chef Rick Bayless and novelist Francine Prose, whose playful piece explored the age-old puzzler, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
“The Book of Genesis is unequivocal about the fact that God created birds on the fourth day—so the egg must have come after that,” wrote Prose, before moving on to the fact that Charles Darwin was convinced the egg and the chicken “evolved simultaneously from earlier creatures that were like chickens but were not chickens and did not lay eggs.”
Needless to say, Prose’s clever essay came to no definite conclusion, other than that it makes no real difference one way or another.
Perhaps the most helpful section of Spirit’s lengthy paean to eggs was the one devoted to egg statistics and other info, such as the definition of “cage-free” versus “free roaming” (Cage-free hens are allowed to run around inside of a building, while free-roaming chickens have access to the outdoors for a minimum of 51 percent of their lives).
“The tastiest, healthiest, most humanely produced eggs come from your local farmer’s flock,” the reader is reminded. But a nutritional comparison of two types of supermarket egg—a cage-free, Grade-A, brown egg and a conventional Grade-A egg—showed that the former had the latter beat by far when it came to vitamin and mineral content. Additionally, the cage-free, brown egg was found to be lower in both cholesterol and saturated fat.
The furniture connection? Egg-shaped chairs designed by Scandinavians. I should’ve guessed.