As disconcerting as the eternal question about the precedence between egg and chicken, is all the imaginary that, from the beginnings of humanity, we associate with the food. Faced in this perspective the egg is much more than a versatile and nutritious culinary ingredient, having, over time, become a symbol of rebirth, of origin, of fertility, connected to many mythologies and religions.
Look at the innumerable allusions, stories, proverbs, celebrations, traditions, in which we find the egg, to recognize the intimate and inalienable form as it attaches itself to our imaginary and recedes in time: Christopher Columbus, the man who reached by sea the America, in a manifestation of ingenuity and practical sense, he threw the egg on a table, breaking it; the Chicken of the golden eggs attracted the cupidity of those who touched it; for Easter we offer colorful eggs.
We often utter popular sayings alluding to eggs: itá hen, bad egg`; `do not put all the eggs in the same basket`; `White is chicken puts you`
We often utter popular sayings alluding to eggs: "bad chicken, bad egg"; "Do not put all the eggs in the same basket"; "White is a chicken puts it," although in the latter case it was also not necessary to link the generation of the egg to the goose, the paw, the quail, just to name birds that hatch other types of eggs that are also consumed. Ostrich eggs were not included in the lot, 12 times larger than chicken, or Colibri, pea-sized and no more than 35 grams.
A very nutritious food
Large or small, birds, or even reptiles, eggs have been since primordially prized gastronomically. Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Byzantines, Etruscans, Romans, Saxons, are just a few among the many people who have seen in the egg beyond food, the connection to the primordial, to creation and fertility.
Fruit of the imagination and the necessity, the repertoire of confections with eggs, developed in different times and that today arrives at the table is vastíssimo. Versatile food the egg lends itself to being scrambled, poached, hot, cooked, starry, made in tortilla, in omelette; constituting ingredient for thousands of recipes and culinary preparations. The nutritional value is high, through its consumption are obtained vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, B6, D3, E, minerals and fundamental proteins, being advised in the diets of children and the elderly.
Although most likely they did not know all these nutritious qualities of the egg, it is certain that the Babylonians included them frequently in the banquets, whereas dancers, idiots, jugglers, fighters evolved among the guests. The Egyptians enriched the bread dough with the egg. By the 14th century BC, the Chinese discovered ways to preserve eggs while some Southeast Asian peoples began breeding birds at that time.
In the near east, among the Assyrians, it is stated that at the time of the inauguration of the palace of Kalhu the ninth century BC, the 60 thousand guests consumed more than 10 thousand eggs. Less luxuriant, the Phoenicians preferred eggs as a decorative element by using them, once painted, as ritual vessels. As for the consumption of eggs by this people, the archaeological investigations are not conclusive, knowing only that birds consisted of the repertoire at the table.
The Byzantines served the meal eggs arranged in cups, using spoons of long cord to consume them.
A favorite food for the Etruscans, people of the Italian Peninsula, eggs were never missing at the table of any feast, a practice that was later maintained among the Romans, who often included eggs in their daily meals, as well as in special moments . The menu of a scene, this is a meal in which the men lay down, began by the gustatio, whose two essential elements were eggs and olives, accompanied by bread and seasoned wine.
In Northern Europe, the Saxons created true hordes of poultry, much appreciated for their eggs and the meat they provided.
The consumption of eggs remained throughout the Middle Ages with the kitchen developed in the monasteries to include dozens of different egg preparations.
The word "omelet" comes from coverslip (small blade) because of the flat shape of the preparation that was called, first, alumelle and then, alumette and amolette.
Over time the techniques and the precepts were developed to make a good egg, with the omelets taking on some protagonism. The word "omelet" comes from coverslip (small blade) because of the flat shape of the preparation that was called, first, alumelle and then, alumette and amolette. There are those who evoke a Latin etymology, egg mellita, ie eggs beaten and cooked in a container of honeyed clay, a classic dish going back to the Roman kitchen. The omelet was already appreciated in the Middle Ages when it was known as arbitude of eggs. In the seventeenth century one of the most famous was the Omelet of the Cura, whose recipe with carp and tuna roe charmed the Brillant-Savarin gourmet.
By the eighteenth century, it is said that Madame de Pompadour, lady of the court of Louis XV in France, was delighted with the aphrodisiac recipes composed with eggs.
With the entry into the industrial era the egg eventually entered the production generated by the economy based on the use of the machine. The poultry units, previously domestic, assumed an industrial character. Around 1890 the freezing of the eggs began.
The "cosmic egg"
The egg, having the connotation of the source of life and origin of the world, has, since primordial times, been part of the mythological imaginary of countless peoples. Celts, Greeks, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Tibetans, Hindus, Chinese or Japanese, have generated the idea of the "cosmic egg." For the Celts, this would be the representation of the Universe, with the gem associated with the earth and the clear to the sky. The shell was the celestial sphere and the stars. Already in the Chinese tradition, before the distinction between heaven and earth, chaos had the appearance of a chicken egg. At the end of 18,000 years the egg was opened, the heavy elements formed the earth, while the light and pure, the sky. In India it was believed that a goose by name Hamsa, would have shocked the cosmic egg on the surface of the primordial waters, dividing into two parts and giving rise to heaven and earth. The sky was the clear, the light part of the egg and the earth the gem, the most dense part. For the Shinto religion, the primordial egg was divided into a light half, the sky, and in a dense half, the earth.
In Chinese tradition, before the distinction between heaven and earth, chaos had the appearance of a chicken egg.
According to Tibetan doctrines, although the egg is not primordial, it is the origin of a long genealogy of ancestors.
In South America, the great Inca temple of Coricancha, in Cuzco, had as its main ornament a golden plate of ova, flanked by the Sun and Moon, pointing once more to a probable representation of the cosmic egg.
Already the ancient pagan peoples of Europe, at the height of present-day Easter, worshiped the Goddess of Spring, Ostera, or "Esther" (meaning Easter), a symbol of fertility holding an egg. Goddess and egg symbolize a new life.
These people celebrated the arrival of spring decorating eggs. Later, in England of Edward I (900-924), the custom was adopted to paint eggs for Passover, bathing them in gold.
The Easter egg became very popular at the court of the Tsar of Russia. At the end of the 19th century, court jeweler Carl Fabergé decorated eggs with gold, crystal and porcelain.
At present, for the Libuca people of the Congo, the egg constitutes the image of the world and of perfection, the gem being associated with female fertility and the clear male vigor. The egg is also regarded as a symbol of prosperity by the A-Kha people of North Laos. He believes that dreaming of a laying hen is a sign of wealth.
Source: "Food with History".