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The Egg

Alert the media: I just ate an egg for breakfast.

This earthshaking move was seismic in several ways.

I'm always concerned with cholesterol; at my age, who isn't? So for the past lots of years, I've been choosing egg whites or egg substitute. I like those things because in addition to appearing virtuously healthy, I seem to get more product-size bang for the calorie/Weight Watcher point buck.

So why an egg?

For one thing, my nutritionist friend keeps screwing up her face in one of those "I don't get it" looks when I tell her that I don't do eggs. She insists that studies show that eggs - eaten in moderation - do NOT raise the nasty cholesterol levels. She assures me that the higher fat/calorie/ww points in one egg is more than made up for by the satiety and nutrition that the real deal offers compared to the things that get lost in the translation. Oh, yes - and quite frankly, a real egg tastes better than the substitute, not to mention that there ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby.

But the main reason I chose an egg over eggbeaters this morning is that even someone like me - who craves order and fears the unknown, especially in their food - needs to mix it up periodically.

So I pull out one oval from the little 6-pack in the fridge, spritz the spray stuff onto the pan, heat it up and let 'er rip.

My observations:

1. No matter how you cook it (I went for over easy), one real egg covers less space in the pan than the substitute.

2. There's a reason that making an egg is considered one of the tests-par-excellence for chefs. In cooking, I tend to be less interested in perfection than I am in shortcutting - and real eggs cannot be handled that way. Cooking the substitutes a few seconds longer doesn't change the eventual taste (which I admit is a bit anemic); cooking an egg too long gets you the equivalent of a rubber sole. Or a rubber soul.

2a. I found myself hovering like a heli-mom over the frying pan, lest my egg come out looking and feeing like one of those fake eggs teachers keep in their classrooms to teach about nutrition.

3. OK - fine - this was one mighty good tasting product - and yes, it tasted better and more satisfying than the substitutes. Add a Vitalicious muffin top and a cup of my husband's yummy fresh coffee, and all in all, it really tasted good.

4. Time. I'm usually pretty hungry by the time I eat breakfast, so I scarf down my concoction of egg substitute fried up w/spray stuff with some salsa added. But this morning - knowing that there was one non-ostrich-sized egg, I deliberately took my time to eat, cutting off and chewing and savoring each bite carefully.

5. Back to the taste: while I'm not going to buy shares in the egg board, nor am I going to be singing the "incredible, edible egg" jingle all day, it tasted really good, fresh, *real.*

Thus ends today's food challenge. I'll be back to the boxed stuff tomorrow or the next day, but I claim my gold medal for taking a risk.

Have an eggy-licious day!


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