Aylin Öney TAN - [email protected]
Eggs have fascinated people since a long time. Their perfect form, smooth and round, firm and fragile, containing the start of a life have always mesmerized the human being. As food, it is miraculously nourishing and amazingly versatile in its use. Fried, boiled, scrambled, poached, pickled, preserved, whipped, whisked; we surely have an appetite for eggs.
Religions are obsessed with eggs. The Latin expression “Omne vivum ex ovo,” meaning “all life comes from the egg” sums up its symbolic place in all beliefs. The dormant state of eggs suddenly starting to hatch definitely has a surprise factor, intriguing the senses of curiosity, mystery and fascination with miracles. When the chalky shell, as still as a pebble, starts to quake and crack revealing the tiny chick coming to life; it is like a miracle indeed. No wonder all religions attribute a certain symbolism to the egg, and have it on their most important feast tables as the ultimate food.
Forbidden food during the Lent period, Easter is the time to feast on eggs. All dairy and meat is to be abstained during the fasting period of the Lent, and eggs are considered also a part of the animal sourced foods to be stayed away. In reality, it is also the very same season when hens lay fewer eggs; it is quite a pragmatic act to save the eggs for hatching to allow the chicken population to expand. The eggs collected toward the Easter feast will be the reward of the long waiting, and also the celebration of an egg-centered feast as a symbol of springtime fertility. In the religious context, the Easter egg symbolizes resurrection and birth; it reconfirms the belief in the renewal of the life cycle. The hatching of the egg is akin to the emergence of Christ from his tomb. The Holy Trinity is likened to the three main components of the egg; the shell as the father, the yolk as the son, and the white as the Holy Spirit.
Though in Western cultures the egg is almost always associated with Easter, many other spring festivals have egg at the center of their celebrations. Nevruz is one of them, with boiled eggs dyed colorfully adorning the tables, and egg dishes served abundantly. Likewise the Passover Seder table must have a simple hard-boiled egg. It symbolizes not only the beginning of life but also the birth of national existence of Jews after the exodus from Egypt. Here their new adventure begins; freed from slavery, they embark on a new voyage to start anew. The state of Jews at the time of exodus was exactly like an egg, just laid from inside the hen, released from the conditions in Egypt, but not hatched yet, yet to break its shells to expose the baby chick within.
Whatever the religious attribution or mythical symbolism; the egg is a feast and definitely a celebration of life. No other food, as simple and as humble as the egg can create such joy and festive atmosphere as the egg.
This year, Easter and Passover fell on the same dates last week. If you did not have enough eggs already, now it is time to celebrate spring with an egg-centric feast!
Note of the Week
Yesterday was the day for the referendum, which I noticed, had an awkward relation with eggs. The ballot papers were the color of eggshells; white for “Yes,” while eggshell brown for “No.” White, as the color might appeal many, but eggshell brown psychologically stands for organic and wholesome, the natural way to go! Hey, is there a superior mind out there deciding on those significances of colors? If so, someone should remind about that egg symbolism related to getting freed from chains!
Recipe of the week
Asparagus and eggs have an affinity with each other. Asparagus is synonymous with spring just like eggs. Though they to do not have a religious meaning attributed to the asparagus, they surely have an aphrodisiac tag attached to it, due to its erected form sprouting from the earth. That makes it alone a spring favorite, unconsciously always seeking food related with fertility. Taste wise asparagus and egg creates a match made in heaven. Here is how I prepare mine these days. To confess, the days I’m in a writing spree I tend to adopt habits of a dormitory student or an unable bachelor trying to nibble on the fastest and easiest food I can hold of. When my spring bundle of joy was delivered directly from the asparagus fields, I was challenged with the task of cooking them the easiest way possible. The answer is to toast them just like making a grilled cheese toast, no oil, nothing. Pressed in between the hot griddles of the grill-toaster, it will be ready within minutes, as you fry your egg in the pan with a few strips of bacon or pancetta. I enjoy it with a few shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of oregano- flavored olive oil.
Where to find
Until recently, asparagus were extremely rare and difficult to find, but thanks to two crazy entrepreneurs, Arman Badur and Murat Şenbuz, who found an ideal place along a valley in Eskişehir, at the banks of the Sakarya River to start their asparagus venture. Their company, Nomad, provides green, purple and the elusive white asparagus, and the harvest season has just begun. Found in most top supermarkets, it is also possible to directly order very fresh ones from the company. Check the website to order online: https://kuskonmazvadisi.com/dukkan/
Not to miss
Note down the dates May 13 - 14 for a grand tasting of Turkish Wines and Challenging Master Classes with Caro Maurer, Master of Wine, and Oz Clarke, an eminent British wine writer. The event, organized by Gustobar, will take place at The St. Regis in Istanbul. Places are limited for sessions, so best to reserve as soon as possible. https://www.gustobarshop.com/bilet-satisi