Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

Mike Cook

To many of us in America, eggs are for breakfast. Certain local restaurants seem to be out to change this perception, though. You might think them crazy for considering eggs an every-time food, but guess what? History is on their side.

Eggs weren't always a breakfast food, any more than they were a lunch food or a dinner food. They were just food. Then, apparently, bacon happened. There's no single primary source available online about this, but the story goes that at one point early in the twentieth century the marketing pioneer Edward Bernays was hired to sell more bacon. At the time, toast and coffee were typical breakfast foods. Bernay's uncle was Sigmund Freud, and Bernays must have picked up some of his uncle's ability to pick apart minds and introduce catchy ideas, because Bernays went on to convince Americans that a real American breakfast meant bacon and eggs.

Many expanded waist lines later, here we are. What's most surprising is not the way we've embraced eggs for breakfast, but the way we (with the exception of the hardboiled egg on a salad, perhaps) think they're not really appropriate at other times.

This is clearly not the case in other cultures. Asian cultures have egg scattered throughout their menus, as evidenced by egg drop soup, egg rolls, sushi, and fried rice, among other dishes. To them, egg is just a food to be used whenever its qualities demand.

Some Baltimore restaurants seem to agree. Eggs provide a wonderful creaminess that can complement all kinds of foods, and make an excellent source of protein that is often more versatile than meats. Which is why you may start finding eggs everywhere.

Both Abbey and Golden West have burgers with sunny side eggs on them; and with a sharp eye I'm sure you'll find other restaurants doing the same.

Charleston serves a quail egg with their foie gras. (Quail eggs, because of their smaller size, are becoming popular on their own as a way to add egg without overpowering a smaller plate).

B&O Brasserie's market flatbread (which changes with the season) sometimes has a fried egg on it.

Beef tartare is traditionally served with a raw egg yolk, and can be found that way at a lot of area restaurants.

Woodberry Kitchen, however, must be the home of egg fandom. In addition to an egg being served with their tartare, they serve deviled eggs, eggs come with their veal sausage plate (which is almost a breakfast plate as Bernay would want us to think of it, though it's served for dinner), and with their beef and egg noodles dish.

What other non-breakfast egg dishes are out there these days? No doubt there are many, and will soon be even more. As Bernays' marketing feat begins to wear off and chefs rediscover the versatility of the egg, we'll see it more and more on lunch and dinner plates. I, for one, think that would be eggcellent.

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User Comments

Foodie#1 says
October 20, 2011

Great article! Don't forget the Republic Noodle has crab-wasabi deviled eggs, and Blue Hill has a pickled deviled egg snack as well. Mama's on the Half Shell has an omelet on their daily lunch menu, with choice of oysters or other fillings, although that one I am still unsure about. Has anyone had oysters with their eggs yet?

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