We, humans, were set in our egg eating habits long ago. Finding yourself in a land without really edible eggs wouldn’t even turn us to other breakfasts and desserts. Nope we’d rather brave the sharks and all to fight it out like civilized individuals atop a rocky outpost situated just off shore of San Francisco.
People have been killed, have put themselves into destitute situations, have fought over a rocky scrabble of an island patrolled by Great White Sharks over eggs. Disgusting eggs with a “bloodred yolk, clear whites, and a fishy aftertaste.” Bakers might have included them in a dozen muffins sold to hungry gold diggers, but the chef carefully molding the perfect poached egg to perch atop a muffin and bacon or the hapless wife making a quick scramble would have dreamed of imported chicken eggs.
Not that the chickens have it much better so I’ve been told. They’re stressed out from laying all those eggs. All that stress is causing them to croak young. (Croak instead of cluck — get it? Hey, I’m trying to infuse some humor into the situation.) And we haven’t even gotten into the world of the facilities most chickens are forced to call home. I can’t touch that here because this post isn’t about the chickens. (By the by, I try to only buy eggs from happy chickens.) This is about the sharks Susan Casey wrote about in Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks and how this story of sharks really started with a story about eggs.
Though it might affect your opinion of me I’d never realized before that losing our eggs is just not something we do well. It becomes a crisis of unimaginable horrors. I fear I might react in the same way because my sweet tooth just about begins and ends with baked goods. While I know, nowadays, there are many egg substitutes it’s unlikely in days gone by the substitutes would have been available either. Even now, it’s just not always the same. Sometimes that egg is the only thing that will ever work.
This week while those with cable or satellite or whatever are watching a Great White snack on a seal in the waters of the Farallones as part of Shark Week think of the eggs. Then in their honor go to your kitchen, take out the carton of eggs, and bake yourself a tart. Perhaps a Mushroom Tart. ‘Cause this is one food that just isn’t quite the same without eggs.