by Jaclyn Bonfante
World Egg Day is a unique, global holiday that celebrates a food that has a rich and interesting history in many cuisines. To celebrate World Egg Day (Friday, October 12, 2012), I’m sharing a few dishes that show how eggs are enjoyed around the world.
- In the United States, during the time period of the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, the hangtown fry is said to have been invented by a gold prospector who struck it rich. The hangtown fry is a type of omelet that includes bacon, oysters, and of course, eggs. Most accounts detail the gold prospector with his newly acquired wealth demanding the most expensive dish that the kitchen could provide at the Cary House Hotel (formerly known as El Dorado Hotel) in Placerville, CA. At the time the most expensive ingredients available were eggs, which had to be carefully brought into the mining town; bacon, which was shipped from the East Coast, and oysters which had to be brought into town on ice from San Francisco.
- Another unique egg dish comes from China. A century egg, also known as thousand-year eggs or pidan, is an egg that has been preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, giving them a distinct look and taste. During this process the yolk becomes dark green to dark grey in color, with a creamy consistency and an odor of sulphur and ammonia. The white becomes a translucent, dark brown jelly with very little flavor. It is said that the century egg was discovered over 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty in Hunan.
- A widely popular egg dish that hails from Africa is Shakshouka or Shakshuka. This is a dish of eggs that have been poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and spices. It is believed that this dish has Tunisian origin, but is also a staple in Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. Traditionally this dish is served in a cast iron pan with bread to soak up the sauce. Some food historians claim that this dish was invented during the Ottoman Empire.
- Egg butter, said to be one of the most innovative foods in Finnish cuisine, is a combination of hard-boiled eggs and butter. Egg butter is an ingredient which shows up in many Finnish and Scandinavian dishes. A popular Finnish dish with egg butter is a karelian pie, which is often made of a rye or wheat crust with a rice filling.
- South America is a host of many different cuisines influenced by a history of both indigenous populations as well as European colonization. Helado de lúcuma, is an ice cream dessert that is said to have originated in Peru in the Andean regions. Lúcuma is a subtropical fruit that has an orange pulp and a distinctive flavor that has been described as perfume-like. Lúcuma is sometimes called “eggfruit” in English because the fruit’s flesh has a similar texture to the hard-boiled egg yolk. This fruit is not only a delicious addition to a traditional ice cream recipe, but it is also very nutritious, having high levels of carotene and B vitamins.
Eggs are an incredibly versatile food that can be enjoyed in so many interesting and unique ways. They’re not only rich in nutrients, but rich in history. Happy World Egg Day, everyone!
Sponsored by: Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs
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