When my son wrapped up his undergraduate college years, he gradually reduced the stock in his refrigerator to just about nothing. Living on a shoestring budget, he wasn’t about to purchase food he didn’t need after graduation. I’ll never forget the phone call one of those last couple of nights. He told us – rather proudly – he’d made a meal with two eggs… and a can of processed chicken. A “chicken scramble” if you will. To which I replied, “ick“. If we’d been on FaceTime he’d have seen my face turn a lovely shade of green.
Some foods were just not intended to be consumed in the same bite. I can’t think of a better example than chicken and eggs. All chickens hatch from eggs and all chicken eggs are laid by chickens, so why on earth would we eat them together? Can we skip the biology class and agree – at least by one definition – chickens and eggs are essentially the same “thing”? And really; how often have you found them side-by-side on your breakfast plate? Hopefully never.
The memory of my son’s kitchen creation locked itself away in my brain until recently, when Starbucks decided to meddle with their sous vide egg bites menu. Not content to offer just “Egg White & Pepper” and “Bacon & Gruyere”, Starbucks now offers “Chicken Chorizo Tortilla”, described as “perfectly cooked, cage-free sous vide egg bites, including chicken chorizo, and…” and… and… and I stopped reading right there. I couldn’t get past eggs and chicken in the same offering, gag reflex included. I’m not sure I’ll order any egg bites anymore.
To lend credence to my chicken-OR – not chicken-AND – claim, I turned to one of the experts in the field: fast-food icon Chick-Fil-A. CFA offers an extensive breakfast menu (Starbucks does not) so I figured, a restaurant built entirely on chicken would never offer eggs mixed up with chicken. Wrong-o. To my disbelief (and horror), two entrees loom large on CFA’s breakfast menu where you can get plenty of both. Choose from the Egg White Grill: a breakfast portion of grilled chicken stacked with freshly cooked egg whites on an English muffin; or the Chicken, Egg, and Cheese bagel: a boneless breast of chicken along with a folded egg and American cheese. Seriously, who buys this stuff?
I’m not sure who said it, but some would assert “the chicken is merely the egg’s way of reproducing itself”. (The same applies to the caterpillar’s “use” of the butterfly.) I like that, evil as it sounds. Kind of devalues the chicken, but also kind of proclaims: the egg came first. And what about that quandary, “which came first”? There’s not much to discuss if you really think about it. Make the simple choice – science or religion. Science votes for the egg, laid by something that wasn’t quite a chicken (but evolved into one once the egg hatched). Religion votes for the chicken, created by a higher power in those first six days.
Maybe chicken + eggs is the greatest thing never eaten and I just don’t know what I’m missing. I suppose I could ease into the idea one entree at a time. Start with corned-beef hash… with fried eggs. Move to full-on steak… and eggs. Swallow hard over chicken… and waffles (eggs in the batter). Then, at long last, order that new sous vide egg bite from Starbucks. Yeah right, that’ll happen… as soon as we all agree on “which came first”.