I thought I might blather on a bit about eggs this morning, a seemingly innocent topic really. Quite a number of frugal websites cite eggs as the ultimate source of frugal protein, and seem to think nothing of recommending six egg quiches or more than two eggs in a baked dish (one recipe I read called for, gasp, five eggs for a baked good!).
I am sure you can see where I am going with this. Unless a person kept quite a few hens, such rampant egg use would not have been possible pre-industrial agriculture. Eggs are only relatively cheap now because of factory laying, cheap grain, and antibiotics. I won’t get into the politics of all that, because other people already have, but I will point out that judicious use of eggs in cooking is something worth considering.
Under rationing during WWII, each person was limited to one fresh egg a week (or sometimes every two weeks), plus a monthly packet of dried eggs once Lend-Lease started. I don’t even pretend to try to keep to one egg per week per person, since we go through about a dozen eggs a week for a five-person household. I do, however, use my eggs carefully. Here are a few things that I have learned –
1. Two eggs will usually work as well as three eggs in baked goods (this does not hold for sponges though).
2. A tablespoon of soy flour will work in place of an egg in most recipes, as long as there is at least 1/4 c oil/fat in the recipe, and you are willing to add a bit more liquid to make up for the egg. I usually only do this to replace one egg in a recipe that calls for more than one though.
3. GF recipes, especially baked ones, can work without eggs, but the recipe has to be eggless to begin with.
4. You can actually make a six-person quiche with only four eggs.
As a side note, the cheapest protein is probably beans (legumes) or peanut butter, but that’s just being picky. Really though, learning to manage eggs means less trips to the store when you’ve run out. It means that you can put together a reasonable dessert, even a cake, without worrying about how many eggs you need. It means, actually, a bit more kitchen peace of mind.
P.S. I would love to have hens…