Green Eggs! Where's the Ham?
Last year I was searching the web for information on cooking duck eggs, a new-to-us food I had brought home from the farmers market. I found some great advice and recipes, but I also discovered what may have been at least a partial inspiration for Dr. Seuss when he was writing Green Eggs and Ham . (The principal inspiration was, of course, the bet with his editor that he couldn't write a book with only fifty words – but that's a topic for another post!)
Yes, there are actually green eggs ! Not just green-shelled eggs, and not eggs that have been coloured with herbs or food dyes. I'm talking real green eggs.
They're called pidan , or “ century eggs .” No, they don't look nearly as appetizing as the ones in the popular children's book. From what I've read they smell (and presumably taste) like ammonia. Apparently this is considered a delicacy in China.
The “century egg” is made using a traditional Chinese method for preserving fresh eggs (usually duck eggs) before taking them to market. It involves coating a fresh, uncooked egg with a sort of alkaline clay mixture brewed up with tea, ashes and lime. The coated egg is then rolled in rice hulls, at which point they can be taken to market. They are aged for several weeks or months, after which time the egg yolk turns green and the white like amber gelatine. Sometimes the whites get quite a bit darker, from brown right on through black.
I doubt I'll be trying a century egg any time soon, but I love that I learned about a food preserving method I had never previously encountered. And I can very much understand why Dr. Seuss would write an entire work about not wanting to even try green eggs
I am not even going to think about how the ham turned green....
H.C. Hou, “ Hunger and Technology: Egg Preservation in China ”
The Chinese Soup Lady, “ Century or Thousand Year Old Egg ”
The Silk Road Gourmet, “ Making 1000 Year Eggs ”
Tales from an Open Book, “ Green Eggs and Ham on a Bet ”
Note: This article was migrated from Bubblews, where it was originally published
Image Credit » https://www.flickr.com/photos/felixchia/6860799497/