By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS – From a breakfast cafe in Denver to the Little Italy that is Boston’s North End, one ingredient is a staple in every major city and the thousands of diners, bakeries and home kitchens in between: the egg.
The omnipresent oval comes over easy and poached; baked inside pastry crusts and rolled into yellow noodles; mixed into mayonnaise and creamy salad dressings; used in other goods like shampoos and vaccines.
Eating — or using — one is nearly unavoidable in a country that produced more than 90 billion eggs in 2009. That’s exactly why thousands of consumers, chefs, store owners and home cooks are scrambling after two Iowa farms recalled more than a half-billion eggs linked to as many as 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning.
No runny yolks and slimy egg whites in her house!
In Rebecca Stewart’s home in West Hartford, Conn., the 36-year-old mother uses eggs so much she calls them her “go-to food.”
Although Connecticut hasn’t reported any cases of salmonella and the tainted eggs weren’t shipped to the state, Stewart said the nationwide attention has cemented her opinion that she’d rather they be overdone than undercooked.”To me, eggs are the perfect food, but I always cook them all the way. I don’t want anything runny in my eggs, and certainly not in my child’s eggs,” said Stewart, who also writes Hartford Hospital’s “mommyhood” blog with three other mothers.
In the Stewart home, eggs become quiche when she wants her 3-year-old son, Charlie, to eat more vegetables.
She’s been the object of gentle teasing from some family members for how solidly she cooks her eggs, but she won’t budge.
“As a mom, I’m still using eggs, but what this current situation says to me is to be sure you cook them thoroughly and don’t be foolish,” she said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says thorough cooking can kill bacteria, but has suggested that while federal investigators continue looking into the egg recall, all cooks take a cue from Stewart and avoid runny yolks.
Associated Press writers Jill Zeman Bleed in Little Rock, Ark., Sarah Brumfield in Sparks, Md., Russell Contreras in Somerville, Mass., Heather Hollingsworth in Knob Noster, Mo., Trevor Hunnicutt in San Francisco, Luke Meredith in Des Moines, Iowa, Daisy Nguyen in Santa Monica, Calif., Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee, Stephanie Reitz in Hartford, Conn. and Catherine Tsai in Denver contributed to this report.