Our bodies have a mind of their own when it comes to food cravings. Our biological clocks always seem to be in tune with the season, and winter is the time of soups, stews and roasted vegetables. Maybe it's like the panda's thumb — an evolutionary throwback from a time when our food source was dependent on the season.
With all this natural rhythm, I'm having a hard time defending the appearance of eggs on my table so frequently right now. Dinners might be a frittata with roasted red pepper, feta and grilled asparagus and lunch a simple scrambled egg sandwich topped with chili garlic sauce from Saigon Market or huevos rancheros with crispy tortillas, cheddar cheese, peas and smoky diced ham. On weekends I've been haunting little cafés like Chez T, resting in the window seat, lingering over the last bites of an omelet and my second cup of coffee.
Such a simple food, yet we get so much from eggs. They supply us with vitamins B2, B5, B12, D, E and K, as well as iron, phosphorus and zinc. They're a quick fix for the dinner problem in our over-committed lives, but they're also ripe with an ancient symbolism tied up with motherhood, birth and religion.
Along with natural connections to a woman's eggs and birth, in Christianity the egg symbolizes the Resurrection, representing the emergence of Christ from the tomb.
Long before this, the Egyptians and Persians dyed eggs in spring colors and gave them to friends as a symbol of renewed life. Creation myths from many cultures maintain that the earth itself was hatched from a giant egg.
So how did this symbol of rebirth, fertility and renewal find its way to my table so frequently in February, my most dreaded winter month? The smooth, rounded shell draws me on cold evenings when I get home late from work. Cranky and hungry, I stare into a semi-empty fridge. Then I see the box on the bottom shelf and feel comforted.
I cut up some potatoes to roast and heat the skillet. Oddly, as I wait for the eggs to set, adding bits of cheese and herbs, this fertility symbol channels fathers to my kitchen — my dad trying to make eggs and pancakes for us when mom was sick, my husband's father cooking eggs and potatoes over a campfire in the wilds of his beloved Upper Peninsula. Men strong enough to carry the weighty meaning within the egg.
CONTACT LORA ARDUSER: larduser(at)citybeat.com