World Egg Day 4

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I was once warned that the slippery slide to alcoholism was to drink without a reason. I can’t recall who told me but it was some bloke in a pub and, to be honest, I think he really did have a drinking problem — every time I was in the pub, there he was.

Once, when I was a wage slave and my talents were being ruthlessly exploited, I had lots of reasons to take strong refreshment. Indeed, I can distantly recall that, on rare occasions, I became as refreshed as a newt.

Now, in retirement, I must find reasons to take a drink. My reason today – October 14 – is that it is World Egg Day. A cracking good reason I think. If I could bother to make it, which I’m not, I’d whip up a jug of eggnog naturally including a very large dollop of brandy.

Later today I will toast World Egg Day.

You should stop reading right here is you suffer from ovophobia — the fear of eggs.

The genius who created some of the greatest suspense and horror movies ever, Alfred Hitchcock, was terrified of eggs.

He once told an interviewer, “I’m frightened of eggs, worse that frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes. Have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I’ve never tasted it.”

It seems Hitchcock didn’t suffer from alektorophobia, the fear of chickens, or ornithophobia, the fear of all birds — if he did he could never have made the 1963 horror classic, The Birds. Then again, he had an irrational fear of watching his own movies and never ever did because they frightened him.

My diligent research has revealed that there are about 18.5 million layer hens in Australia producing about 434.6 million dozen eggs annually. Each hen produces about 300 eggs a year — this suggests to me that they have been unionised by the CFMEU to get more than nine weeks holiday a year — and their “productive life” is 72 weeks although they can live up to 12 years. Then they are declared “spent” and are removed.

You can guess at their fate although they at least had a longer time on the planet than rooster chicks which are killed at birth.Well, they don’t lay eggs, do they?

I actually did look up what a chicken sexer does to discover the useless rooster chicks. It is not a career that I ever contemplated and when I read what they have to do, I was glad that my high school careers guidance officer never suggested it. Suffice it to say that chicken sexers should vigorously wash their hands before going home at the end of the day.

We do have an obsession about eggs.

We all hope to have a “nest egg” for our retirement, we all hope to be thought of as a “good egg” and not a “rotten egg”, we hope never to have “egg on our face” and this might be avoided if we are “an egghead” who can “walk on egg shells” and not have “scrambled eggs for brains”. We should think twice about “egging someone on”.

You don’t have to restrict your intake of eggs to breakfast or brunch. Any time of the day is just fine.

My prize for the most innovative egg recipe goes to a Chinese restaurant I once patronised had a dish on its menu had called ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ — it was chicken and eggs. Not that bloody enigmatic for the Chinese, or us, is it?

Lots of us have tucked into ‘Eggs Benedict’ probably not knowing who ‘Benedict’ was. After reading about New York stockbroker Lemuel Benedict I feel I am channelling his spirit when I awake feeling not quite myself. In 1894, Lemuel was suffering from a truly awesome hangover and he staggered into the Waldorf Hotel hoping to find a cure. He ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker (container) of hollandaise”.

The chef was so impressed he immediately added it to the menu although substituting ham for the bacon and a toasted English muffin for the toast. Variations have multiplied but Benedict has an honoured place in the history of eggs. His name lives on just because he got drunk and had a hangover. Is there a lesson to be learned here?

Perhaps Benedict should have tried owl’s eggs — some believe that when scrambled and fed to somebody who has a drinking problem they are instantly cured. Another quant superstition — and there are hundreds — is that a small hen’s egg tossed on the roof of your house can “appease the witches” while any woman who tosses an egg shell into an open fire on May Day and then sees a spot of blood on it knows that her days are numbered.

Oscar Wilde once commented, “An egg is an adventure; the next one may be different.”

If my toasting of World Egg Day gets a wee bit out of hand I will order Eggs Benedict for brunch tomorrow.

Cheers!

How do you eat your eggs? What do you think came first — the chicken or the egg?

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Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. Laughing all through as usual Russell. This is the gold winner
    “I became as refreshed as a newt.”
    A true LOL is quite rare but this line did it for me.
    Thanks

    1 REPLY
    • Thanks again Leone – you have an extraordinary perception of what constitutes fine literature! You will understand that I used the word “refreshed” rather than “pissed” because my mummy would have frowned upon that., even from the grave.

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