The Egg Cookery by Lily Haxworth Wallace

The Elegant Economical Egg Cookbook by Lou Seibert Pappas

The Delectable Egg by M.E Marshall

With Easter just around the corner, I wanted to do a special feature on the blog, different from my usual fare. After some research, I noticed a trend in the world of vintage cookbooks, as many of them focus on a single ingredient. This tendency inspired me to find cookbooks based around eggs, the ultimate symbol of Easter, with its connotations of spring and rebirth (not to mention all the Easter egg hunts). All of the featured recipes come from three cookbooks in particular: Egg Cookery by Lily Haxworth Wallace, The Elegant Economical Egg Cookbook by Lou Seibert Pappas and The Delectable Egg by M. E. Marshall. 

Reading through these books, I began to realized that the specificity of ingredient did not obstruct the imagination of these authors; instead, the level of detail allowed them to explore all the possibilities that eggs entail. Because Wallace, Pappas and Marshall chose to feature the egg, they experimented with innovative preparations of the ingredient and produced books that were extremely detailed. 

Although they all focused on a single ingredient, the versatility of the egg is conducive to a range of recipes, methods and techniques that vary from country to country— an element that Pappas investigates in The Elegant Economical Egg Cookbook. Likewise, the egg’s adaptability inspired Marshall; however, this influence materializes differently. Rather than examining the discrepancies of culture, Marshall conveys the subtle ways in which eggs shape dishes, whether or not we realize that they have been included in the recipe. Finally, in an altogether different perspective, Wallace’s book reminds us that ‘the basics’ of egg cookery— omelet, scramble or meringue— are not at all simple to master. As a result, she offers her audience a how-to guide, because, once we are able to proficiently learn to prepare eggs, it will improve a wide span of dishes. 

The egg is an ingredient that appears in almost every type of cuisine, and, though I felt it was appropriate given the time of year, I found that these books highlight how widely-used and enjoyed this ingredient truly is. 

Virginia-style poached egg