An Egg is the content of the hard-shelled reproductive body produced by a bird, considered as food.
While the primary role of the egg obviously is to reproduce the species, most eggs laid by domestic fowl, except those specifically set aside for hatching, are not fertilized but are sold mainly for human consumption.
Eggs produced in quantity come from chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, pigeons, pheasants, and quail.
The most commonly consumed eggs are chicken eggs.
Bird eggs have been valuable foodstuffs since prehistory, in both hunting societies and more recent cultures where birds were domesticated.
The chicken probably was domesticated for its eggs (from jungle fowl native to tropical and subtropical Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinent) before 7500 BC.
With the invention of pottery, about 5000 BC, boiling eggs gradually became more common.
In Thebes, Egypt, the tomb of Haremhab, dating to approximately 1420 BC, shows a depiction of a man carrying bowls of ostrich eggs and other large eggs, presumably those of the pelican, as offerings.
Chickens were brought to Sumer and Egypt by 1500 BC, and arrived in Greece around 800 BC, where the quail had been the primary source of eggs.
It is not clear who was the first person to decide to scramble an egg; however, humans have been scrambling eggs for centuries. The Ancient Romans are documented as the earliest people to scramble eggs. The Ancient Romans were also the first group to make omelettes.
In ancient Rome, eggs were preserved using a number of methods and meals often started with an egg course. The Romans crushed the shells in their plates to prevent evil spirits from hiding there.
The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as “Holy Week” eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell.
The first domesticated fowl reached North America with the second voyage of Columbus in 1493.
Egg scrambled with acidic fruit juices were popular in France in the seventeenth century; this may have been the origin of lemon curd.
Pickling eggs was fashionable in England as far back as the 1830s.
Eggs Benedict is believed to have originated in New York City during the late 1800s, but theories differ regarding how and where. One of the more popular claims goes to Delmonico’s Restaurant, often cited as the country’s earliest fine-dining establishment (1837). In the 1890s — though some sources give the 1860s — Mrs. (or Mr.) LeGrand Benedict (or Benedick), a frequent patron, reportedly found nothing she wanted on the menu and asked chef Charles Ranhofer to create something. The result was eggs Benedict.
In 1911, the egg carton was invented by Joseph Coyle in Smithers, British Columbia, to solve a dispute about broken eggs between a farmer in Bulkley Valley and the owner of the Aldermere Hotel. Early egg cartons were made of paper.
The structural components of the egg include the shell (10 percent), the albumen or white (60 percent), and the yolk (30 percent).
The whole egg is a source of high-quality protein. In addition, it is an excellent source of all vitamins (except vitamin C) and contains many essential minerals, including phosphorus and zinc.
A 50-gram (1.8 oz) medium/large chicken egg provides approximately 70 calories (290 kJ) of food energy.
There is no difference in taste or food value between white or brown eggs. The colour of a chicken’s egg depends on the breed.
Most eggs sold in modern supermarkets are approximately four to five days old. If kept refrigerated by the consumer, they will maintain good quality and flavour for about four weeks.
The word mayonnaise possibly was derived from moyeu, the medieval French word for the yolk, meaning center or hub.
Since the sixteenth century, the tradition of a dancing egg is held during the feast of Corpus Christi in Barcelona and other Catalan cities. It consists of an hollow eggshell, positioned over the water jet from a fountain, which causes the eggshell to revolve without falling.
A Fabergé egg is one of a limited number of jeweled eggs created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his company between 1885 and 1917. After being commissioned to create an Easter egg for the royal family of Russia in 1885, the Imperials liked the result so much that further eggs were commissioned each year.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
It is a bit of a philosophical question, that is often asked: since a chicken hatches from an egg, and since the egg itself was laid by a chicken, it is not easily seen how this could first started. It is
necessary to look for the answer in evolution: species change slowly over the course of time, and new species appear. The chicken’s ancestor was not a chicken, but an other prehistoric bird, which closely resembled it and which, specifically, also laid eggs. Over time, these animals gradually changed, until, finally, they were no longer part of the same species, but a new one: the chicken. The first chicken was therefore clearly hatched from an egg, but this egg was not laid by a chicken, but by the chicken’s ancestor. If an answer needs to be given, it is therefore the egg which came before the chicken. Moreover, the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals were already laying eggs long before there were chickens!