Is One Egg Un Oeuf?

Ann’s reference to Hippocrates’ famous comment – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” –  got me thinking about one of our favorite foods that is seldom uttered in the same breath as “medicinal”  – the egg.

Love-Among-the-Chickens

Published in 1906

In Love Among the Chickens, P.G. Wodehouse writes:

Have you ever seen a man, woman, or child who wasn’t eating an egg or just going to eat an egg or just coming away from eating an egg? I tell you, the good old egg is the foundation of daily life.”

 

vintage egg cookbooki

1950s cookbook – 300 Ways to Prepare Eggs

Maybe claiming the egg is the “foundation of daily life” is going a bit overboard, but eggs definitely play a major part in the daily life of BigLittleMeals.   I started to tally the number of times eggs have made their way into our recipes and lost count.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog (don’t miss the chicken video!) over 217 million eggs per day are consumed in the U.S., which translates to 0.68 eggs per person (just so you know, we never call for 0.68 of an egg in any of our recipes).

This may seem like one heck of a lot of eggs but, as the below graph shows, this level of egg consumption is 70 percent lower than it was in the egg heyday at the end of WWII. Then Americans on average ate more than one egg per day (1.15 to be more precise).

EggConsumptiontrends2

I can’t resist a good graphic image to summarize a point.

The drop in egg consumption beginning in the 1950s coincided with research findings that were suggesting a link between cholesterol (such as found in egg yolks) and  heart disease and other human maladies.  This was headline-worthy stuff. Even though in retrospect there are questions about the full validity of the link between egg consumption and heart disease, many consumers began to scorn eggs in favor of less “lethal” protein alternatives.

Am Egg Board incredible

Naturally this set off alarm bells for egg producers who were not about to take this lying down (or, should I say “laying down”).  Hence, in 1975 the American Egg Board (AEB) was created with the blessing of the USDA to bolster the floundering reputation of the chicken egg.  

Millions of dollars were poured into a media blitz that produced the slogan “The Incredible Edible Egg”.  The first TV ads featured actor James Hampton extolling  the virtues of the egg with lyrics as follows (I have mercifully included only the first stanza):

You should wake up to eggs each day
And then you’ll be on your way
With so much energy
For your whole family
When you’ve got a real big test
And you want to be your best
The Incredible Edible Egg

Since then the AEB has continued its promotional efforts with a number of iterations, including a 2017 student competition “You’re Incredible Because…campaign” which stressed the virtues of “high-quality protein foods, like eggs, to fuel students to be their best.”  I’m sure our grandson Silas wondered why we served him so many egg dishes while he was prepping for his SATs.   Bacon and eggsMy personal favorite ads, which came out in 2015, featured Kevin Bacon  (and sometimes his brother).  Here’s a link if you haven’t already seen them. They’re a hoot.

While nowhere near their post-WWII consumption levels, eggs have gradually been moving back onto our tables.  It is hard to know if the upswing in egg consumption is due to the media efforts by the AEB or to recent, more positive research findings showing that eggs are not the health culprits they once were cracked up to be (forgive the egg pun).  A recent article on Healthline provides what seems to be a balanced overview of the current scientific thinking about eggs in our diet. 

But nothing is simple.  The effects that egg consumption have on our environment is another story that is just unfolding. According to the recent report of the EAT–Lancet Commission, what we eat not only affects our health but has consequences for our planet. To see precisely how your favorite dishes impact our environment you can go to this BBC news article.  It shows how many kilograms of greenhouse gases are created per serving.  It turns out that among protein foods eggs come out pretty good.

protein food chart

From a BBC Health web page, 1/17/2019.  This is an fascinating interactive site allowing you to select your own food interests.

So with all of this in mind, you might want to check out some of our our egg-centric recipes such as curried deviled eggs, egg tacos, egg muffin sandwiches, and eggs with spinach, goat cheese, and pita bread – just to name a few.  They are delicious and you needn’t worry too much about the health effects or doing lasting harm to our planet.  Maybe one egg is not un oeuf!

Sandy'sEggs Jan2019.jpg

Eggs from Sandy and Stacie’s chickens (see what I wrote about that in an earlier blog)

 

 

4 Comments

    • theRaggedys says:

      You will have to ask the chickens about the bronze egg dye. Maybe that is what they are clucking about in the video from an earlier blog. And, the curried deviled eggs are definitely worth the effort. Always good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. theRaggedys says:

    Thanks for the link… fits right in! I hope you realize that by encouraging me about puns you are contributing to the delinquency of an elder. I may even drop out of my PA support group (Puns Anonymous).

    Like

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