What happened to Betsy? – A look at that quintessential of American breakfast things!

This week I am traveling.  But that doesn’t mean I wont blog!  Its not for no reason they say that the best of ideas come out of the blue.  For me this happened aboard Southwest airlines which by the way has the best service, convertible roof tops notwithstanding.  I have always enjoyed their in-flight magazine Spirit.  The articles are informative, educational and entertaining.  Well, this one issue featured ‘Eggs’ and I have to say it was all of the above!

From philosophy to religion, from literature to every day language and culture the egg is ubiquitous.  Examples abound from Humpty Dumpty to Aliens and the Beatles singing Eggman.  Of course the articles pointed out the various ways eggs have found their way into our vocabulary – from nest egg, to good egg, to egg head and eggshells, to egging you on and egg on your face and numerous others; too many to list out here.  What interested me more was that eggs aren’t created equal.  Or the growing trend to raise chicken in homes or my recent adventure trying to locate Betsy the newest addition to the coop at a friends baby shower.  For these and more I urge you to read on!

Well we know all eggs are not created equal.  In fact you are what you eat.  A recent article in the New York Times ‘Another Side of Tilapia, the Perfect Factory Fish‘ amply illustrates this point. This article and the blog follow up at Epicurious clearly illustrate that its not elitist to wonder what goes into our food – literally.  The farmed Tilapia for example are fed soy and corn – not something that grows under water naturally last I checked!  You guessed it.  The beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids are also missing with Tilapia scoring a measly 135 mg per 100 grams of fish.  Compare that to say the wild salmon that comes in at 1700 mg/100 grams of fish.  Wait something is fishy.  What happened to those eggs!

Lets get eggstatic about egg statistics.  Iowa is not just first to the polls.  Its the most chicken friendly state producing upwards of 54 Million eggs a year.  Or did you know that egg whites are the best part of the egg containing the maximum protein, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and sodium concentrations.  As for the yellow it does store a lot of cholesterol.  But it also contains the bulk of the vitamins.  I further learnt that off the 78.5 Billion eggs produced in 2010 44.9 Billion went into retail, and 6.3 Billion in to the food services industry.  Combined, and assuming a population of 350 million thats about 142 eggs per person per year.  About 300,000 eggs go to Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs in Reno, Nevada each year alone.  I am not kidding.  You better get to know your eggs well.

This got me thinking.  Are there best places for breakfast atleast in my home state of CA that are worth knowing about.  Well there is a website that tracks just this kind of information.  Mr.Breakfast.com  is a site which lists and ranks breakfast establishments for all states. Atleast for CA the top five are listed as: Ole’s Waffle House in Alameda, Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles in Pasadena, The Sugar Shack in Huntington Beach, Jacks Restaurant and Bakery in Bishop, and Nick’s Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach.  If you have eaten at these places, do let us know!

But then what about folks who prefer to eat their breakfast at home.  Well a lot of them are getting the eggs in their backyard.  Yes, a lot of folks are taking to their backyards to raise chicken.  Some cities even have laws which allow a certain number of chicken to be raised domestically in residential neighborhoods.  Apparently even New York City allows the raising of hens.  Neighbors beware.  But then again when you consider the cost of a chicken, the coop (which you can fashion yourself if you want), and the cost of the feed ($20 at most a month), its a very cheap hobby to have the eggs delivered to your doorstep – literally.  Well almost, unless your front door faces your backyard.  A good source of information as mentioned in the articles is BackYardChickens.com  The site started in 1999 has everything you need to know about raising chicken.  There are health benefits to consuming these eggs as well when compared to the store front variety, such as lowered cholesterol, and increased vitamins.

“Betsy, Betsy.. Woo hoo… Where are you… Betsy! Betsy  come here… Oh dear”  My host was getting a bit alarmed.  We had been searching for 15 minutes in her backyard for the latest addition to her hen collection (Betsy had joined two others just a few weeks ago).  Still socially awkward and feeling a bit unwelcome Betsy used to hide.  But now she was nowhere to be found.  Of course our host was getting worried and soon the baby shower turned into a ‘find betsy’ affair for those out in her backyard. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long. Not long after one of the kids heard some scraping from behind one of the closed doors under a disused staircase.  We wedged the door open and sure enough there she was. Betsy had been found.   She had just laid the most perfect of eggs!

Note: We welcome your comments around a)the best breakfast recipe with eggs, and b)your favorite breakfast restaurant.

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