I'm doing a little 1970s fondue party this week and…
Consider the egg.
It has a perfect and luscious shape. It symbolizes birth, re-generation, growth. In the Upanishads, written 800 years before the Christian Era, the egg is essentially the Creation myth: “In the beginning, this world was non-existent. It became existent. It developed. It turned into an egg.”
In the kitchen, the egg is just as magnificent and is the beginning of many culinary processes. It is said, though hyperbolically, that Escoffier had 600 ways to make eggs. That’s a good start for any cook.
It’s easy to see the power of even a single, humble egg, when you consider something as elemental as mayonnaise, an emulsion of oil and egg yolk (along with lemon juice, water and often mustard). The ingredients should be at room temperature with the oil whisked into the other ingredients slowly and steadily, and then more rapidly.
In fact, a single egg yolk can emulsify about 12 cups of oil, as long as there is enough volume of other liquid ingredients for the yolk to be incorporated.
The egg is pretty cool.[Image: Chef Colby Lemoine magically suspending an egg despite gravity.]