Chicken eggs are one of the most commonly eaten foods on the planet, and also one of the most versatile. They can be fried, poached, hard boiled, deviled, coddled, shirred, or scrambled, and are incorporated, both cooked and raw, into thousands of recipes. They’re the glue that holds much of the food we eat together, from brownies to meatloaf, and on top of all that, they’re delicious and nutritious. But we bet that there are some things that you didn’t know about the incredibly versatile egg.
Egg consumption statistics are mind-boggling. Every year, more than 6.6 billion dozen eggs (more than 79 billion in total) are produced in the United States, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that each American eats about 255 eggs per year — which is actually down from the 1950s, when annual egg consumption was around 400 per person. There are about 280 million egg-laying chickens in the U.S., and egg farms even have their own advocacy groups, among them the Iowa Egg Council, the Virginia Egg Council, and the New England Brown Egg Council.
Bird eggs have been a valuable food source since prehistoric times, and since then eggs have been an indispensable part of global cuisine, appearing in everything from Middle Eastern shakshuka to Taiwanese oyster omelettes, from Mexican huevos rancheros to Iranian baghali ghatogh, from Italian frittatas to British kedgeree, and from Jewish matzo brei to Japanese okonomiyaki. Their uses really are infinite.
Read on to learn a whole bunch of things you most likely didn’t know about chicken eggs, from what the top egg-producing state is to what the name of that little white squiggly thing inside every raw egg is. Eggs are one of those foods that you either love or hate — some people gag at the smell of them, and others eat one for breakfast every day, like Abraham Lincoln did (fun fact) — but you have to admit, eggs are one of the most indispensable foods in existence.