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WHICH CAME FIRST? Can you answer this age-old question – Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why do you think so?
If you believe in the Bible, the chicken came first. "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven’." Genesis 1:19-20. Chickens are a type of fowl, so the Christian Bible says that chickens came first. If you have a different religion, you might have a different belief about the how the treasures of the earth came to be. In the science of evolution, both chickens and eggs came before man. Since both the birds and the eggs were on earth first, historians weren’t around to record which came first. Whichever answer you gave, it’s okay. A chicken can’t be born without a chicken egg and a chicken egg can’t be laid without a chicken. Both chickens and eggs are important!
Where did American Chickens Come From?? Scientists say that there were chickens in America long ago. But, these chickens weren’t the same kinds of chickens that lay our eggs today. Historians believe that the first chickens related to today’s egg layers were brought to America by Columbus’ ships. The chicken breed that lays most of the eggs we eat is the Single-Comb White Leghorn. The name Leghorn comes from a city in Italy called Livorno in Italian.
Can you find the city with the English name Leghorn or the Italian name Livorno on this map of Italy? Why do you think Columbus would have sailed out of Spain with chickens from Italy?
Christopher Columbus was Italian. He came from the town of Genoa, Italy which is also famous for salami. But, Columbus’ wife was Spanish and the couple lived in Spain for some time. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain paid for his voyage. Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492. He brought the hens along on his second voyage the next year. The laying hens first supplied eggs and then chicken meat for the hungry crew.
TIME TO LAY AN EGG The average laying hen lays 257 eggs a year. How many hours does it take the hen to lay a single egg?
TIME TO LAY AN EGG To answer the question, you need to do these math problems: 365 (days in a year) times 24 (hours in a day) = X (hours in a year) X (hours in a year) divided by 257 (eggs laid in a year) = Y (hours to lay one egg)
The answers to the math problems are: X = 8,760 hours in a year Y = about 34 (34.085603) hours to lay one egg The actual time it takes for a hen to make an egg and lay it is 24 to 26 hours. Then the hen rests about 30 minutes or so before starting to make another one. In addition to resting about 1/2 hour each time an egg is laid, some hens rest about every 3 to 5 days and others rest about every 10 days. Some hens hardly rest at all. The resting times increase the total time to lay an egg. Altogether, with all the resting times, the average hen lays about 5 eggs a week (52 weeks in a year times 5 eggs a week = 260 eggs a year).
There are lots of interesting shapes – some natural, some manmade. For example, a dinner plate and a wheel on a bike or a skate are round circles. A ball or an orange is a sphere, a circle that has depth. Tree trunks, soda straws and the tubes that hold paper towels are cylinders. You might eat a scoop of ice cream in a cone or ride on a road that has safety cones set out. Maybe you had a slice of pizza or a slice of pie shaped like a triangle at lunch today. You can walk on a sidewalk made up of sections that are squares. A square with length, width and height is called a cube. Your television set is probably shaped like a cube and some freezer trays make little blocks of ice that are cube shaped. Usually writing paper is a rectangle and so is an envelope. You can probably find many things around you that are these shapes and other shapes, too. While you’re looking around at shapes, can you think of the name for the shape of an egg?
SHAPEWISE, WHAT'S AN EGG? If you said an egg is an oval, you’re right! Now that you know this, can you draw an egg?
SHAPEWISE, WHAT'S AN EGG? To draw an egg, you can start with a circle. Then, pretend that it’s a round water balloon. You can pull on the top and bottom of the balloon (use your pencil to stretch out the ends, make them longer). Or, you can push in on the sides (move the lines forming the sides closer toward the center). Either way, you’ll get an oval that’s like an egg.
GETTING GOOD GRADES After eggs are laid, gathered and washed, they get graded and sized before they’re packed into cartons. The grade is decided by checking both the outside and the inside of the egg. On the outside, the checker looks to see if the shell is clean and unbroken and has a normal shape and texture – without bumps, ridges, thin spots or rough areas. The shell color doesn’t matter. On the inside, the checker looks to see if the white is firm, thick and clear. The checker also looks to see if the yolk is the right size and shape and has no blemishes. Through the shell, the checker can see the size of the air cell, too. The smaller the air cell, the higher the grade. Eggs are graded AA, A and B. AA is the highest just like an A+ is the highest school grade.
In the past, a candle was held up behind an egg so the checker could see inside the egg without breaking it. Today, eggs move on rollers over a strong light instead of a candle. But grading is still called candling. Another way to check the quality of an egg is to break it out onto a plate. When the egg is broken out of its shell, the checker can see the white and yolk even better. Candling is used most of the time because most eggs are sold in the shell. But, some eggs are randomly broken out as an extra quality test. Here’s what different grade eggs look like when broken out: Grade AA The insides of the egg cover a small area. The white is firm. There is a lot of thick white around the yolk and a small amount of thin white. The yolk is round and stands up tall.
Grade A The insides of the egg cover a medium area. The white is pretty firm. There is a good amount of thick white and a medium amount of thin white. The yolk is round and stands up tall. Grade B The insides of the egg cover a very wide area. The white is weak and watery. There is no thick white and the large amount of thin white is spread out in a thin layer. The yolk is large and flat. Now that you know what the grades look like, which egg grade/s do you think would be better for frying or poaching? Which for hard-cooking? Which for making scrambled eggs, omelets and quiches and for baking?
AnswerGETTING GOOD GRADES • Grade AAis best for frying and poaching, but A is okay, too. Because the whites are more firm, grade AA or A eggs will have better shapes when you break them out. They won’t spread out as much in the pan when you fry them. There won’t be as much white that breaks off from the egg and forms "angel wings" in the water when you poach them. Grade B eggs would spread out a lot if they were fried and a lot of the white would float off into the water if they were poached.
Grade A is better for hard-cooking . Because the smallest air cells are in grade AA eggs, the membranes just inside the shells are very tight up against the shells. This makes it harder to peel off the shells without taking some of the whites along with the shells. Because the thinnest whites are in grade B eggs, the yolks sometimes move around inside the eggs. This can cause the yolks to be off center. Off-center yolks can make pretty funny looking hard-cooked egg slices or deviled eggs. Grade A shells will usually be easier to peel than grade AA and grade A yolks are more likely to be centered than grade B.
Any grade can be used for scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches and baked goods or any other recipe in which the shape of the egg isn’t important. Once you beat them up, all the different grades of eggs will work the same in a recipe. It doesn’t matter if their whites are thick or thin or their yolks are tall or flat. Grade B eggs don’t look as pretty as grade AA or A, but they have the same good nutrition. You won’t usually find grade B eggs in the stores. Some are used by bakeries or restaurants, but most are made into egg products. No matter what grade, eggs need to be kept in the refrigerator whenever you’re not cooking or eating them. Refrigerating eggs keeps their quality high for a longer time. If you leave eggs out at room temperature, their quality will go down faster. When the quality goes down, the eggs’ air cells grow, their whites thin and their yolks flatten. Scientists say that a day a room temperature will cause an egg’s quality to go down as much as a whole week in the refrigerator.
YOU CAN COOK UP A STORM WITH EGGS Have you ever seen a chef’s hat? It’s called a toque (say this like tow with a hard k on the end). A toque is white, stands up tall and has about 100 pleats. Some cooks say that the pleats stand for all the ways you can cook an egg. Can you think of 100 ways to make eggs?
Many of the 100 ways to cook eggs are just different ways of using the basic methods of cooking eggs. The basic methods are: Fried: (cooked in a pan on a burner) Over-easy: (turned over in the pan to cook both sides, with the second side cooked lightly) Over-hard: (turned over in the pan to cook both sides, with the second side cooked as much as the first) Sunny-side up: (cooked in a pan with a lid on one side only) Scrambled: (beaten with milk and cooked in a pan on a burner while the cook stirs)
Omelet French Omelet: (beaten with water, cooked in a pan on a burner until it’s a circle, then folded or rolled) Puffy Omelet: (made with separately beaten egg whites and yolks so it has lots of air, then cooked in a pan both on a burner and in the oven)
Cooked-in-the-Shell Hard-cooked: (cooked in very hot water until the white and yolk are both solid) Soft-cooked and Coddled: (cooked in very hot water until the white is set and the yolk starts to thicken but isn’t hard)
Poached: (cooked out of the shell in simmering water or another liquid) Baked:(eggs alone or eggs broken into a sauce or a nest of other foods and baked) Oven-baked:(baked in a dish in the oven) Range-top-baked:("baked" in a pan with a lid on a burner)
Custard Baked: (eggs beaten with milk and other ingredients and baked in the oven) Sweet: (eggs beaten with milk, sugar and flavorings) Cup custard: (baked in a small glass cup) Pie: (baked in a pie plate with a crust, crumbs or another food on the bottom) Pudding: (custard ingredients stirred together with bread, rice, tapioca or other foods and baked in small glass cups or a casserole dish)
Quiche: (a custard pie baked in a pie plate or quiche dish with a crust, crumbs or another food on the bottom and unsweet ingredients, like vegetables or cheese, instead of sugar in the custard) Meringue: (beaten egg whites and sugar) Souffle: (a sauce plus separately beaten egg whites and yolks and flavoring foods)
Sauce or Dressing Mayonnaise dressing: (oil, lemon juice or vinegar and seasonings thickened and held together by egg yolks) Hollandaise sauce: (butter, lemon juice and seasonings thickened and held together by egg yolks) Caesar dressing: (oil, vinegar, garlic and other seasonings thickened and held together by eggs)
Making Hard Boiled Eggs • Hard-Cooked Eggs as many as you want or can fit in the bottom of a pan or pot • Foods you need: Eggs • Kitchen things you need: Saucepan OR pot and a lidKitchen timer • How to cook • Put the eggs in one layer on the bottom of the pan. Put the pan in the sink. Run water into the pan until the water is 1 inch over the eggs. Put the pan on a burner. Turn it to medium-high heat. • Let the water come to a boil. Put the lid on the pan when the water is boiling. Move the pan onto a cold burner. Set the timer for 15 minutes for Large-sized eggs (or for 12 minutes for Medium-sized eggs or for 18 minutes for Extra Large-sized eggs). • Put the pan in the sink when the time is over. Run cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool. Put the eggs into the refrigerator if you’re going to use them later or peel them if you’re going to use them right away. Be sure to use all the cooked eggs up before a week is over.
How to peel Gently tap a cooled egg on the countertop or table until it has cracks in it. Roll the egg between your hands until the cracks turn into small crackles all over the egg. Use your fingers to start peeling off the shell at the large end of the egg. If you need to, you can hold the egg under running cold water or dip it in a bowl of water to make peeling easier. Throw out the pieces of eggshell when the egg is all peeled. You can eat the egg or use it in a recipe when it’s peeled.
HOW HOT IS HOT? When it gets very hot in the summer, some people say that it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Do you think this can really happen? Why or why not?
People who say "it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk" are usually overstating the facts. They want you to understand that it’s very, very hot. The truth is that most foods need to reach a pretty high temperature before they’re cooked. Eggs need to reach 144 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit before they’ll turn from a liquid to a solid. A sidewalk would have to be awfully hot to fry an egg.
Because the economy is better now, the Chinese are eating eight times more eggs than they did back in 1979. Today each Chinese person is eating 38 pounds of eggs a year. Can you figure out how many dozen-sized cartons of eggs 38 pounds would be? How many eggs? Hints: Large-sized eggs are the size hens most often lay. One dozen Large-sized eggs weigh 1 1/2 pounds.
To answer the questions, you need to do these math problems: 38 (total pounds of eggs per person per year) divided by 1 1/2 (number of pounds for a dozen Large-sized eggs) = X (number of dozens of Large-sized eggs for one person for one year) X times 12 (number of eggs in a dozen) = Y (number of Large-sized eggs for one person for one year)
The answers to the math problems are: X = 25 1/3 (25.333) dozens of Large-sized eggs per person per year Y = 304 (303.999) Large-sized eggs per person per year Egg consumption is increasing in America, too. In 1991, the average American ate 233.5 eggs during the year. Last year, each American ate 245 eggs.
There’s a street in Julian, California named Hardscramble Trail and both a city in Wisconsin and a township in New Jersey called Egg Harbor. If you wanted to name a place after eggs, what would you call that place? Why?
Because boiling makes eggs tough and rubbery, you could call a tough place hard-boiled. This name might be good for a place that’s very rocky. Boiling also makes big bubbles that break at the top of the water in a pan. A place that has crashing ocean waves could be called hard-boiled, too. Hard-Boiled Harbor could be a port where it’s tough to sail because of rocks and crashing waves.
**Scrambled eggs are beaten until the whites and yolks are all mixed up. Sometimes people say something is scrambled when it’s mixed up, too. For example, if a television or radio program is coded so it can’t be picked up by mistake, the program signals are said to be scrambled. A place where television and radio programs don’t come in clearly could be called Scramble City. **Egg whites are mostly protein and water. When you beat the whites, air gets caught in the protein molecules. When you cook the beaten egg whites, the air expands and the recipe puffs up tall with all the hot air. That’s what makes meringues and soufflés light and airy. A place with tall mounds of white rocks could be called the Meringue Hills or the Meringue Mountains. A place where the air is usually hot could be called Souffleville.
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF BROKEN EGGS In the U.S. in 1998, hens produced 6,657,000,000 dozen eggs – that’s 6.657 billion dozen! (Multiply by 12 to find out how many individual eggs that is.) After these eggs were laid, about two-thirds (2/3) were sold in the shell and one third (1/3) of them were broken – not by accident, but on purpose. Why? Because after the eggs are broken out of their shells, they can be made into liquid, frozen, dried and specialty egg products. Some of these egg products are used by food manufacturers to make other foods – mayonnaise, ice cream and cake mixes, for example. Some are used by restaurants and other foodservice outlets for cooking and baking – maybe even your school cafeteria.
It would take a very long time for human hands to break all these eggs. Instead, special machines break the shell and sometimes separate the yolk and white, too. When the eggs are separated, the yolk falls into a special cup and the white slips into another container. These machines work very, very fast. One machine can break 108,000 eggs an hour. Can you figure out how many eggs the machine can break each minute? Each second?
To answer the questions, you need to do these math problems: • 108,000 (eggs broken in one hour) divided by 60 (minutes in one hour) = X (eggs broken in one minute) • X (eggs broken in one minute) divided by 60 (seconds in one minute) = Y (eggs broken in one second)
The answers to the math problems are: • X = 1,800 eggs broken in one minute • Y = 30 eggs broken in one second
EGGS ARE FOR CELEBRATING Can you match these holidays or occasions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)to their definitions(A, B, C, D, E, F)?
1. Lent 2. Spring and Easter 3. Egg Salad Week 4. National Egg Month 5. World Egg Day 6. Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve A. Time to celebrate the nutrition, versatility, convenience and economy of eggs B. The second best time of the year for egg sales C. A time when eggs represent life and rebirth D. A good time to try an egg recipe from another country E. Time to enjoy all the tasty things you can do with hard-cooked eggs F. A time when many Christians eat eggs, fish and vegetables
Answers 1-F — Lent Each year, Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, except for Sundays. Christians believe that Christ fasted for 40 days before he was crucified. To honor Christ’s sacrifice, early Christians ate no meat, eggs, milk, cheese or cooking fats for 40 days during Lent. Today some Christians now fast only on Fridays and give up only meat. Instead of meat, Lent meals are often based on eggs, fish and vegetables. There are so many different ways to make eggs that Lenten meals can be different every day
March, April and May are spring months. Easter Sunday is sometimes in March, but is in April most years. During springtime and at Easter, it’s a tradition for people of many different lands to decorate eggs. Many centuries ago, the decorated eggs stood for the return of new life to the earth when winter turned into spring. To Christians, the eggs later came to represent Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb at Easter. Eggs are still used as a symbol of rebirth today. Both children and adults have fun decorating eggs and eggs are used in games, like egg hunts and egg rolls, too. 2-C — Spring and Easter
3-E — Egg Salad Week Egg Salad Week is the full week right after Easter Sunday every year. In many, many U.S. homes, families decorate hard-cooked eggs for Easter. After they’re cooked, hard-cooked eggs should be kept in the refrigerator and used before a week is over. The week after Easter, many people turn their decorated hard-cooked eggs into egg salad sandwiches. If egg salad isn’t your favorite, you can celebrate Egg Salad Week by making deviled eggs or another hard-cooked egg recipe that you like.
4-A — National Egg Month May is National Egg Month. More eggs are sold in America during the Easter season – usually in April – than at any other time of the year. Then, sales go down, but the hens keep on laying eggs. After Easter, because the supply of eggs is normal but the demand for eggs is less, their price ordinarily goes down. Starting in May and running through the summer, eggs are usually an even better bargain than they are the rest of the year. Through the American Egg Board and other groups, the American egg industry celebrates National Egg Month in May to remind home cooks how good eggs are. Egg farmers want cooks to remember that eggs are nutritious to eat and simple to make in many different ways. . . plus eggs are especially easy to afford from May until the end of summer.