The symbolism, uses, and cultural significance of eggs

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The construction of eggs goes beyond the yolk, white and shell, including the germinal disc that is visible to the naked eye. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Eggs are found on every continent. For Lizzie Stark, they are also the cornerstone of her relationship with her father. Saturday mornings were their bonding time. Stark recalls coming home from a swim lesson to find eggs on the counter so she and her dad could experiment with boiling times. Stark says writing "Egg: A Dozen Ovatures" was a "lovely excuse" to hang out with her father.

Even more personally, Stark shares that she inherited the BRCA1 gene, which made her prone to reproductive cancers so she decided to have her ovaries removed while she was working on this book.

"The egg is a powerful symbol," says Stark, "they're found in every continent and a universally edible food." She said that eggs were once a more seasonal food since the reproductive cycle of birds was sensitive to light. In her research, Stark discovered that ancient peoples used ostrich eggs as canteens as they moved across the desert while Roman priests kept chickens to make predictions. Eggs were also used in folk medicine to draw out bad spirits. 

Stark says writing her book was a "lovely excuse" to hang out with her dad. Photo by JR Blackwell.

"Egg: A Dozen Ovatures" explores symbolism, uses, and the cultural significance of what is considered a basic ingredient. Photo courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company.