The egg is amazingly versatile—is there any other food that changes in so many complex ways simply by the method of preparation? From fried to scrambled to hardboiled—each provides a vastly different culinary experience. Depending on the preparation the egg takes on the most amazing array of textures and flavors.
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From the Jungle Fowl (also known as the chicken) Gallus domesticus
A bird’s egg is a single cell—in fact, the ostrich egg is the largest single cell known of any animal now living. The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb oxygen (along with flavors and odors in your refrigerator!) Both the egg yolk and the egg while contain proteins and serve as food for the developing chick. An egg is an excellent sources of protein.
About the Egg
Consider the sacrifice of the birds, their living conditions and those who are killed.
Note the richness of the yolk and the smoothness of the white of the egg, This is especially true of hardboiled eggs—the yolk has a unique texture—crumbly, slightly grainy coupled with a rich and filling taste.
Appreciate the opportunity to eat a single cell.
Take note of the distinct aroma of the egg.
Compare the taste with eggs prepared in different ways
Appreciate the energy in the grains that were fed to the birds
When You Eat...
With “factory” egg producing farms, hens are usually housed in small wire cages, lined in rows and stacked in tiers. The USDA recommends that each hen receive four inches of “feeder space” often resulting in four birds per 16-inch cage. Birds have little room to stretch their wings or legs, resulting in severe feather loss and excessive pecking and fighting. A measure used to control this is to remove the bird’s beaks, a commonly used practice involving slicing through bone, cartilage and soft tissue.
Hens only produce eggs for the first year to two years of their lives. "Spent hens"—hens past their egg laying prime—are then slaughtered and their meat is used for low-grade food products such as soups or pot-pies. Males born of egg-laying breeds don't grow fast enough to be raised profitably for meat, and they can't lay eggs, so they are killed immediately after birth usually by suffocation, crushing, or ground up alive.
US Egg Consumption
The United States is the world's second-largest egg producer with about 240 million laying hens producing approximately 5.5 billion dozen eggs per year.
Egg production has significantly changed over the past 50 years. Prior to World War II, most eggs were produced on small family farms with flocks of less than 400 hens. Today, nearly all eggs are produced on large commercial farms that use sophisticated mechanical equipment and have flocks that range in size from 100,000 to a million hens. Each of the 235 million laying birds in the U.S. produces from 250 to 300 eggs a year.
Hens are most often fed a mix of sorghum grains, corn, cottonseed meal and soybean meal. Marigold petals are often added to result in yolks with a deep golden color. Feed additives include preservatives to control mold and sometimes antibiotics. About 70 billion pounds of feed are consumed yearly in the poultry industry.
Though so-called "free-range" farms animals may experience less suffering than their factory-raised counterparts, they are still subjected to stressful transportation and abusive handling. Additionally, many "free-range" animals have no shelter during inclement weather and may not survive in severe winters or summers. Birds raised in the United States may be sold as "range" if they have USDA certified access to the outdoors. No other criteria, such as vegetation, size of area, number of birds, or space per bird, are required. Be aware that commercial producers using the “free range” label may be charging more for their eggs but may be providing only marginally improved conditions.
This is a difficult area to report, because modern egg manufacturing has required so much sacrifice on the part of the chickens raised.