When you think of the old debate – what was first, a chicken or an egg – it occurs me that it does not matter what was first. What really matters is that without either of the two (or both), we would have never had the best desserts in our culture. Think: Victorian sponge, Pan di Spagna, Crema Pasticcera, Tiramisu, cupcakes and muffins, brownies and meringues – all these bites of indulgence demand an EGG.
A classic tiramisu is the combination of raw egg yolks, raw egg whites, sugar, mascarpone cream, shot of coffee and a stack of sponge fingers. Fluffiness, airiness, foaminess – they all owe to the good ol’ egg.
Diane Toops, author of the book Eggs: A Global History (yes, there is indeed an entire book on the subject and this is its title) asserts that, according to the Bible, chicken was created first. “And God said: “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the movie creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (Genesis, 1:19-20).
For the Chinese, eggs are a symbol of the circle of life, the old and the new. For the scientists, it is a miracle: the liquid turns into air, and then into solid material that you cut with a knife. Only water that transforms into rain, then hail or snow and then dumps back into rivers, is capable of the similar wonders.
Physics meets poetry in the report on egg uses in gastronomy prepared by the scientists for the Australian Egg Corp. Ltd. Aerate my doubts, glaze my aspirations and emulsify my ambitions…
It strikes me that eggs, in all their cheap versatility and presence in all gastronomies of the world, are the international language. Lingua franca, the real way to connect through sharing a meal in our turbulent times.
Cheesy? Rather eggs-y.