Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

When you’re learning to cook, it’s definitely the egg.

Eggs are an easy, cheap, delicious, and nutritious thing to cook when you’re first starting out. You can scramble, boil, whip, poach, or even slurp them raw. Although that, technically, doesn’t count as cooking.

When I was a kid, scrambled eggs were one of my top three favorite foods. After a brief estrangement during my teen years (trail mix and Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches supplanted them in my roster of fav treats), I found my love affair with the scrambled egg heating up again when I started living on my own.

My recipe for delicious scrambled eggs:

Crack your eggs into a small mixing bowl and beat them with a fork or a wire whisk until the consistency is relatively even. Some people like to add a dash of milk to their mixture at this point. If you’re feeling health conscious, you can substitute egg whites for some or all of your batter (you can either separate the yolk out of a whole egg or buy cartons of egg whites, like Egg Beaters). Add a little salt and pepper.

Melt a pat of butter in a nonstick frying pan. After lots of trial and error, I’ve found that the tastiest scrambled eggs are cooked relatively slowly, over medium-low heat. Once your butter’s melted, pour your beaten eggs in. Be patient- although the eggs will cook faster if you turn the heat up, they will also be tougher, dryer, and more likely to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Using a spatula, stir the egg mixture occasionally to form large clumps of egg. Once the eggs have thickened, add a little more salt and pepper to taste, and you’ve got an entree!

You can serve your oeuvre with salsa or sprinkle cheese on top, or just eat plain. Once you’ve mastered the basic beaten egg, consider adding fresh vegetables to your scramble to add some nutrition. Once you’ve done that, you’re only a spatula’s flip away from making an omelet, and that, dear reader, is a stepping stone on the path to soufflé. The path to culinary greatness is lined with eggs.

A few more egg basics:

-Unlike white and brown bread, white and brown eggs are exactly the same product. Color is incidental.

-An average large egg has about 75 calories and just over 6 grams of protein.

-Follow standard perishable food-prep procedures when handling eggs: wash your hands, keep eggs refrigerated, avoid cross contamination with other raw foods, and use only clean eggs with unbroken shells.

Until very recently, I didn’t know how to hard boil an egg. To save you the embarrassment of calling your mom with such a basic question, check out the American Egg Board’s formula for a perfectly hard-cooked egg and many other egg basics. You can find them on the American Egg Board’s Web site. Http://aeb.org/Recipes/BasicPreparation.htm

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