Eggs Are Not Just For Easter

Fresh Free-Range Eggs

Hen with freshly laid eggs - chicken coop at home in Derbyshire, England
Hen with freshly laid eggs - chicken coop at home in Derbyshire, England

An Egg is for Life; not just for Easter

At this time of year everyone is probably thinking about eggs – the chocolate variety that are invariably encased in a myriad of cardboard packaging and foil – I’ve had eggs on my mind most of this year for a different reason, actually I can remember the day it started.

One snowy day in January I went to pick up the kids from school and Ellie (7) jumped into the back of the car, where Rory (5) was already strapped in and shrilly she announced ‘she had something for me’, clutching a bundle of paper to her chest protectively. I held out my hand with interest and suddenly all her coyness went out the window as she excitedly thrust into my hand a printed out picture of a chicken coop, some chickens with eggs and some other chickens that she had drawn herself along with her mum and dad and her brother Rory in the picture. I soon got the picture. It turns out Mr Harrison; Ellie’s Life Studies teacher had just spent the whole of his Christmas holidays building his own chicken coop and now wished to inflict his out-of-school activities on every poor parent unlucky enough to have a child in 2a! I’ve always maintained that it should be a pre-requisite for teachers to have their own children.

'Son-in-law eggs' popular Thai Dish.  Eggs are deep-fried, then coated in a hot and sour tamarind sauce.
'Son-in-law eggs' popular Thai Dish. Eggs are deep-fried, then coated in a hot and sour tamarind sauce.

3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

So we’ve had the chicken coop, a pre-built one, I may add, for 5 weeks now and we have a mixed-breed family of 5 laying hens, 3 of them French. A hen lays an average of 300 eggs a year, so we also have a great deal of eggs, which is probably why they are uppermost in my mind.

People used to believe the earth was shaped like an egg. The egg has long been a symbol of rebirth, the life cycle and fertility – even today in Thailand, there is a famous dish called ‘Son-in-law eggs’ which originates from a tale about a prospective bridegroom who wanted to impress his future mother-in-law but he only knew how to cook hard-boiled eggs. There are various versions of this story, another being that if a husband wasn’t shaping up (producing grand-children) his mother-in-law would come round and make this dish, insinuating that if he didn’t shape up, his um, er… “egg shaped man parts” (is that family friendly enough?), would be substituted for the eggs the next time she made it! A little story I may share with Mr Harrison, one day at parents' evening. If I have been indelicate or offended anyone with that story, please don't tweet to the hub editors, do it below in comments or outside of this arena!

The Meaning of Eggs

As Europe became Christian, eggs became a symbol of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. In the past, Christians gave up eggs for Lent (the 40 days before Easter when it’s customary to give up different types of food). But even though people didn’t eat them, the hens kept laying them! So people would hard-boil and decorate them. This would help preserve them longer and serve as part of the holiday festivities. The egg is also part of the Jewish Passover holiday that takes place in the Spring, symbolizing sacrifice and rebirth.

It is therefore in the Spring, when everything is coming back into life after the winter, that the egg is most closely associated.

As eggs embody the very essence of life, they have throughout the ages been endowed with mystical or magical properties of being able to divine the future. Eggs have been said to represent the various stages of life, although interestingly the test to see if eggs are still fresh to eat, involves carefully placing the egg in salt water and if it sinks, it's good; if it floats right to the surface, it's too old. Early myths believed the yellow egg yolk, symbolized the sun, which in turn was viewed as a source of life – eggs sunny side up?

I've had this tune in my head, the whole time writing this- thought it was by Sinatra but see now it's Dean Martin (see below, just press black arrow to hear it).

Dean Martin 'How do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning?'

The Value of Eggs

Historically different cultures have their own traditions and beliefs concerning eggs, some shunning eating eggs or destroying them at all, for fear of harming fertility. The Chinese celebrate a one month old baby with a ‘Red Egg and Ginger’ party. In the Middle East eggs were exchanged by brides and grooms.

Have you ever wondered about the ‘chicken and the egg’, saying? Eggs weren’t really eaten until poultry farming became widespread, usually eating hen’s eggs, mainly for economic reasons, as 'the egg is in the chicken, and the chicken is in the egg'! They needed to breed chickens for eating too as we do today.

The Rare Rothschild Faberge Egg Clock

Faberge egg/clock sold at auction in 2007 for over 8.5 million pounds!
Faberge egg/clock sold at auction in 2007 for over 8.5 million pounds!

Eggs have been precious throughout history. In the 18th century, Karl Fabergé, a Russian jeweller of French descent was commissioned, by Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II to make jewel encrusted Easter egg gifts for them to give to their Tsarinas (some were miniatures to wear on a necklace chain). The story of Rasputin, Peter the Great and the Royal Princesses will intrigue most kids . Fabergé eggs were made from then on, chiefly for the Russian Royal family, although a few were commissioned for wealthy people. In 2007 Christies auctioned a Fabergé egg which was made for the Rothschild Banking family. The egg has a working clock in it, which chimes with a rooster ‘cluck’. The eggs are a good way to teach children about the history of Russia and the frustrations felt by the Russian masses as they starved in the cold - while these eggs were being commissioned as Easter gifts year after year. The Rothschild egg fetched over 8.5 million pounds. The Fabergé eggs are however, works of art which have been emulated the world over by jewellers in various sizes for ornaments and jewellery.

Eggs- comfort food or dressed up dinner party style

Creamy Dreamy Scrambled Eggs
Creamy Dreamy Scrambled Eggs
Devilled Eggs 2010
Devilled Eggs 2010

Grown-up Egg Dishes

Eggs with Sex Appeal-fresh asparagus for dipping!
Eggs with Sex Appeal-fresh asparagus for dipping!
Perfectly risen cheese souffle
Perfectly risen cheese souffle


In the Second World War, eggs, amongst other foods, were rationed and people living on farms traded fresh eggs for other commodities. Powdered egg was used to bake with and a whole new wave of eggless cake recipes were born.

Back to my brood, we just eat the eggs, having no intention of killing the birds. They roam free all day, free to come and go to their smart coop, where we secure them at night in case of foxes. The children give them corn treats each afternoon and although we did discourage it, they have named all 5 hens and amazingly can tell the difference (I can’t).

I, as the main cook in the house have had to become very inventive with cooking eggs which is very easy, as they are so versatile. What other ingredient can you bake, boil, fry, scramble, poach, soufflé, coddle, use to make starters, mains, desserts and snacks? Fresh free-range eggs are healthy to eat, whether comfort food, like creamy scrambled eggs or soft-boiled eggs with soldiers or posh grown-up style food like devilled eggs or béarnaise sauce to accompany your favourite steak. Every country has its’ own national egg dishes, Spain having Spanish omelette, tortillas and frittatas, Italy renowned for egg pasta in many shapes, China with Birthday egg noodles, France for her egg-rich crêpes, Russian blinis, Scotch eggs, American breakfast with eggs cooked in ways I had never heard of – over easy, under easy etc., when I first visited Florida 10 years ago. I love steak and eggs in America. In England we love egg and bacon, Yorkshire puddings, bread and butter pudding, poached egg on an English muffin and custard tarts. World Egg Day is the second Friday in October each year. The egg is truly the star of your kitchen all year round!

No Egg Cups!

Softly-boiled Eggs with Soldiers

The first Sunday we had freshly laid eggs, I was up early collecting them and decided we would all have softly- boiled eggs with soldiers, so the kids and Rachel sat patiently waiting whilst I timed eggs (2 each) buttered and cut toast lovingly into perfect soldiers but as I went to serve, only 2 egg cups (mis-matched) in the house, so Ellie and Rory got these and we ended up having ours in a mug stuffed with kitchen roll! My wife Rachel was not impressed and I was detailed the next day to go and re-equip for egg cups and other necessary egg-related kitchen aids!

I bought the children a really cute soldier egg cup set, with spoon and special cutter for the bread to come out soldier shape (see below for picture) and they are thrilled. Rachel and I have one each of the Frieling set, which comes with its' own salt (we both love lots of salt with boiled eggs) and its' own special spoon.

Cilio C107005 Egg Cup Set
Cilio C107005 Egg Cup Set

Rachel and I have these - comes with your own personal salt cellar, which saves us fighting over it!

 

I had burned the plastic cups in the previous 4 egg poacher, by accidently letting the water boil dry whilst on the phone, so I bought a couple of these poach pads in the shape of an egg shell, which I thoroughly recommend (remember to spray lightly with oil first to stop the egg sticking and makes the pod easy to clean).

I replaced the family egg poacher with this electric one - we couldn't resist the lovely design and it does a good, easy job of producing really tender eggs.

EGG SHOPPING!

Maverick SEC-2 Henrietta Hen Egg Cooker, White
Maverick SEC-2 Henrietta Hen Egg Cooker, White

Boils and poaches eggs-all parts go in the dishwasher after (except electric base). Eggcellent reviews

 
Norpro New Egg Perfect Color Changing Boiled Egg Timer Kitchen By Temperature
Norpro New Egg Perfect Color Changing Boiled Egg Timer Kitchen By Temperature

Egg timer with a big difference-place it in the water with the eggs-works on reading temperature of the water, rather than actual time. Over 90 great reviews! Absolutely fabulous product

 
Eggs decorated with natural food colouring, marbled, ready for wrapping up, as gifts in egg cups
Eggs decorated with natural food colouring, marbled, ready for wrapping up, as gifts in egg cups

Egg cups we bought to give as Easter gifts

WMF Children's McEgg Cup with Spoon and Egg Cracker
WMF Children's McEgg Cup with Spoon and Egg Cracker

Plastic-great for kids. Hammer moves to crack top of your egg

 
Rosti Egg Cup Tray - Melamine - Yellow
Rosti Egg Cup Tray - Melamine - Yellow

Ideal for babies and toddlers as made of melamine. Come in loads of zingy colours

 

The whole chicken and egg experience is positive, despite my original protestations to the kids. I’m a very keen cook who likes good, fresh ingredients and we all love the difference in taste we are getting from our eggs. The hens aren’t noisy (cockerels are) and the kids love them, but also keep them clean (that was the proviso I absolutely stipulated before ordering the chicken coop). We were worried our dogs would chase the hens but this hasn’t happened either, so everyone’s happy.

This year for Easter we’re doing something different. We’ve bought a selection of egg cups to sit our freshly laid eggs in, once the kids have decorated them. We’ll wrap them in brown paper, tie them with string and give them out as gifts at our Easter Egg Hunt (the eggs, not the children) which is being held at our home this year. 

No Substitute for Chocolate!

However I won’t insult you by pretending that eggs are any substitute for chocolate, Ellie and Rory will enjoy their favourite Cadbury mini eggs – apparently these are only available in the UK all year round? (I wish they weren’t). Rachel, will get a dark chocolate egg with a fancy bow on it from me and breakfast in bed on Easter Sunday before we have a dozen children descend on us, yelling and running around the garden for the Egg Hunt, whilst us adults enjoy some rather posh canapés indoors with a good glass of wine and some jazz music playing in the background.

Wishing you all a Peaceful and Happy Easter ! 

Perugina Baci Dark Chocolate Easter Egg - 9.3 Ounces
Perugina Baci Dark Chocolate Easter Egg - 9.3 Ounces

Dark chocolate egg with a surprise inside

 
Eggs au Naturel
Eggs au Naturel

More by this Author


Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid 35 comments

Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

I enjoyed reading this .thanks


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hello Jerseygirl glad you enjoyed and thanks for kind comment. Sally's Trove hi - Mr Harrison actually did us the biggest favour ever!! We call an English breakfast a 'fry up' which my family have usually on a Sunday after a lie in. Thanks for voting up and kind comments.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

I love chickens and their behavior, and adore fresh eggs!

I had two chickens who followed me to work each day - course I just worked in the hospital next door, but they loved walking with me to the side door. The staff at the hospital would often remark "Marisue, your children are at the door waiting for you."

Here's a tip: A drop 1/2 tsp or slightly more of vinegar keeps the eggs more formed while they are poaching "loose" in the water.

Don't salt the water, as it loosens the whites. Also, keep the water 160 -180 as you poach, too high causes the egg to taste much stronger and the texture is tough.

Here's to the chickens and chicken lovers!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

What a wonderful Hub, full of rich detail, warm and touching personal stories, and a view of what goes on with eggs in the UK...Having been there only once for a short time, my breakfast egg experience was limited to fried eggs, cooked beans, fresh tomato, and thick bacon, a fabulous combination I still make now and again.

I'm completely enchanted with your succumbing to Mr. Harrison's not-so-subtle suggestion. Your kids know you are the world's best parents! Thanks for an awesome read (voted as such) that also gave me more information about eggs than I'd ever imagined there could be.


JerseyGirl profile image

JerseyGirl 6 years ago from Jersey Shore

Excellent hub, and very enjoyable. I really do love your hubs. Please, keep publishing:)


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hello Feline Phrophet glad you enjoyed, like your pun! Thanks for reading. Sweetie1 that's interesting I didn't know that - hope you make the most of eggs on other days! Thanks for coming by.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 6 years ago from India

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for such a detailed history and stories about eggs, i like story in thailand. If i dont have an omellete in breakfast, the breakfast looks incomplete.. though being Hindu, egg or any non veg food is not allowed in our home on tuesdays and thursdays.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Eggsellent hub (am I the only one who thought up something that lame?!!)...not only is it well researched, you also have a fine turn of phrase! :)


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks for that flattery General, seems I have alot to live up to around here, which is a good thing.


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 6 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Wow fantastic Hub here, looks a like a quality Hubber is on the making... Don't forget me my friend if you'll get famous here nyahahaha... You have great writing skills keep it up..


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Really Thanks for that 2Pats - I shall change title - the hub, as first one wasn't really written around keywords, so will back fit!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

This is a brilliant hub! You have a personal angle, have done research, good photos and even a song! One suggestion - amend the title to exclude the word "Easter". It might do better in the search engines with a title like 'Eggs are for life' - try looking at a few hubs on SEO to find out how to pick good keywords. I am certainly no expert but I think in the case of this hub it could be worth the time.


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hello again Nellieanna - good luck for your search for crumpet in Dallas!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Um - Now, that's an awesome sounding recipe; - similar to French Toast, but using crumpets. Wondering where to buy crumpets in Dallas, Texas! lol - may have to make my own, hum? Also - I mentioned that Merlin is also a friend of mine. I noticed several others when I viewed your entire list of followers. Merlin was at the top (where I was writing my fan letter) and I could only see the first few. But he and I go further back than HubPages. Good guy, Merlin! So many good folks on HP too! I really enjoy them.


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hi Nellieana pleased your enjoyed - good way to have eggs for breakfast: beat 1 lg egg per person, soak 1 crumpet pp in egg, grill or fry bacon, then fry eggy crumpet 3 mins either side, serve with bacon and drizzle with Canadian maple syrup. Enjoy! Thank you for leaving kind comments.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Jamie I thoroughly enjoyed this hub. Now I can hardly wait for breakfast! Just delightful the way you presented the parts, the information, the cute and informative pictures, the whole presentation! I predict that you are going to like Hubpages and people here like you! Keep up the good work!


Property-Invest profile image

Property-Invest 6 years ago from London

Another British hubber, awesome. Welcome to the neighbourhood. Great hub, please keep producing them!


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks for that Elayne001, it's a new found pleasure for me but not one I think will wear off!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Very enjoyable hub about one of my favorite foods. When I was a child, I would go to my grandparents chicken coops to pick up the fresh eggs. Fond memories of those days. Eggs make everything better! Aloha!


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hi Zsuzsy Bee thanks for kind comment. Ducks hub would be good, especially with info about cooking with ducks eggs.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Jamie welcome to Hubpages. A friend to chickens is dafinitely a friend of mine. Loved your first hub, very informative.

I have to remember to put a hub together about all my ducks and chicky ladies too.

Looking forward to reading many more of your hubs.

kindest regards Zsuzsy


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hi Patty thanks for that. Song was an advert in UK for ages promoting eggs, I always believed it was Sinatra (my wife, Rachel's musical hero) but very close as Dean Martin with Helen O'Connell. Other songs from the album include 'King of the Road' which I'm sure you'd know. As a new guy round here I am blessed with a wealth of reading at my fingertips. Thanks so much for the Facebook link Patty.


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Hi Beth, thanks for reading and comment. See you have connection with Wales, UK- I'm in Derbyshire. I love your poetry in the hubs - I'm quite a sensitive guy underneath.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

I posted a link to your Hub on Facebook. Thumbs up!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

This is a very entertaining and informative Hub. I really like the video/song as an addition - never heard it before and it's fun. You should meet Zsuzsy Bee, a Hubber in Canada that has chickens and ducks.


mod2vint profile image

mod2vint 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

WoW! Awesome first hub. Great Job and a very interesting read! Thanks!!


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

Jamie, this is an excellent first hub! I agree with you 100% that all school teachers should have children as a prerequisite. :D


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks for that prasetio30 - I enjoyed making the hub.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I agree with you that egg give the meaning of life. you have great thought about the egg. Good work!


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks Gypsy. I think keeping chickens is very popular now, especially as people in cities are now doing it!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Hi Jamie, love this hub. I always kept chucks when I lived in the UK. I wrote a hub on keeping poultry but not as sweet as yours!


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks for reading Bob.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

Sound information here, thanks.


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK Author

Thanks missmaudie for taking the time to leave your thoughts. After Easter I'll have to find a way to trade our eggs too, maybe for some newspapers at the village store as we seem to have a big paper bill each month!


missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 6 years ago from Brittany, France

This is a really great first hub! We have chickens too and I love them. There's nothing like cooking with your own eggs. We sell what we don't need to a couple of friends who say they are so much better than what they can buy in the shops. You can poach eggs just in a pan of water but you need the eggs to be really fresh so the whites don't spread all over the pan!

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