eggs

While I've been very good at keeping up with my Differences of the Day on Twitter, the blog posts have got(ten) fewer and f{a/u}rther in between. I'm committing this month (and hopefully from now on) to do one a week, and the way I'm going to make that feel more do-able is to piggyback on the work I've done for the #DotDs. Lately, I've been doing a lot of themed weeks of differences, and those can be built up into a nice little blog post.

I decided on #EggWeek because I was newly part of Egg Club. The first rule of Egg Club is that a generous member of our neighbo(u)rhood goes to a farm outside town and buys eggs from 'very happy chickens'. The second rule of Egg Club is that those of us with standing orders show up at her house with money and something to put the eggs in (we'll get to that, below).


Here are #EggWeek  differences I noted, and some information added-on by the tweople who responded to the tweets.

AmE has a vocabulary for fried-egg cooking that BrE doesn't, which starts from the assumption that if you want your eggs well-done, then you should flip them over. In UK, flipping is less common. In a (BrE) caff or (orig. AmE) greasy spoon and in some homes, a well-done egg is achieved by spooning the cooking fat over the egg. In my American life, I've never seen anyone fry an egg in enough fat to be able to spoon it. At any rate, the AmE vocabulary includes:
  • sunny-side up = not flipped
  • over easy = flipped over for just long enough that the egg white is cooked on both sides. Yolk should still be runny.
  • over medium = flipped over and cooked for a 'medium' amount of time/yolk-runniness
  • over hard = flipped over and cooked until the yolk is solid
BrE egg yolks can be described as dippy if they are nice and runny. A dippy egg is a soft-boiled egg into which you can dip your toast to get some nice yolk on it. 

That leads us to a difference that is more cultural than linguistic: in UK, soft-boiled eggs (often just called boiled eggs in this context) are just about always presented in an egg cup. I know some Americans own egg cups and use them, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Some UK folks proposed to me that this is because Americans don't eat soft-boiled eggs, but that's just not true. I once had a 70-something-day streak of having two boiled eggs and two slices of toast every evening for dinner. (This was back in my poor earning-rand-but-paying-back-student-loans-in-dollars days. You might think I'd have got(ten) sick of boiled eggs, but it's still one of my favo(u)rite meals. Only now I can afford some asparagus to go with it.)

But when I posted photos side-by-side  of British-style boiled-egg presentation and American-style, several British Twitterfolk protested that the American eggs were poached (righthand photo). No, they were boiled eggs that had been peeled and put on toast—which is exactly the way I eat them. (I am making myself hungry now. I guess I know what's for lunch.) The picture on the left is BrE egg and soldiers, the soldiers being the lengthwise-sliced toast strips.




Of course, this posting resulted in lots of people trying to tell me that the British way of eating boiled eggs is superior. You can have it, it's not for me. (My mother-in-law has given us several egg cups, perhaps because she couldn't find any at our house. I mostly store small kitchen bits in them.) Putting the egg on toast lets you give it a single and wide-spreading sprinkling of salt and (if you like) pepper. Peeling them is much easier if the eggs are fresh, which is what makes Egg Club so worth my while. The store-bought eggs I get in the UK are generally not as easy to peel. When I was a kid, a soft-boiled egg was a regular first foray in to the world of the eating after a stomach bug. My mom would peel it, and put it into a bowl, so you could smash it and dip your toast in it. But on toast is the grown-up way to go.  (And much easier than poaching, especially if you want to make a few of them.)

Egg cartons  are often called egg boxes in BrE:



The sandwich filling made of hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise is called egg mayonnaise in BrE, which Americans perceive as a pleonasm: all mayonnaise is made of eggs, so of course it's egg mayonnaise! But if you're perceiving it that way, you're probably imagining the stress pattern of the phrase as the same as you'd say herb mayonnaise for mayonnaise with herbs in it. The trick is to hear it like it's 'egg in the mayonnaise style'. The pronunciation of the mayonnaise is English, not French, but it follows a French food syntax (as we've seen before).  This concoction is called egg salad in AmE, though a lot of Americans would put in other ingredients as well to flavo(u)r the (orig. AmE) combo. This pattern holds for other mixes of bits of food with mayo: tuna mayonnaise/salad, chicken mayonnaise/salad.

There was one more #DotD in #EggWeek: whether scrambled egg is a count noun or a mass noun. In AmE, you can have a scrambled egg, but you wouldn't have scrambled egg. When you've got a bunch of it and you can't tell how many eggs are there, AmE goes for scrambled eggs. So, BrE scrambled egg on toast = AmE scrambled eggs on toast. I've covered this one before, so if you want to have a conversation about count and mass nouns, please see this old post.


One week of blogging down, many to go!

PS: I meant to point out another difference between US and UK (and European generally, I think) eggs: American eggs need to be refrigerated, British ones don't. Here's an article about why.

Egg cartons/boxes
colo(u)r-coded by size
PPS: What counts as a 'large' egg or a 'medium' egg differs too. Possibly not in the direction that you'd think. Have a look at Wikipedia

When I go to the shop to buy eggs in England, my choices seem to have more to do with how the chickens were raised than with the size of the eggs, whereas in US supermarkets, there seems to be more variety available in egg size, more clearly label(l)ed—e.g. in different colo(u)red cartons. You can see the difference in this photo of eggs on the shelf (not the fridge) in a UK chain versus this at our supermarket in NY state.

PPPS: It is very hard to get a white-shelled chicken egg in the UK. I go through a crisis about this every Easter when I'm trying to dye eggs (like the good American parent that I am, or try to be). I end up just leaving them in the dye extra-long and have dark colo(u)rs instead of pastel ones. In the US, white-shelled was the norm when I was growing up, but brown ones have become more and more common, on the mistaken belief that they are somehow more 'natural'. It's the species of chicken involved that determines the shell colo(u)r.

92 comments

  1. I remember being flummoxed my first visit to the US (forty years ago this summer) being asked how I liked my eggs at breakfast. And then, how did I like them fried when I said fried. I'm very much a sunny-side up person.

    When I have a boiled egg, I don't cut the toast into soldiers but just tear bits of it to dip into the egg. Not so much soldiers as irregulars.

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  2. Central Texas here. Never had soft boiled eggs until I went to Germany, and have had to teach pretty much every non-traveling American (adult and child) what I mean if the topic comes up. I love them, and own egg cups and spoons.

    I teach German, so the topic comes up at least once a year when we do food. I bring my egg cooker and offer samples. Most of the students who try them like them, but quite a few are grossed out by runny yolks.

    Once I ordered Eggs Benedict at a small town cafe and was flummoxed when the server asked me if runny yolks were ok. I refrained from shouting ‘it’s a f*cking poached egg! Of course!’ because I knew she’d probably had someone complain in the past. Grr.

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    1. Do you have to also explain what muesli is? I tried learning German on Duolingo a few years ago and the amount of discussion engendered by trying to translate "Das Müsli" into English was amazing, with many Americans refusing to believe muesli is an Engish word.

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    2. I would absolutely expect to have to explain muesli to an American audience. In AmE, I think that "granola" would be the term most likely to be spontaneously arrived at upon viewing real muesli and "cereal" for most of the packaged stuff.

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    3. Granola appears to be muesli toasted with sweeteners. Another translation someone suggested was oatmeal, but that's porridge in the UK and nothing like muesli.

      It's not as if you can't get it in the US. I've seen it in Trader Joe's. My sister says she has no trouble buying it when she's staying in the US with her partner.

      Funniest response I've heard to "You can't get muesli in the US" was a UK children's author. A friend of hers told me this.

      The author was on the phone to her US publisher, discussing changes that would need to be made to her book for US publication. One was to remove a mention of a character having muesli for breakfast.

      "We don't have muesli in the US," she was told.

      "Put the phone down now," the author replied. "Go out the front of your office and turn left. Go into the second shop you come to and ask for muesli." She had visited the publisher and knew that show stocked muesli.

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    4. What kind of a machine or utensil is your egg cooker?

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    5. I discovered muesli when I spent a year in Switzerland (1973/4). In those days the only kind you could get in the UK was (sweetened) Alpen, which I found too sweet, so I started mixing my own, which I still do, using porridge oats with either granola or chopped nuts plus whatever seeds and dried fruit I have to hand.

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    6. Egg cooker: https://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-25500-Cooker-Poaching/dp/B00F0R72JU/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=egg+cooker&qid=1581711739&sr=8-6

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  3. I love the tray - cooked hard-boiled eggs with colouredcoloured shells you can buy in German supermarkets. I don't know why they should be so nice, but they are!

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  4. I would say that "over hard" requires a broken yoke, not just a cooked through yoke. I suspect the "hard" part refers, at least originally, to the vigor with which you flip the egg, which results in the broken yoke.

    And I prefer over hard specifically because I don't like runny yokes.

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  5. >> a well-done egg is achieved by spooning the cooking fat over the egg

    This is called a "basted egg" in U.S. cookery. My mother-in-law orders them this way whenever we go out for breakfast, and I'd say about two-thirds of American servers understand it without further explanation.

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    1. Certainly the action of splashing fat over an egg whilst cooking it is known as basting in the UK - it's how I normally fry and egg - but as it's the default technique I've never heard it called that.

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    2. This is how I learned to cook them from my mom and we did call it basted. It works if you've fried bacon first and have lots of bacon grease in the pan. My mom also taught me to fake it though if you didn't have enough grease to splash over the top of the eggs by tossing a bit of water in the pan and covering it for a few moments. The steam created cooks the white on top of the yolks the same way that the grease spooned over does.

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  6. This basted egg is made in the grease left over from frying bacon. I'm not sure I've ever heard it called that, but I've seen it done, and maybe even done it myself, though I think I prefer eggs "over easy"--so they still have a runny yolk.

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    1. BrE (Scot). How runny the yolk is depends on how long you spend spooning fat over the top of the egg. Yolks of almost any desired degree of runiness are possible, with a little practice.

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  7. I'm American and the only time I've ever heard of spooning the cooking fat over the egg was in an art gallery, probably Old Woman Cooking Eggs by Diego Velázquez, or some similar 17th-century kitchen scene.

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  8. Re-reading your post (so good to hear you're planning to post more frequently! I do hope Life allows it), I can't help but wonder how you manage to peel your boiled eggs without burning yourself. Hard-boiled eggs get run under the cold tap to prevent that nasty dark ring on the outside of the yolk, but that would make a soft-boiled one impossibly cold. I prefer, if I'm going to eat them out of the shell, to "poach" them (actually coddle them) in those boob-shaped silicone cups.

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    1. I run it under cold water. Cools the shell a bit, but the egg is still hot.

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  9. Speaking of food, an article in the New Yorker (I think) recently referred to something as 'pigs in blankets' (sausages wrapped in some sort of pastry or bread) which seemed to amuse many English people, as here what we call 'pigs in blankets' are sausages wrapped in bacon.

    Many of these English commenters seemed to be working under the assumption that it was a fumbled use of English terminology, but as I understand it Americans really do call that dish 'pigs in blankets'?

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    1. Definitely. Typically made with (US) biscuit dough "blankets" wrapped around hot dogs (which are probably included on the edge of the Venn diagram of sausages, at least), then baked.

      Nutritious* and delicious.

      * I mean there's a lot of energy in each one, which is the most important thing, I think. 8-)

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    2. I wonder if it's the other way round, the UK getting a US term wrong. Wikipedia says the UK version first appeared in print in 1957.

      I remember on my first trip to the US in 1980 someone telling me about the US version of pigs in blankets, and I'm now wondering if I'd even heard of the UK version then.

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    3. I'm 64. As a kid growing up in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1960s I definitely knew what pigs in a blanket were. In fact, my mother sometimes made them as hors d'oeuvres for cocktail parties. I wish I could remember her method -- I'm tempted to believe she used prepackaged Pillsbury dinner roll dough and, rather than hot dogs, what are called cocktail wieners, which are shorter and slimmer. Net result is that these pigs in a blanket qualified as finger food and you could pop an entire one in your mouth in one go. In this era of absurd convenience you can also buy frozen pigs in a blanket (made with cocktail wieners, of course) at most any US supermarket.

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    4. "Pigs in blankets' is orig. AmE, according to the OED. So the BrE version (which is really pigs in pigs) is derivative. But what *really* doesn't make sense is the orig. meaning, which is oysters in bacon. Oysters aren't pigs!

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    5. Also in thee UK, there are sausages in a pastry casing, known as sausage rolls.

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    6. I am of course very familiar with sausage rolls, but American pigs in blankets have a sausage inside that is much more recognizable than the nondescript filling of a sausage roll.

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    7. I recall my mother made sausage rolls with just sausage meat, no skin.

      Which reminds me that in the US I've ordered a breakfast with sausage and what's arrived is a square of sausage meat, again no skin. That is not what I'd call a sausage. Not a proper British banger.

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    8. At breakfast, you should be offered the choice: link or patty.

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    9. Oops I’m replying to off-topic comments, against my comments policy. I’ll need a sausage post.

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    10. :-)

      Possibly also on patty, which I think is used more in the US.

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    11. My mum used to make sausage rolls using skinless sausages wrapped in pastry. It was a shortcut but they still tasted better than the shop ones.

      I've only head of "pigs in blankets" in the last few years. They were called "sausages wrapped in bacon" I our house!

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  10. My mother, an immigrant from Germany, ate soft-boiled eggs in an egg cup. I thought the gooeyness was yucky as a child, so she simply hard-boiled my eggs.

    My wife eats them in a small bowl with butter. However, our eggs are more likely to be poached nowadays, as it's easier to get right. If whichever of us is cooking breaks a poached egg, it is understood that I will eat it. She eats her egg with a spoon and wipes the bowl with a bit of toast. I stick with the spoon.

    To baste a sunny-side-up egg cooked in a frying pan, simply tilt the pan so that the melted fat all runs to one end (but not so much that the eggs do). Then a spoon will easily get it. I use a wooden spoon about the size of a teaspoon; a friend of mine uses a metal spoon, and I wonder that he doesn't burn himself, but he says he doesn't.

    Speaking of eggs, shirred 'gathered [of material]; baked [of eggs]' seems to be AmE, at least in origin, and OED, EtymOnline, and Wikt all agree in saying "etymology unknown". The verb shirr is apparently back-formed; the vowel is NURSE.

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    1. Baked eggs were very much a thing in my British childhood; see my nostalgic recipe here.

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    2. I frequently have those, although we call them poached! I'm not good at making poached eggs, so cook them in those silicone cups you can buy, which my brother calls silicone boobies, and I do so know exactly what he means. But those are cooked in water rather than in the oven.

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  11. As a Russian immigrant to the US, I've only been eating fried eggs sunny-side up or as an omelette (which has to include at the very least some kind of milk or milk-derived product). I was aware of "sunny-side up" and its meaning, but wasn't really sure what the alternative was. I've heard "over easy" without knowing what it means, but not any of the other "overs". I've also heard "sunny-side down" which in my imagination meant the yolks are somehow below the whites. Now I wonder if that really exists and, if so, what it actually means.

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    1. "sunny side up" or "sunny side down" were the choices at home when I was a child. Later I encountered "over easy" and "once-over" as alternative descriptions.

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    2. I should have mentioned that was 1950s/60s US.

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    3. As a self-proclaimed master of the omelet I'm of the firm opinion that omelets should never, under any circumstances, contain milk or cream.

      The tri-fold French omelettes, with their smooth texture and their fillings spilling out the end, are an abomination.

      To get properly fluffy (the way an omelet should be) the eggs should be well beaten to incorporate lots of tiny air bubbles. Milk or cream will ruin the effect, leaving you with a flat disc of egg to ineffectually wrap around your forlorn stuffings.

      ...but milk is required for good scrambled eggs.

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  12. Can you teach America about Scotch eggs? Near me in Marske, The Clucking Pig make amazing Scotch eggs with free range meat and the eggs with soft yolks and firm whites. Perfect.

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    1. Extra tasty if some chopped chives are mixed with the sausage meat.

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  13. My mother, who was from South Carolina, used to fry eggs in the leftover bacon fat, and she would spoon the fat over the eggs to cook the tops. I pour most of the bacon fat out and fry the eggs in what's left. I put a little bit of water around the edges and cover the pan. This steams the tops. My son calls these "perfect eggs." As for soft-boiled eggs, I put them in 1/2" of boiling water in a pot, cover them, and cook them 6 minutes. Maybe American eggs are larger, but a 3-minute egg is just plain sloppy. 6 minutes is enough to have them still a bit runny, but not sloppy. I then either slice them over buttered toast, or put two in a bowl, chop them up with a spoon, sprinkle with herbed salt and a tiny bit of butter, and eat with toast on the side. I do use egg cups sometimes, too, a method I learned when living in Germany in the early 60s.

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    1. You don't live on a mountain, do you? Here at 30m above sea level in the south of England, I find more that three minutes and the yolk is turning hard.

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    2. Though altitude is an issue, I generally think eggs are smaller in UK than in US. When I use US recipes that call for 'two large eggs', I always worry that my two English eggs won't be the right size. BUT: I Wikipedia tells me I'm wrong about this.

      But maybe the difference is this: when I go to the shop to buy eggs in England, my choices seem to have more to do with how the chickens were raised than with the size of the eggs. Whereas in US supermarkets, there seems to be more variety available in egg size. It might be that the ones I'm using in the UK are 'medium'. Without that as a key point of choice, I just buy what's there size-wise.

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    3. Lynne: Don't the egg cartons (or boxes) in supermarkets in the UK indicate the size of the eggs? I just checked the carton in our fridge, which indicates the eggs are "large". I'm pretty sure I've also seen cartons in the supermarket indicating the eggs are "medium" in size. According to this Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_egg_sizes), the US Department of Agriculture sizes eggs as Jumbo, Very Large or Extra-Large (XL), Large (L), Medium (M), Small (S) and (I kid you not) Peewee. There's no comparable UK ministry responsible for sizing eggs?

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    4. Sure, they indicate it. But there aren't different colo(u)rs of cartons for the different sizes, and I'm not sure there are always a lot different sizes there. I'll stick some photos into the post.

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    5. About egg adjectives: the poster above wrote "sloppy". As an Irishman I'd always say "runny" in this context. A Difference of the Day perhaps?

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  14. Regarding Müsli, I learned to eat that in Germany in the 60s, too. But now you can just buy it in any market. I'm from the SF Bay Area in California, a hugely, diversely foodie place, so that's probably why it's readily available.

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  15. Pennsylvania has dippy eggs too!

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  16. I grew up eating Familia brand müsli, from Switzerland. This was in New Jersey in the 1960's, so it's been available on the US for a while.

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  17. Incidentally, any thoughts about the colour of the egg shells? When I was growing up, most egg shells were white with the occasional brown shell. But I don't think I've seen a white egg shell in the forty years I've been doing my own shopping.

    But I remember an internet discussion a few years ago where American participants claimed all their egg shells were white. I did a little digging and read somewhere that in post-war rationing in Britain, brown shells were associated with local farms and therefore fresher, so the big egg producers started selecting for brown shells.

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    1. The vast majority of eggs sold in the US are white, though over the last generation, as all things "artisinal" have become important to consumers, brown eggs have become more common -- as have eggs whose cartons (as the one in our fridge right now) claim they came from "cage free" hens who were given a vegetarian diet.

      The vegetarian diet thing is a measure of how wacky (or estranged from farm life) US consumers have become. I know someone who once tried raising chickens and who told me that, like us, they're omnivores -- just as happy to gobble up an ant or an insect as feed grain.

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    2. I notice that in Germany most eggs are white. Brown eggs are considered - with absolutely no justification at all - to be "healthier" than white, by a presumed analogy with brown bread, brown sugar and wholemeal flour! Obviously, it's a false analogy, as the colour of the shell depends on what you feed the chickens, but even still - you can't get white eggs in the UK!

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    3. Wait a sec: there are no white eggs in the UK at all? Mind blown! Here in Finland it's almost excluively white eggs. I don't think there's been any discussion about the "healthiness" of the different shell colours though.

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    4. I don't know about "at all", but the standard carton of six eggs I get in my local Tesco are all brown. Possibly on some hidden shelf there are eggs with white shells but I've never noticed them. And I don't think I've seen one in the UK since the seventies.

      When I was in Helsinki for a couple of weeks in 2017, I was staying in self-catering accommodation, but I never bought any eggs and didn't think to look for them in the supermarket.

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    5. Brown eggs come from chickens that lay brown eggs, like Rhode Island Reds, White eggs come from chickens that lay white eggs, like Leghorns or California Grays. What the chicken eats effects the color of the yolk, but not the color of the shell.

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  18. The other difference I find between American and British eggs is that (on the whole), British shop-bought eggs have a more orangey yolk and they taste nicer, whilst American store-bought eggs are yellower and have a bizarre taste. The first time my friend cooked me scrambled eggs on a trip to the US I was almost disgusted!

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    1. Yolk colour is mostly based on what the hens are fed. My uncle produced eggs in New Zealand a while back, and you had to know when you ordered the food for them where the eggs were going to be sold. For local (NZ) consumption, you used one mix of food, and the eggs yolks came out a paler colour (more like the UK ones, not quite as pale as the US). If you were exporting to Asia (especially to Japan) you used a different mix, and the yolks were a really dark almost burnt orange colour - much darker than the B logos on the posts here. The actual food content of the mixes was almost identical, it was various extra ingredients that affect the yolk colour.

      Having eaten a lot of both from his farm, the colour of the yolk itself makes no real difference to the taste if the rest of the food mix is the same. But different food sources do affect the taste, as well as how fresh the eggs are, so I'd bet that the standard foods for US and UK hens are different if there is a taste difference to the eggs.

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  19. I've added some postscripts to the post about other egg differences—so have a look at the post again if you're interested...

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  20. Regarding the use of the word chicken, most country people in the UK and, I expect, in the USA refer to egg laying birds as hens, and tend to use the term chickens for male and female poultry kept for meat production. Advertisements for laying hens and point-of-lay pullets are common in the agricultural press over here.

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    1. But when talking about eggs, we all tend to talk about 'chicken eggs' and 'duck eggs', not 'hen eggs'. In the Corpus of Global Web-Based English, 'chicken egg(s)' outnumbers 'hen egg(s)' 46:8 in British English (and three of those 'hen eggs' were part of a brand name 'Bella Hen eggs'—so they shouldn't count!)

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    2. That surprises me - in my family we'd always talk about hen's eggs!

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    3. Aha—lots more with the possessive. (Sorry, I checked the possessive for 'chicken' and then when I didn't find any, I forgot to look for it for 'hen'.)

      So, corrected numbers: 46 chicken, 23 hen's.

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    4. This matter crossed my mind when reading the blog post too. Living in Finland, I'm totally brainwashed by Finnish and Swedish (hönsägg) now! So that's why I'd always say "hen's egg" nowadays.

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    5. But we would refer to a duck egg, goose egg, even dinosaur egg, as well as a hen’s egg, in the UK.

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    6. And a quail’s egg is possessive too.

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    7. As a town person I call them chickens whether they're for laying eggs or for eating. I'd only worry about saying hens if I was specifically needing to refer to their sex, as in hens and roosters. On the other hand if I was a rural person who was raising them, I might very well use this language differently.

      Also, it's always a henhouse, but it's also always a chicken coop. Never a chicken house and never a hen coop. No clue why this is.

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  21. I worked in a greasy spoon when I was young and the fry cook made what she called basted eggs--eggs with the oil (not fat) basted over the yolk so that it cooked just a tiny bit on top but was still runny in the middle.

    I suspect fry cook is an Americanism, but I've never checked that against reality.

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  22. Welcome back to blogging Lynne. Thanks for the simple explanation about North American egg doneness degrees. This is something that paralyses us visitors to NA from across the Atlantic with fear every time we go for brunch. It seems so complicated!

    I read the bit about the egg container at the start of the post and smiled to myself. I knew vaguely where that was going!

    Here in Finland, by the way, the egg origin labelling system is very confusing for the consumer. I'm not actually sure if this is an EU-wide system, but it may be. A number on the eggshell determines the type of egg: 0 is organic, 1 is hens that roamed outdoors, 2 is hens that got to run round indoors, and so on. The annoying catch (swindle, if you will) is that almost all eggs labelled "free range" on the box are class 2, so the hens have possible never seen the light of day.

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    1. I just had a look at a box of Lidl UK eggs. All it says is "class A" and "large" and whether it's from caged birds.

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    2. Finnish eggs have class categories too. I wonder what Class A refers to, if not to size. Good to know the birds (presumably hens) were caged. Makes it easier to decide.

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    3. This is the UK classification
      https://www.egginfo.co.uk/british-lion-eggs

      It should be the same as the EU.
      "2"means "barn" eggs which are the ones that can run around inside. They're not called free rang in the UK.

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    4. You're quite right. The problem is how I've been mentally translating the Finnish and Swedish text on the box as "free range", not what the egg producers say in English. The words in question are "vapaan kanan" in Finnish, literally "free hen's", and "frigående höns", literally "free-going hen's" in Swedish. Both of these are category 2 eggs, i.e., from barn hens. So they are not caged, but they don't get to run around outdoors. We only ever get category 0, 2 and 3 eggs in Finland. I've never seen a 1. Thanks a million for the link! I now know the correct term in English!

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    5. As hens in Finland can't be outside all year, so they would rarely be category 1 eggs. EU requirements for category 1: the available outdoor space has a minimum of 4 m² with grown pasture for the poultry, and the remaining food must come from organic production. A category 2 is a deep litter barn...i.e. room (and heat) to continue to be a chicken in a cold climate but the ability to be social and be with other hens. A 3 by EU standard must be a "Furnished cage" which must have a means of collecting eggs immediately upon laying as well as providing space, Additional space, nesting, a perch etc.

      Delete
  23. "But what *really* doesn't make sense is the orig. meaning, which is oysters in bacon."
    Lynne, I thought they were 'angels on horseback' - not that I've ever eaten them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angels on horseback are prunes wrapped in bacon, I think. And ideally the prunes have been soaked in something like Armagnac first....

      Delete
    2. Perhaps oysters are devils on horseback, prunes are the angels (but those big dates work pretty well too, with about one-third of a rasher of streaky bacon)

      Delete
    3. I thought it was the other way round.

      Delete
  24. (Sorry, have just realised I should have posted this as a reply!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are correct (about the angels and devils!)

      Delete
  25. Since we're talking about what's available in stores, I thought it might be worthwhile to throw in a link for what comes up under "eggs & egg substitutes" at one of our local supermarkets (Colorado):

    https://www.kingsoopers.com/pl/eggs-egg-substitutes/02003

    (King Soopers is a Kroger chain, FWIW.) I just hope this link isn't geo-fenced.

    Not intended as a commercial; please delete it if it seems unreasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  26. If memory serves, in the UK in my 1950s childhood, white eggs were commonplace and having the odd brown one turn up in a box was considered almost a sign of good luck - very possibly something to do with the perception, as noted above, that brown eggs were somehow more authentic. I suspect this hardened into a generally assumed preference (however inaccurate) for brown eggs with the great deal of publicity given to campaigns in the 60s and 70s against factory farming of (white) egg production. Hence the emphasis at point of sale on the conditions under which the hens are kept.

    Might one explanation for the relative under-use, in the UK, of different customisations of how an egg is cooked be that we don't go out for cooked breakfasts quite as much - or that it's a hangover from the attitude to family mealtimes (also from my 1950s childhood) that told picky children "You'll eat what you're given and you'll like it"?

    Incidentally, though this is wandering out of your remit, I was interested to learn, on a trip to Quebec, that the Canadian French for "sunnyside up" is, rather charmingly, "miroir" (less so, perhaps, the idea of cooking an egg that way in maple syrup, which is apparently also a thing).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Germany, a fried egg is a Spiegelei, also translating as "Mirror egg"!

      Delete
  27. Now, does anyone want to discuss deviled eggs? What's your preferred recipe? For me, mayo, chili powder, paprika, a PINCH of mustard, and bacon.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I grew up in the Midwest of NA...pigs in a blanket were pancakes wrapping a breakfast sausage...but maybe that was just my family.

    ReplyDelete
  29. As a Brit, I always spoon the (bacon) fat over, but would never call it basted.

    Surprised no-one's brought up the poached vs coddled conundrum. A British coddled egg, being an egg cracked into a container and stood in water to cook - comes out like a poached egg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always thought that was just another way of poaching an egg.

      I grill my bacon, so never have any fat to spoon over the egg! I wouldn't call it basting though, even though that's what it is. Basting seems to be restricted to joints of roast meat/poultry.

      Delete
  30. In 1980s New England we had ads that claimed that “Brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh." I never understood why until I read this article.

    https://newengland.com/today/living/new-england-environment/brown-eggs-vs-white-eggs/

    ReplyDelete
  31. As a Brit who hates runny yolks I found the American approach ensured I always got what I wanted when I visited the country. Back home it can be difficult to explain to staff what I want and even then it often has to be a runny yolk as 'that's how they come from the kitchen'. Hotels with buffet breakfasts usually have just a large tray of sunny side up fried eggs with no option for anything else. Looks like I will have scambled eggs again!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Spooning fat over the egg: fry the bacon first then fry the eggs in the remaining bacon fat, plenty to spoon over the egg . No need to salt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your bacon must render more fat than ours does, which seems only to render water!

      Delete
  33. There's a bit in The Guardian today about a call for shoppers to go for white eggs as brown egg layers are more aggressive and are being painfully de-beaked.

    Apparently, it's difficult to sell white eggs in supermarkets. It gives a statistic that 11bn brown eggs are produced a year in the UK, compared to 45m white eggs.

    ReplyDelete

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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)