This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
On the assumption that ten milligrammes of iron are required daily by the average human body, then seven and a half eggs would suffice for supplying this quantity, therefore egg yolk is to be regarded as a useful food for bloodless persons.
Dr. Hutchison thinks that as a matter of fact a raw egg seems scarcely digested in the stomach at all, but to be passed out therefrom to a large extent unchanged, being perhaps such a bland nutriment as not to excite the secretion of gastric juice, nor to stimulate the churning movements of the stomach. The absorption of lightly cooked eggs within the intestines appears to be very complete, leaving only a very small residue. When a person of delicate digestion is served with fried bacon and eggs, the latter should be poached separately, and then sent to table with the boiled, or fried bacon, or ham, on the same dish; there is "reason in roasting eggs." A fried egg, by reason of the melted fat coating the egg, and hindering the contact of the gastric juice in the stomach, remains imperfectly digested, and burdensome.
The Omelette, formerly "aume lette d' ceufs," is a pancake made of eggs, so called from a supposed phrase "ceufs meles." It consists of eggs beaten lightly, with the addition of milk, salt, and sometimes a little flour, being browned in a buttered pan. Sometimes the omelette is prepared with cheese, ham, parsley, fish, jelly, or other additions. A suggestive French proverb runs thus: "On me fait les omelettes sans caisser des ceufs," - "Omelettes are not to be made without breaking eggs".
A baked egg is good eating, and easy of achievement. Break a new-laid egg on to a thickly-buttered plate, strew it with pepper, and salt, and cook slightly in a moderate oven. It must be eaten exceedingly hot from the same plate, which may be attractively surrounded by a narrow frill of crinkled tissue paper. Eggs to be poached should be a couple of days old; if just laid they are so milky inside that the cook, take all the care she can, will fail to secure therewith the praise of being a prime poacher. On the other hand the eggs must be sufficiently fresh, or success will be equally impossible. The egg-yolk contains certain organic substances in union with sugar, which are gelactosides. Egg lecithin, when extracted by the chemist, has been found to act curatively by its special phosphorus in cases where fresh raw eggs failed to produce any remedial effects. When given medicinally this stimulates the appetite, and leads, as aforesaid, to an increase of weight, constituting an excellent element of food whenever phosphoric treatment is found to be desirable; as in senile debility, general weakness, phosphatic urine, and similar conditions of exhausted energies, bodily, or mental.
Also "Condensed Egg" is now made by a process of removing the contents from the shell, and evaporating all excess of moisture, then pure sugar is added as a preservative. "There is no mystery," says the Lancet, "about this preparation. It consists simply of fresh eggs and refined sugar." Such "Condensed Eggs" are put up in jars hermetically sealed, and being perfectly sterilized, they will keep good for any length of time. No coagu-lation is caused in the process.
For "Egg-white water," in fever and diarrhoea, diffuse the whites of two eggs through a pint and a half of cold water, sweeten to taste, and add a little cognac, or other liqueur, if deemed advisable. For Egg-lemonade, shake together in a bottle the white of an egg, a tumblerful of cold water, the juice of half a lemon, and a teaspoonful of white sugar.
The Wood-pigeon had called Alice (in Wonderland) a serpent, because of her long neck. When questioned further Alice said very truthfully, "I have tasted eggs, certainly, but then little girls eat eggs, quite as much as serpents do, you know".
"I'don't believe it," said the Wood-pigeon, "but if they do, then they're a kind of serpent! that's all I can say".
Again, "I should like to buy an egg, please," said Alice (Through the Looking Glass) timidly to the old Sheep, in the little dark shop. "How do you sell them?" "Fivepence farthing for one, twopence for two," the sheep replied. "Then two are cheaper than one," said Alice in a surprised tone. "Only you must eat them both if you buy two," said the Sheep.
Eggs, are, according to Dr. King Chambers, highly nutritious sustenance in fevers, and acute exhausting illnesses, when taken raw, and diluted with water (or milk?), being thus rapidly absorbed; but if delayed within the digestive canal so as to become putrid, the products of their decomposition are peculiarly injurious; the sulphuretted hydrogen and the ammonia evolved are posionous to the intestines. An egg should not be positively boiled, but, so to say, coddled, or put into boiling water, covered over, and allowed to stand (near the hob) for five minutes; at the end of which time it will be well and evenly cooked all through.
Again, for another "Egg Silky," whisk the yolk only, or the whole egg thoroughly, and grate a little nutmeg over it; take a good teaspoonful of sugar, and stir well together; pour in gradually about half a tumblerful of boiling water, and lastly add from one to two tablespoonfuls of whisky. This is excellent for a catarrhal chill.
The eggs of those birds whose young are hatched without feathers, for example, plovers, exhibit when boiled a translucent albuminous white, which is not opaque like that of the fowl's egg under similar conditions. Moreover, the proportion of yellow yolk in the eggs of wild birds is considerably larger than in those of domesticated ones, adding thereby to the ratio of nutritive elements. But what are usually sold by poulterers as plover's eggs are those of the common lapwing (Vanellus cristatus)-The Plover (Charadius) is thought to have derived its name from the Latin pluvia, rain, because of its fondness for being on the wing in rainy weather. Not that every Plover's egg that comes now into the market would have become a Plover in due course if allowed to be hatched out. "All that glitters is not gold," and every nice-looking, dark speckled egg that reposes in a mossy basket, and is sold for ninepence, or a shilling, in the West-end of London, has not owned a Plover for its mother. The dwellers round the Norfolk Broads could, and they would, tell something about these so-called Plover's eggs. "Furriers," said Dr. King Chambers, "are in the habit of passing off tabby cats' skins as Japanese lynx, and hundreds of the best ' Plover's eggs' are laid by gulls on the East coast." Sir Lewis Watson, Baron of Rockingham, when at his newly purchased manor of Wilsford, Lincolnshire (1641), received the following delightful letter from his wife - " 'To my loueing husband Sir Lewis Watson, at Wilsford,' "Sweetheart, I thanke you for your Plouar, the which are very great daynties to us indeede - for the sweet sauce which is your kindnes in sending them, and will procure us doctar diet, and doctar meoriman (merryman) at the eating of them.