Note to self: working night shift blows the blog schedule all to pieces. I get a couple of hours in the morning to play with Junior, then we both have a nap, then I have half an hour to shower, dress, and wolf down a snack before distributing kisses and hugs and heading to work.
Yet another reason to avoid eggs for a while.
Well, aside from the salmonella recall, eggs contain large amounts of tryptophan, that sleepy-time amino acid responsible for post-Thanksgiving food comas across America. The last thing I need before a ten-hour night shift is a dose of Nature's Nytol.
I do love eggs, though. Let’s look at the three basic parts of your average egg. There are actually fifteen parts to a chicken egg, but I’ve got a time limit. We have the shell, with that membrane inside that makes peeling a hard-boiled egg such an exciting task. Next we have the albumen, or “white”, followed by the vitellus, or “yolk”. Each of these parts is edible, though not equally tasty.
Most eggs found in stores are white or brown, but chicken eggs can range in color from pale pink to a startling green. The color depends on what kind of pigmentation occurs while the egg is forming in the oviduct. Pink or green eggs may look weird, but no evidence has been found linking egg color with nutritional benefits. Eat and enjoy.
The albumen is the cytoplasm of the egg, and contains mostly proteins and water. The albumen acts as a suspension system, supporting the yolk and protecting it from impacts. It’s also a source of nutrition when the egg is fertilized and produces an embryo.
An egg yolk is said to be the largest single cell around. One of the few foods that naturally contains Vitamin D, egg yolk is also a great source of Vitamins A and E, protein, and choline. It also contains cholesterol and fat, making the egg a center of nutritional controversy for the past several decades.
While the brightest egg yolks are generally believed to come from healthy, well-fed hens, it turns out that some cheating is possible. A diet of little to no color will produce a nearly colorless yolk. Some not-exactly-ethical egg producers will introduce things like marigold petals into the diets of their hens, hoping to boost yolk color. This is a no-no in most areas.
Once fertilized, an egg can become a future chicken. For this reason, some folks avoid eating them. If you’re not one of them, take a few precautions with the eggs you eat. Keep them cold. Avoid using cracked eggs, as bacteria can enter the broken shell and make your life unpleasant. Skip raw or undercooked eggs for the same reason, unless you’d like to make the acquaintance of Sam and Ella.
If you’re not sure about the age of an egg, put it in a bowl of water. There’s an air sac at the end of each egg that expands with age. If the egg stands on end, it’s iffy. If it floats, pretend it’s a bomb and dispose of it carefully.
So now you know a little more about eggs. As to whether or not they came before chickens, well… I wasn’t there. All I know is that cakes and farmyards wouldn’t be the same without ‘em.
How do you like your eggs?