Scrambling for breakfast?

Buying local eggs may help reduce the fear created by the recent salmonella scare

By Devra First
Globe Staff / September 1, 2010

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Devra First: It seems that suddenly everyone has come down with ovophobia. Have you changed your habits when it comes to buying, eating, or preparing eggs after the massive recall due to salmonella?

Nelly: A few years ago, I started purchasing brown eggs from local farms. The eggs are much fresher and tastier. When eating out, I ask the cook to break the yolk. Even asking for the yolk broken doesn’t always work. I have had runny eggs with over-hard and over-well.

Joniwilder: I buy eggs from the Country Hen and feel confident they’re fine.

Marisa: When at restaurants, I’m only ordering omelets or scrambled. I’m not ordering over-easy or poached. I’m concerned about salmonella. I also won’t introduce eggs to my 9-month-old until this scare goes away.

D.F.: It does seem that the eggs in Massachusetts are safe thus far. And there are small farms like Allandale Farm and Chip-in Farm one can buy from, as well.

Ora M: Is capitalism the root of our food problems in America? As long as profits go up, companies will sell you junk that is not healthy but looks good. Should our government change the rules of the game? Personally, I grow much of our own stuff at home, and we also have chickens, but I understand that everyone can’t do that. I just avoid anything that comes in cans or boxes.

D.F.: Capitalism, advertising, our own cheap natures . . . I think it’s possible to come up with any number of explanations. What do you all think?

Marisa: The food industry is all money-driven, as are most industries. It’s going to end up harming us because short cuts are taken. It’s just like the meat industry.

Robert: We can’t fault capitalism. It is giving us exactly what we want. People need to demand better, and they’ll get better. I’m not worried about eating the farm-fresh eggs I get from the farmers’ market or Formaggio Kitchen. The incentives are right there, and capitalism works. Have higher standards.

Ora M: There is a very good reason farmers’ markets are thriving lately, and they are also a good place to get your eggs, meats, etc.

Marc H: Perhaps I’ll stick to safer foods, like cheeseburgers. Oh, wait . . .

D.F.: Cheeseburgers topped with runny fried eggs.

Robert: Do you have any favorite cookbooks, or perhaps recent favorites? I’m looking more for inspiration, technique, or just a fun read than specific recipes.

D.F.: For far-ranging basics, I like the big yellow Gourmet cookbook and the Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks. I haven’t had a chance to use it a lot yet, but I’ve really enjoyed Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home.’’ Marcella Hazan for Italian food. Over the years I’ve made great use of Madhur Jaffrey’s books.

Joniwilder: I love that Thomas Keller says he believes that a person should cook the same recipe over and over to really get to know how to make a thing very well. Like a simple baked chicken.

Marc H: I’m a big fan of “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics,’’ mainly because nearly every dish in the book has white truffle butter in the ingredients.

D.F.: I find Ina Garten’s recipes incredibly consistent and well tested. Follow the instructions and they will come out great.

Joniwilder: These books aren’t cookbooks, but I have recently so loved and learned from Michael Ruhlman’s series, beginning with “The Making of a Chef,’’ then “The Soul of a Chef,’’ and most recently, which I’m only starting, “The Reach of a Chef.’’ You learn so much about cooking and come to appreciate it all so much more.

Ginger: “Moosewood Cookbook’’ (or one of its later offshoots) is my go-to cookbook when hosting book club.

D.F.: A book I didn’t really enjoy as a book has proved to be fantastic as a cookbook: Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking for Mr. Latte.’’ The recipes in it are really great, what can I say. I love to bake, and I am obsessed with Alice Medrich’s books.

Ora M: Good cookbooks are a treasure, but these days, there’s just so much cooking info available online, it becomes clutter.

D.F.: I consider my laptop and phone cookbooks at this point. Any sites you particularly like for recipes?

Ora M: I get daily e-mails from America’s Test Kitchen, and they are invariably informative.

Joniwilder: I like whatshisname . . . Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything’’ on my phone.

Ginger: for sure.

Excerpted from Devra First’s weekly chat. Go to today at 11 a.m. to chat live about your favorite dishes, recipes, and restaurants. First can be reached at