Eggs and Old Wives Tales

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Eggs and Old Wives' Tales

I've seen ads for two new types of eggs which intrigue me.  One offers "pasteurized eggs", free of salmonella.  I fail to see how one could pasteurize an egg and still leave it raw, but I'm willing to be convinced.  Are they irradiated?  They don't say in the ads.

Another is for EggLand's Best.  They claim that the farm fresh taste and texture of their eggs come from a unique patented all-natural all-vegetarian diet with no animal by-products.  That's worth looking into;  animal by-products fed to cattle is what caused the dreaded "Mad Cow disease" primarily in England and Europe, and feeding cows and many other beasts animal by-products has been banned in most modern countries as a result.  I cannot believe it does chickens any good either.   It's a dangerous practice.  Egg-Land claims that their eggs have 25% less saturated fats than regular eggs and 3 times more Omega 3 polyunsaturates, plus 7 times more Vitamin E.   What about routine use of antibiotics, Egg-Land?  That's what has helped cause the new superbug strain of salmonella, plus enhanced resistance to, or allergies to, some antibiotics in humans after they have consumed the dosed animal products.

Supermarkets aren't yet stocking all the new eggs.  When they do, you can bet I'll pay attention.

Many of the cases of salmonella reported in the last two or three years are not your father's salmonella.  It's a vicious new strain that can put healthy young people in the hospital fighting for their lives.  I read today in a question and answer column the following:  a reader asks if it's true that when a speck of eggshell gets in the egg, one should scoop it out with the rest of the eggshell, as it will attract it.  The author, who I will not identify, replies that the eggshell trick is an old wives' tale and may contaminate the egg with salmonella.    This is a dangerous statement as it implies that if you are careful breaking an egg it will not have salmonella.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and the columnist should have pointed this out.   If the outside of the eggshell has salmonella, you cannot avoid possible contamination when you break it.   Furthermore, the salmonella germ is now frequently inside the egg already.  You cannot tell by looking at it or smelling of it.  If you do not cook it   thoroughly, your first clue will be when you become ill, perhaps violently so.  

Personally, being a big fan of eggs, I'm looking forward to more advances and independent research results on both  lowered-cholesterol eggs and the pasteurized eggs.   I love an occasional nearly raw poached egg on lightly buttered whole wheat toast with a little 1% hot milk poured over it, and easy over eggs fried in a tiny dab of butter with a little salt and fresh ground black pepper.   I used to indulge in them once a week or so. As a precaution in recent years, I immediately followed the egg with a shot of scotch; this has some antiseptic effect (unless that's an old wives' tale, too).   Last year a business associate plus one of our customers, both healthy women, ended up in the hospital for several days fighting for their lives after salmonella infection from eating undercooked eggs.  That did it!

Every year the Miami Herald publishes George Washington's fabulous Eggnog Recipe.  Unfortunately it is extremely potent, and if you're not careful, you could go through a good portion of the holiday with a buzz on (until the eggnog is gone).    It's irresistible.  Two or three years ago the Herald began to warn that although there's some evidence the "ole shot of booze" remedy does have some protective effect, it won't sanitize your eggnog, as the cream in the 'nog encapsulates and protects the salmonella buggies and keeps the alcohol from doing them in.   Another old wives' tale bit the dust.  In other words, if you drink the eggnog and the booze doesn't get you, the salmonella may. 

We used to have huge amounts of visitors every year just to taste the treats I baked and sample our eggnog; it was a tradition with dozens of our friends.    Before I turned forty, however, I decided that the concoction, loaded with heavy cream, generous amounts of alcohol and loads of eggs, was simply too high in fat, cholesterol and calories to continue to indulge in, even if it was just once a year.     A good thing, too, or I might have poisoned our guests before the higher and more dangerous salmonella risk was publicized.

Brenda Jackson of Augusta, Georgia has contributed an egg-nog recipe which is lower in calories and cholesterol than ole George's lethal mixture, is safe from salmonella poisoning, and as a bonus, lactose free for those with lactose intolerance.  Alcohol can be added or not.  

What are your thoughts on eggs?  Do you eat them?  


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