My best friend and I don’t see each other that often, but every time we do we cook elaborate fried egg sandwiches. We take everything out of her fridge: left over fajitas, onions, garlic, peppers, jalapeños, guacamole, salsa, goat cheese, spinach, kale, sausages… Her job is finding everything and anything that can go with eggs. She is the creative one. My job is the production. I cut and peel and satay and fry while she makes us coffee. I am addicted to frying eggs. It’s like roasting marshmallows- so easy to do, but really getting it perfect is a skill. We slather two pieces of toast in goat cheese, put everything in between, and eat to the sounds of our favorite lady self-care playlist. When I think of my best friend, it is always of this ritual. We make eggs every day that we’re in the same place together. It is usually our only plan for the day. It is always satisfying and always delicious.
I don’t know which of us started making eggs, but I know that the cooking and fascination with eggs has been a part of my life for a long time. There is something poetic to me about them. They symbolize the circle of life in an object. Like a circle, they are round and fit perfectly in your palm. Their weight is incredibly satisfying- light but with a fantastic sense of density. They are not consistent all the way through. The inside of an egg is beautiful and interesting. I remember studying chickens and eggs in my kindergarten class and being satisfied by the round yellow of the yoke, surrounded by the white.
Eggs also represent womanhood and femininity. Females of all species have eggs. Our eggs hatch or grow. We are the carriers of hundreds of potential life forms, and although our eggs must be fertilized they are still our eggs. They are also nourishment. The pure protein of eggs is both healthy and delicious. I feel it makes sense that when I think of nourishing and caring for people, it is by making an omelet or fried eggs and toast. It is a combination of my mothering instincts, my want to fully nourish someone, and my innate connection to my femininity.
I realized the other day that the raw egg white looks and feels like the mucus your body discharges. Instead of feeling grossed out by this realization, I was more in awe of it. Eggs really are a part of us. They are fluid, like women’s bodies. These are the fluids that keep us alive, that enable our muscles to move smoothly, that keep us healthy, that make sex enjoyable. Without these fluids, we are not women.
When I was 7, my family inherited the batch of chicks my sister’s kindergarten class hatched because no one else wanted them. All 13 of them lived in a box in our living room, lit by a heat lamp, creatures so small you could crush them if you held on too tight. Soon they started to grow feathers, and within two months they went from chicks to chickens. They were my pets. Raised from birth to be held in my arms, they obliged when I picked them up. They had names and personalities. When we found the first egg in the chicken coop, we blew out the white and yoke and saved the shell. We wrote the name of the hen and date on it. We did this for the first dozen eggs. We were proud of our chickens and celebrated their accomplishments. My parents saved these eggshells for years, finally throwing them out when I went to college.
Eating the eggs of your beloved pets transforms the egg-eating experience after eating store-bought eggs for years. When store bought, the eggs are sterile. A grocery store lacks the same ambience as a poop-filled chicken coop. There is no sense of origin. They represent an oppressive capitalist food industry in which chickens, like machines, are born and raised in tight metal cages with the sole purpose of laying eggs. You can taste this caged existence in the eggs themselves. The shells are usually fragile and break like paper under the touch. The taste is bland, lacking inspiration and hope. If you are what you eat, then we are recreating this system of caged oppression every time we buy and eat eggs, turning the nutrients we receive into energy to become better cogs in the machine ourselves.
A fresh warm egg on the other hand has an orange yoke and is filled with flavor. The shell is thick like a fingernail, supporting a protein-packed inside. As a child, I ate the scrambled eggs from my favorite chickens and thought about them as I ate. This is an omelet from Parakeet. This is from Lorpi. I would later go to the coop and thank them for my meal. In this way, eating eggs was more than just the physical act of cooking and eating. It was a reciprocal relationship between my childhood friends and me. The miraculous science that animals in my backyard could form edible spheres of protein still amazes me to this day. I understand now this childhood was a privilege. My parents raised me in a small protest of the food industry while many other parents did not have the space or means to do so.
From growing up with fresh eggs in the house, eggs weren’t only a healthy option but a necessary one. There were almost too many eggs. It you didn’t eat them there would be no room in the fridge. Perhaps that’s where my egg-eating habit began. Out of necessity.
Eggs give me a strange sense of empowerment. They are the purest forms of protein, and they make me feel strong. They are fertility, they are life. Food is nourishment, the fuel you need to live. Eating is the center of every culture for a reason. We share our love with our food. We grow with our food. We turn our food into energy. It seems logical that eggs turn into the energy I use to become a stronger, more mature woman every day, to learn of what that means, to embrace myself. Eggs symbolize my sense of home, my self-acceptance, my relationships, my childhood, my adulthood. We all come from eggs, and from eggs we grow.
It is those moments in the kitchen with my best friend, blaring our lady self-care playlist and crafting these perfect sandwiches, that I feel more at home than ever. This image comes to mind when I’m homesick or missing her. It’s where I’m from, and fried eggs always play an important role in the experience.