“Eggs have two advantages over all other foods. First, they are procurable nearly everywhere; second, the most dainty person is sure when eating eggs that they have not been handled.”
‘A Book for A Cook’, The Pillsbury Co. (1905)
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and what can be the most popular delicious and nutritious ingredient for breakfast? Egg, of course! Eggs are extremely filling, fast and tasty. Protein in the egg helps sustain mental and physical energy throughout the day, and choline promotes normal cell activity, liver function and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
What exactly is a egg?
An egg is a carrier for the developing embryo of a living organism that propagates through sexually reproduction. Technically eggs are not deadly baby chicks, since eggs sold for human consumption are unfertilized. In the culinary sense, egg is the most versatile and useful ingredient in your kitchen.
What’s inside the egg?
The shell – 95-97% calcium carbonate crystals. It is a semipermeable membrane, which means that air and moisture can pass through its pores. The shell also has a thin outermost coating called the bloom or cuticle that helps keep out bacteria and dust. The structure and composition of the eggshell serves to protect the egg against damage and microbial contamination, prevention of desiccation, regulation of gas and water exchange for the growing embryo.
The yolk – nutritive source of sustenance for the developing embryo. Egg yolk is a major source of vitamins and minerals, and accounts for about 75% of calories and 43% of protein in an egg. All of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are found in the egg yolk. Egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. Although the yolk appears rich and fatty, in fact, it it is essentially a sack of water and that contain dissolved proteins.Egg yolk makes up about 33% of the liquid weight of the egg; it contains approximately 60 calories, three times the caloric content of the egg white. Protein and fat molecules in the yolk are linked together with lecithin, emulsifying molecule that allows fats and water molecules get along together harmoniously. Lecithin is also a major source of choline.
The white – the clear liquid formed around the egg yolk. The primary natural purpose of egg white is to protect the yolk and provide additional nutrition for the growth of the embryo (when fertilized). Egg white consists primarily of about 90% water into which is dissolved 10% proteins (including ovalbumins, ovomucin, and ovotransferrin). Unlike the yolk, which is high in lipids (fats), egg white contains almost no fat, and carbohydrate content is about 0.6 %. Egg white contains just over 50% of the protein in the egg, and is rich in sodium and potassium.
Because proteins in eggs are spread out in a liquid, it’s easy to incorporate them into other foods, unlike for instance meat proteins, that are relatively firmly set in place in relation to one another. Moreover, different proteins in egg behave in slightly different way during the cooking process, which gives a wide room for experimentation in the kitchen.
Cookie: find out more about egg cooking science in the book The Food Lab by J.Kenji Lopez-Alt
Eggs are great vehicles to explore different flavours and herb combination. Because eggs have a very mild flavor, they easily take on the unique qualities of the herbs used with them. The best way to discover your favourite morning egg recipe is start experimenting with a different flavours each time. Tim Ferris in his 4-hour Chef suggests to try eating eggs with different flavour combination each morning for 2 weeks. Here are some flavour combinations from 4-hour Chef:
- Nepalese: chile, lime, ginger;
- Mexican: scallions, chile, lime;
- Thai: scallions, ginger, chile, cilantro
- Chinese: scallion, ginger, tamari
Cookie: Find out more about egg cooking flavour combination in the book The 4-hour Chef by Tim Ferris