While we are on the way to discussing about the EGG, one of the basic and often asked questions is "Who came first: the chicken or the egg?" There is no clear inference towards the history of this wonderful thing called the Egg.According to the Bible, the chicken came first.It has been mentioned as "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.And God said, 'Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.'" Genesis 1:10-20.
Then there is another school of thought which propounds that eggs came in existence long before the chicken.Harold McGee in his book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen says that these cells evolved about a billion years ago.According to him, the first eggs were hatched in the ocean.The chicken evolved only about 5000 years ago from an Asian bird.
Even though the history of the egg is slightly uncertain, yet it is apparent that eggs have been in use since the evolution of the early man.This is being assumed from the fact that raising chickens for food is an ancient practice and in logical progression, so should be the consumption of eggs.
Eggs symbolize fertility and have great religious importance too.Till date there are various folklores which are associated with this wonderful food item.Every culture has its own interpretation of this lore.Then a larger importance is given to the Easter egg. This festival has both cultural and biological connotations.Before the modern poultry farming techniques, hens laid fewer eggs in the winter season.This implied that the festival naturally coincided with the advent of spring and also the hen’s renewed cycle of laying larger numbers of eggs.
Eggs were also considered to be a luxurious commodity and Christians had to abhor from consuming this product during Lent.This automatically resulted in them eating during the time of Easter.In most parts of the world and also in the ancient civilizations like the Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Persian, there is a tradition of painting and decorating the eggs in various attractive colorful designs.
Eggs are an exceptional form of food with a lower calorie content and high nutritional value.They are wholesome foods with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and micronutrients.But this should not come as a surprise when the egg is in itself a protective covering for the chick and all these ingredients are essential for the chick’s development.
In addition to the nutritional value, the eggs are also widely used in various recipes.It is said that eggs play the part of cement during cooking and holds and binds the various ingredients together.
Chickens are not the only animals that lay eggs.A variety of other birds like the ostrich, the quail, the ewe and also the turkey lay eggs.But the most popularly consumed and relished is the chicken eggs.It is available in all the parts of the globe and moreover, it is quite inexpensive as compared to other eggs.
Hens have been domesticated in Europe since 600 B.C.and they came to the New World with Columbus on his second trip in 1493.It is also claimed that during the French Revolution, the French knew more than 685 recipes which involved the use of eggs.
Thus it is quite clear from all these facts that eggs are a much in demand commodity which is loved and liked by people rich and poor, young and old.And it has also been rightly said in a Hindi advertisement, "Sunday Ho Ya Monday, Roz Khao Ande." It simply implies that eggs can be eaten on any day whether it is Sunday or a Monday which in itself signifies the importance of eating eggs.
Submitted by: David H. Urmann
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Which Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?