Most versatile

This image is cropped from a vintage Easter postcard on the Old Design Shop, a vintage design treasury.
This image is cropped from an Easter postcard on the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

The morning egg is most nutritious,
the lunchtime egg substantial;
eggs for dinner are a light, quick fix.

Boiled, scrambled, poached or fried,
to a life of laying thanks is owed for this.

On the dining-table of our kitchen lives a refillable plastic peppercorn grinder. In absent-minded moments when I’m forking stir fry vegetables and noodles into my mouth, I’ll start reading the label on the back of the bottle. The copy promotes how handy black peppercorns are: “Twist over your morning egg, lunchtime salads and evening eats.”

I started wondering about the morning egg. How might it be different to the lunchtime egg or the evening egg? In older vegetarian cookbooks eggs are often praised for their versatility. In a contemporary world informed by animal rights and the ethics of food production, the egg is not merely a versatile wonder capsule. It’s a sustainability quandary and choosing your half-dozen can be a political animal ethics statement. Omitting eggs can be as much a statement. Vegan baking and brunches are characterised by their ingenious egg replacements.

After many years of restricting egg consumption (as the yolk were identified as cholesterol minefields) and nearly two years of almost no egg consumption, these “chicken periods” (as a friend once called them) are once again a regular part of my diet. £1 for half-a-dozen will feed me for three to four meals, usually boiled or scrambled.

I do often think of the egg machines that have been set apart for a life of laying. However, if you’ve ever spent time on a farm with non-commercial chickens, the egg-for-use ratio to laying chickens can be frustratingly low. The luxury of a green or orange box of half-a-dozen gives me such joy. Ah, wonder capsules, most versatile

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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