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Egg: A Dozen Ovatures

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by Lizzie Stark
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People have invested eggs with so much significance that Lizzie Stark’s exploration of eggs in history is divided into a dozen different thematically organized chapters. Their breadth is a reminder of how much attention we pay to eggs.

Among the paths Stark follows are:

  • The egg as a cosmic signifier in religion and cultural identity
  • Egg collectors, plenty of whom have plunged to their death in pursuit of rara ova
  • Times of egg scarcity and the lengths to which people will go under such duress
  • Egg money and the ways that poultry and eggs have allowed women to carve out forms of financial independence
  • Culinary egg prowess as demonstrated by Jacques Pépin
  • The preferred texture of egg dishes
  • Decorated eggs, a practice older than human history

The author of two previous books without food content and a writer for various national publication, Stark writes with an eye toward contemporary issues—issues surrounding the development of human eggs surface at several points—and a grasp of cultural complexities that acknowledges both triumphs and failings.

Those whose curiosity is spanked by Stark’s impressively nimble journey will be glad to know that she provides detailed endnotes to help you on your own investigations of things as varied as medieval egg recipes, the quest to send egg-laying birds into space as self-renewing protein sources, or penguin-obsessed oologists.

Hardcover.

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