ELLEN MARCUS: Come On Give Eggs A Break
For the last 20 years the ingeniously packaged egg has been getting a bad wrap.
Yolks are going down the drain, and tofu is being substituted in omelets. Eggs have been deemed high in ugly fat and cholesterol, and I have to admit eggs are somewhat responsible. For years they have hung with the wrong crowd, the bad boys of America's grand-slam eye-opener -- butter, bacon, sausage, gravy, waffles and pancakes.
But recently, as I watched in shock as my father-in-law discarded the egg yolk with the shells I had to exclaim, "Do you know how hard that chicken had to work to lay that egg? You are throwing away the best part! Why even bother cracking the egg if you are going to waste it?"
Of course, he gives me the cholesterol and fat mumbo jumbo. Realizing that it is a losing battle, I think to myself "one egg in the mornings does not a heart attack make."
But apparently, according to nutritionists, heart-healthy tofu will make one mean omelet. Please, if you leave out the eggs you can't call it an omelet. It's a tofumlet, and I guarantee they are not all they are cracked up to be.
Eggs are manna from chickens. An egg is a single serving of nutritional goodness. Tofu is processed bean curd. Need I say more?
Of course, an egg is to a larder what turpentine was to Michelangelo. It is the unspoken ingredient that gives texture, height, depth and richness to a masterpiece, whether it be Granny Edith's pound cake or the Sistine Chapel. It is the foundation for light and fluffy matzo balls that no one can pass over. It is the silk of egg-drop soup. It is everything that's right in the world, chilled egg salad on toast with garden ripe tomatoes and iced tea summer lunch. It is as simple as an omelet and as complex as crme brule. Maybe it doesn't make the world turn but it sure keeps it sunny side up.
And there are facts to support the complete nutrition of a single egg. So I will stop beating around the yolk and get down to the nitty gritty: the protein found in an egg is the standard of comparison for all proteins. A whole egg has only 75 calories. Two hundred and thirteen milligrams of cholesterol does sound like a lot, but with new research showing that saturated and transfats are more likely to be responsible for high cholesterol than eating natural cholesterol, the egg's reputation is being redeemed. Eggs might not contain vitamin C, but the vast majority of minerals and vitamins that humans need are found in eggs.
So there you have it in an egg shell -- eggs are good for you. And if that is not enough, let me introduce my 91-year-old, light-as-a-feather Granny Edith who still mows her yard and cans pear preserves and tomatoes. Granny Edith, at least five days out of seven, eats for breakfast an egg, small piece of sausage, lightly buttered toast with a dollop of sweet and tart heady homemade blackberry jelly for breakfast. She is a beautiful example of moderation and no doubt would despair and shake her head at the dense large portions served in restaurants. Her longevity could be genetic; her mother lived to be 96. But having known both women, I have to believe it is due to their common sense and ability to recognize that a little bit can go a really long way.
Maybe it's time for nutritionists to give eggs a break. My sweet plump hens give me four eggs a day, enough for my family and even some to share. The chickens are happy, scratching out grubs, picking through the compost and bringing endless delight to my little girls who now believe every day is Easter.
Freshly laid eggs are the secret ingredient in my cakes that make people ask, "What makes your cake better?" And throw a rooster into the mix and wait 21 days, and they turn into fuzzy, sweet chicks scrambling across the yard.
One thing is for sure. No matter how you serve them, eggs will always rock 'n' roll.
Ellen Marcus is an Aberdeen freelance writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.
More like this story