Eggs go a ways back in my family, and are considered nostalgia food for me. As a child, I remember eggs were always available in our household. When I look back, eggs were symbolic in that we didn’t have meat at times, so my mother used eggs as a protein substitute. Little did I know that eggs had so much protein? For example, eggs have 60% of protein in the white part of the egg, and my mother was very particular about making sure we got a balanced diet. It was either eggs or government peanut butter which was served on a regular basis; however eggs became the staple food in our kitchen. There were nine siblings in our home, so my mother became very creative when cooking food. She learned how to stretch what we had available and used eggs whenever there was not much else to eat. For instance, my mother would cook a big pot of grits, and serve them with eggs on top. She also prepared scrambled eggs and occasional bacon served with toast. Sometimes we were given plain eggs without any sides because it was all we had. Deviled eggs were a delicacy, and were served only on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. On occasions my mother would allow my siblings and I to boil a few eggs for Easter, but most of the Easter eggs we enjoyed eating were from the local Sunday School Easter egg hunt.
Eggs connect to my childhood in other way too. First, when I was in kindergarten, my mother used to send me on school field trips with an egg sandwich for lunch. Needless to say I was embarrassed because other classmates had bologna, and other lunch meats we could rarely afford. Secondly, high school was when I learned to appreciate eggs. I began to cook my own egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast before walking to school in the morning. For example, my daily routine was to prepare two scrambled eggs with a little butter and a dash of salt and pepper. The eggs were placed between two pieces of “wonder bread” with a slice of government cheese. The energy I received from eating the egg sandwich always sustained me until lunch was served at school. Now that I am older, I keep eggs in my refrigerator the same way my mother used to.
Traditionally, I use eggs for breakfast, and find myself eating egg and cheese sandwiches occasionally. Ironically I despise Bologna as adult. I also make deviled eggs as a treat during the holidays for the entire family, and often switch up the stuffing using bacon bits for added flavor. Carrying on the legacy of my mother, I am reminded of her during the holidays especially when cooking deviled eggs. Eggs are also eaten for dinner in our home whenever other proteins are running out, and we are in the mood for something lighter.
According to East Indian history, wild fowl were domesticated in 3200 B.C. For the Egyptians and Chinese the records show fowl were laying eggs as earliest as 1400 B.C. and 600 B.C. When eggs finally arrived in America, there were over 200 different breeds of chickens. Hens that lay eggs in the U.S. are usually the Single-Comb White Leghorns, and during the 1900-1920’s, people produced eggs mostly in their backyards, and gave them to other family members. Any extra eggs were sold to the local farmer’s markets. For example, in the south my grandmother’s backyard had at least a dozen hens and a couple of roosters. My grandmother would feed the hens’ grain and feed on a regular basis, and every few days, she would fill up old egg cartons with newly hatched brown eggs. She would then share the eggs with my uncles and aunts who lived on the farm also.
Hens were laying approximately 150 eggs per year, with a 40% mortality rate (www.incredibleegg.org). By the 1940’s, wire housing was researched, and improved upon in order to house hens. Over the years, caging technology improved allowing hens to product approximately 250 eggs per year. In the 1950-1960s, improved technology allowed farms to increase output of eggs by using conveyor belts, and to shift to larger commercial operations (www.incredibleegg.org).
In today’s economy, over 300 million laying birds produce 250 to 300 eggs a year each. The total U.S. egg production has grown to over 75 billion eggs a year.
Throughout history, eggs have been symbolically associated to Easter. According to the internet article titled, Eggs are Symbolic”, during ancient times eggs were associated with rebirth, fertility, and the perpetuation of the cycle of life (http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/the-symbolism-of-the-egg). For example, spring is a time when flowers blossom, plants grow, and trees develop new leaves. The symbolism can be seen in that spring time like the egg signifies new birth and life.
Eggs Nutritional Analysis
Eggs are extremely nutritional. For example, eggs are the least expensive protein on the market, and one egg has 6 grams of protein. In addition, the egg yolk itself has high nutrient density and the yoke contains Choline which promotes normal cell activity, liver function and transports nutrients throughout the body. Egg has70 calories, no carbohydrates and contains no sugar, and what is even more interesting about an egg shell is that there are 7 to 17 thousand tiny pores on the shell surface (www.incredibleegg.org). Eggs also have all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs, and one large egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals. They are affordable and are a good source of choline, selenium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, phosphorus, and riboflavin (www.eggnutritioncenter.org). Most of the vitamins and minerals are in the egg yolk itself, so if you discard the yolk which is 40% of vitamins and minerals, what is left is 60% of the eggs protein (www.eggnutritioncenter.org).
It is true that there are a variety of eggs in the supermarket to choose from; however, it is not always clear to the shopper what Cage Free verses Free Range eggs mean. The naming convention for each type of egg correlates to the environment in which hens lay their eggs. First, the conventional egg is laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water and security. The types of hens that lay conventional eggs are protected from disease and predators.
Secondly, free range eggs are produced by hens that can roam outdoors. Free range eggs are laid by hens that eat grains, wild plants, and insects during foraging (www.incredibleegg.org).
Thirdly, cage free eggs are laid by hens that are kept indoors, but are free to roam in an open area. Cage free hens that lay cage free eggs usually roam inside of a building, a barn or poultry house (www.incredibleegg.org). Fourthly, there is the organic egg. Organic eggs are produced according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for organic foods. Hens that lay organic eggs are fed food rations that were grown with the least amount of conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers (www.incredibleegg.org). Finally, the enriched colony eggs are produced in a system that has to contain adequate environmental enriched areas allowing perch space, dust bathing and/or scratch areas. In other words environment enriched areas allow hens to produce by their most natural behavior. In addition, enriched colony hens must be American Humane Certified (www.incredibleegg.org).
Other Egg facts
Eggs are used for a myriad of dishes, and their purpose in foods has several functions. For example, eggs are used to bind ingredients, to give moisture, and they are used as a leavening agent. For instance, when making pancakes, eggs serve as the binder that keeps the water, eggs and milk glued together, and eggs also gives the pancakes its’ fluff. Same thing hold true for baking a cake. A pound cake requires five whole eggs to help the cake ingredients stick together.
Eggs also have different shell colors. For example, some egg shells are brown, and others are white. According to internet article entitled, Eggs Facts, shells differ in color because of the breed of the hen. Hens that have white feather and ear lobes are known to lay white eggs, whereas hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown egg. The quality in flavor or nutritional value is the same
Some argue that eggs can be bad for you. The National Institute of Health states high cholesterol is bad your health; therefore, because egg yolk is known to have cholesterol, people who suffer from high LDL levels should avoid eating too many eggs. (https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer12/articles/summer12pg6-7.html)
Eggs Political-Economic Analysis
On the economic forum, Willamette farm owner Greg Satrum owns an egg farm in Canby Oregon. He is third generation egg farmer that states he and his family has been raising hens since 1852. The Satrum family started Willamette Farms officially in 1934. Currently, the Willamette Farm houses over 2.2 million laying hens, and produces over 1.8 million eggs per year (www.willametteegg.com). The Willamette Farm also provides fresh shell eggs, hard boiled and liquid eggs which are regularly sold. The Willamette Farm is also a certified kosher dealer.
In the political-economic arena, legislation has recently been passed U.S. laws and policies requiring egg farms to go cage free. Cage free systems are to replace small cages, which is banned in most states. Facilities are expected to comply with new state laws, and some farmers complain that in cage free facilities, more hens die from injury in flying, and having more direct interaction with other hens. In Frankfort Indiana, Rose Acre Farms paid 5,000,000 to purchase a cage free facility to stay in compliance with the law.
One of my favorite recipes that I enjoy making in remembrance of my mom is stuffed eggs. My mother used to make what she called “Deviled Eggs” every Thanksgiving and Christmas. She never followed a recipe, but had the knack for knowing just the right amount of seasoning to add making the eggs turn out delicious. The basic recipe below is what I use to make deviled eggs. I took this from the internet.
6 large eggs
2 spoons of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Preparation instructions: Boil eggs for approximately 20 minutes. I let eggs cool down for about 30 minutes. Peel eggs, and slice the eggs in half. Remove the yolks and place into to a small bowl; place the egg whites on a serving platter. Mash the egg yolks into crumbs using a fork. Add mayonnaise, yellow mustard, salt, and pepper, and sweet pickle relish. Mix ingredients well. Use a teaspoon to heap a spoonful of mixture into the egg whites, and garnish with paprika on top.
It has been said that much can be learned about a person by the type of eggs they chose to eat. What type of eggs do you like eating? Visit internet site http://www.thekitchn.com/the-egg-personality-test-what-your-egg-choice-says-about-you-200877 to learn you or someone else by how they like their eggs.
Chef in You. “How to find out the purpose of Egg in a recipe” by DK , Jul 25, 2012. Internet Article
Egg Nutrition Center, “Credible Science”, Incredible Egg” 2016. Print
Glascock, Taylor. Latest Flap on Egg Farms: Whether to Go ‘Cage-Free’: As States Ban Small Cages, Customer Demands are weighed against the Higher Costs.” Wall Street Journal, Print.
I Love Eggs-Egg Facts, New Zealand. Internet Article
NIH Medline Plus, National Institute of Health, 7.2 (2012): 6-7. Internet Article. Print.
The Egg Personality Test: What Your Style of Egg Says About You
Wake Up to the Incredible Edible Egg, Internet Article. 2016. Print.
Willamette Egg Farms, “The Finest Quality Egg”, 2016. Print.
Yannucci, Lisa. “The Symbolism of the Egg” 23 Feb. 2008. 2016. Print.