An Egg-speriment

Sign reading farm fresh eggs.

Is that it for the egg puns?  Thankfully, yes.  The egg symbolizes hope and purity, fertility and the circle of life.  To illustrate the power of the egg, Marcel Duchamp incorporated the versatile egg in his Rotorelief series at the 1935 Concours Lépine, a French fair for inventors promoting their latest gadgets.

Oeuf a la coque by marcel Duchamp
Oeuf à la coque Marcel Duchamp

While remaining strictly in the culinary world, the one hundred folds in a chef’s toque represent one hundred ways to prepare an egg.  Furthermore, in a job interview, chefs must prepare an omelet.  The folds have to be correct, the consistency and doneness just right and the presentation spot on.  A less-than-perfect omelet means no pleated hat.   

Symbolism and technique aside, does the egg’s source make a difference?  I bought a dozen eggs from a pop-up farmer’s market and another dozen from Whole Foods.  The goal was to see how the farm fresh eggs and the common supermarket egg would stand up under scrutiny.

First of all, the source.  I bought the farm fresh eggs from the information booth at the Roswell farmer’s market.  More specifically, the eggs came from market manager Sherri Schreiner’s backyard chicken coop. 

On the other hand, the only indicator of the Whole Foods egg’s origins was a stamp that read “California SEFS Compliant.”  This means the eggs could have come from anywhere in the United States’ third-largest state. Advantage:  Farmer’s market.

The next criterion was cost.  The Whole Foods eggs cost $3.41 while I paid eight dollars for the farmer’s market eggs.  Whole Foods wins this round.  So what about the eggs themselves?  Ok.  Let’s start with the exterior.

Multi colored eggs next to white eggs
Left: Farmer’s Market eggs. Right: Whole Foods eggs.

The Whole Foods eggs were uniformly white.  To elaborate, a study in titanium white with a touch of semi-gloss varnish.  On the other hand, the Farmer’s Market eggs offered a variety of shades and tints-speckled, various ecru hues, a yellowish-brown and a light olive green.  The Farmer’s Market has the color edge.

However, once cracked, the eggs surprised me.

The yolks appeared basically identical; Indian yellow with a touch of yellow ochre.  While I expected this color from the Whole Foods eggs, I had something different in mind from the Farmer’s Market eggs.  I had presumed (from watching cooking shows) that the Farmer’s Market eggs would have some otherworldly tint.  Maybe something between salmon and tangerine.  Consequently, I was astonished that yolk appearance would result in a dead heat.

Despite appearances, nutrition also becomes a factor.  According to a Mother Earth news story that has been verified multiple times, farm-fresh eggs have less cholesterol and saturated fat than supermarket eggs.  In addition, farm-fresh eggs contain twenty-five percent more vitamin E and seventy-five percent more beta carotene.  The Farmer’s Market eggs take this round running away.

So, what about taste?  Flavor is the linchpin of all food issues.  As a result, preparing the eggs in a few different ways seemed vital to accurately compare their attributes.  I wanted to use the whole egg and isolate the yolk.  Use the eggs in something savory and sweet.  Yet, keep everything simple.  So, scrambled eggs and pastry cream seemed the logical choices. 

And, to preserve the integrity of the experiment, I prepared the eggs exactly the same.  (I told you that was it for the egg puns.)

For the scrambled eggs, I used two eggs, a quarter teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of butter and some chives to make them pretty.  The pastry cream involved four egg yolks, two cups of milk, three tablespoons of corn starch, a half cup of sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. 

I started by scrambling the Whole Foods eggs.  The flavor was what you’d expect from scrambled eggs.  Creamy, eggy, the yolk’s fattiness meshing with the butter.  Since the eggs looked pretty much the same, I wasn’t surprised that the Farmer’s Market eggs tasted essentially the same.  No pronounced egginess to wow the taste buds. 

Moving on to the pastry cream, the results didn’t surprise me either.  Both were sweet, creamy and had the vanilla hint that gives desserts their yummy factor. 

Surprisingly, the taste test, the most critical element in this study, produced no clear winner.

Consequently, the results raised more questions than answers.  Is price more important than knowing exactly where the eggs come from?  Does the egg’s nutritional value factor more into the decision than cost-effectiveness?  Are really cool-looking eggs worth the wait? 

The matter boils down to choice.  And going back to Duchamp, “If your choice enters into it, then taste is involved-bad taste, good taste, uninteresting taste.”    And, taste in color versus flavor. 

4 thoughts on “An Egg-speriment

    1. Thanks for reading and the reblog!


  1. The big difference in cholesterol amounts is what really surprised me. Great facts. Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It surprised me as well. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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