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Mindful : June 2014
June 2014 mindful 31 I started collecting eggs when I was ten. The first one I ever got—made of green marble—had belonged to my mother. Others in my collection are made of cedar, cut glass, polished stone. One is engraved with the Chinese cha racter for happiness. Another, f rom the Middle East, is painted with tiny camels. My favorite teacher collected deco- rative eggs and he inspired me to do the same. But my reasons went deeper tha n imitation. That is, I was fascinated by the freedom in the form. Though the creators of my eggs all worked within the confines of one basic shape, they crafted endless variety in color and texture and image. There is potency in this form. Eggshells, la rgely composed of cal- cium carbonate, are a natural marvel— at once fragile and herculean. Tap an egg sideways on the rim of a bowl and The Good Egg its contents are yours for the scram- bling. Nonetheless, if you squeeze a n egg in your hand, you’ll feel the unbro- ken strength of its double a rches. Eggs keep moisture in; they keep moisture out. They’re food in their own perfectly sealed containers. And between white and yolk, eggs are nutritional power- houses, high in protein, low in fat. But, for me, the most amazing thing about eggs is the feeling I get from resting one in my palm. The fit is so perfect that there is no chicken and egg dilemma. With my fingers curled around the smooth form, I understand it as both pinnacle and promise. This, I believe, is why protestors hurl eggs. Beyond the wet mess, an egg is a nugget of power. As much as I’ve always appreciated their esthetics, I didn’t always relish eating eggs. Now, however, I stock my fridge with flats, not cartons; I can’t get enough. Some people say that when you crave a particular food, it’s because your body lacks what that food is packing, so perhaps my current consumption is rooted in a need for complete protein, for vitamins A, B, and E. I suspect, though, it’s more about pleasure than health. I started buying free-range eggs from my local farmers market because of two ugly facts: In factory fa rms, hens are cra mmed into cages so sma ll that they can’t even spread their wings; and their beaks are frequently cut off—without anesthesia—so that in their distress they don’t injure each other. But ethics aside, the large brown eggs the farmer sells me are also simply better, tastier. Crack a poor or mediocre quality egg onto a hot griddle, and the white will spread thin and wide. In contrast, the eggs I buy at the farmers market have such thick whites that the yolks sit high, like perky suns. Not too long ago, I perfected my technique: Since a cold egg will break in hot water, I begin by warming one in my pocket. Next I boil it for exactly five minutes and crack it quickly open with a spoon. I add a sprinkle of salt, a dash of pepper, and then I tuck into the creamy richness—the incomparable yellow on yellow of butter melting into a hot yolk. ● Andrea Miller is the editor of the anthology Right Here with You: Bringing Mindful Awareness into Our Relationships. Makes 24 12 large eggs 1 1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise Juice of 1⁄2 lemon Sea salt and pepper Smoked paprika, to taste 2 tbsp fish roe 2 tbsp chopped chives Olive oil, to drizzle Place eggs carefully in a pot and cover with water. Once the water is simmering, cook for 8 minutes. Place in an ice water bath and cool. Peel the eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice eggs in halves, length- wise. Using a small spoon, scoop yolks into a small bowl. Place egg white halves on a serving platter. Mash up egg yolks and stir in mustard, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon yolk mixture into egg halves (or pipe in using a pastry bag). Finish with a dash of papri- ka, fish roe, and chopped chives. Deviled Eggs with Fish Roe and Smoked Paprika Scrumptious eggs can make all sorts of dishes. Andrea Miller reminds us that although their form is deceptively simple, they can be amazingly complex. mindful eating