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Eggs: Are They the Ickiest Common Food Around?

My counterpart at the Houston Press recently tweeted about how pleased she was when an entrée arrived topped with an egg. Eggs, most culinerati agree, make everything better.

Chefs have lately been cracking eggs with abandon. It's not just burgers and salads getting the cooked egg treatment: There are eggs on barbecue, eggs on pasta, eggs in soups and eggs on pizza.

I recently encountered that last preparation at La Carreta Argentina, the fairly new empanadas-and-grilled meat eatery in Oak Cliff. A cheese pizza with egg is really just a breakfast sandwich whipped around, but my dining companions were visibly uncomfortable with the dish. Eggs, it seems, figure into a remarkable number of eating hang-ups -- a status cemented, no doubt, by that helpful menu warning that undercooked eggs can kill you. The complex flavors and strange, malleable textures that chefs and mixologists find so lovable are sort of scary for eaters who cherish predictability. When people talk to me about foods that make them squeamish, they almost invariably use words like "yolk," "white" and "runny."

Obviously, egg consumption isn't exactly endangered: According to the USDA, Americans annually eat more than 250 eggs per capita, which means most of us don't go two days without indulging. But I'm not sure I can think of another common food that so many eaters consider icky. Can you?

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