The Shelf Life of Eggs by
(35 Stories)

Prompted By Comfort Food

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

No amount of hot, bubbling, and fattening comfort food can thaw the chill from my winter bones. I am dead to comfort until April, quite possibly May. I wish that my system, so tolerant of meat and potatoes (especially meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but open to steak frites, and corned beef hash, and meatballs swimming in marijuana (typo: marinara)) could better tolerate ice cold Stoli shots, enough to re-route my fixation on bulk and thickness to delirium tremens and sprawled outages on my den rug, to achieve mind and body control like a bear in hibernation.

...notwithstanding any other food fear, sentiment, fixation, longing, dream, taboo, burp, or memory I may have or ever had, there will always be the wondrous egg, scrambled, poached, boiled, easy-over, omeleted, cooked fancy or plain, my best breakfast friend.

In the alternative, if anyone out there was forced to eat calf’s liver as a dodge against winter anemia: that part of my childhood food nightmare tossed its cookies long ago. Gross!

But notwithstanding any other food fear, sentiment, fixation, longing, dream, taboo, burp, or memory I may have or ever had, there will always be the wondrous egg, scrambled, poached, boiled, easy-over, omeleted, cooked fancy or plain, my best breakfast friend. Except the new egg packaging telling heartwarming stories of happy and healthy hens and the farmer families who love and coddle them, gets me very confused and anxious as I attempt to select from the buzzy egg display on my supermarket’s shelves.

Profile photo of jonathancanter jonathancanter
Here is what I said about myself on the back page of my 2020 humor/drama/politico novel "The Debutante (and the Bomb Factory)" (edited here, for clarity):

"Jonathan Canter Is a retIred attorney; widower; devoted father and grandfather (sounds like my obit); lifelong resident of Greater Boston; graduate of Harvard College (where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon); fan of waves and wolves; sporadic writer of dry and sometimes dark humor (see "Lucky Leonardo" (Sourcebooks, 2004), funny to the edge of tears); gamesman (see "A Crapshooter’s Companion"(2019), existential thriller and life manual); and part-time student of various ephemeral things."

The Deb and Lucky are available on Amazon. The Crapshooter is available by request to the author in exchange for a dinner invitation.

Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Eggs are good indeed Jon!
    But go for FREE RANGE. rather than CAGE FREE. Apparently the latter means the hens are not technically caged, but nevertheless they’re kept indoors in close quarters, not free to scratch around the farmyard.

    And note my friends’ young daughter once embarrassed her folks when in a restaurant she innocently told the waiter she wanted spaghetti in marijuana sauce.

    • Yes, bravo for the eggs! And for the chickens which came first. Or not.
      I have spent many minutes shopping egg aisles, trying to get a handle on new selling points, organic, free range, beloved family pet, etc. This goes way beyond what I was taught as a young egg buyer, to open the container to check for broken shells, and to check the expiry date. Now I am expected to measure the sincerity of the egg farmers’ smile, and the wholesomeness of their family values, as shown on the packaging graphics. Sometimes befuddled, I’ll fall back on traditional consumerism and buy the most expensive on the assumption that it’s not the most expensive for nothing.

  2. Suzy says:

    The wondrous egg indeed! Love your featured image with the chicken and the egg cup. Guess the chicken came first after all.

    Sorry you are dead to comfort until April. You should leave that brutally cold climate and move to California. We have happy chickens here who lay the most delicious eggs!

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, and deliciously written. And great photos as well. I hadn’t thought about eggs as comfort food until reading it, but I now realize that they, in their near-infinite variety, are high on my list as well. Indeed, my wife made deviled eggs for lunch this weekend, and they were just perfect on a cold, snowy weekend. (Unlike you, I will happily take my comforts this early in the year.)

    So, yes, eggs are a sort of forgotten comofrt food. But don’t you think that sometimes they are coddled?

  4. Dave Ventre says:

    I have one of those little Kodak Moment childhood memories of my Dad scrambling eggs for us very early in the morning before we left the house for work (his business was commercial coffee machines). He made excellent scrambled eggs, light, fluffy, never runny but never burned or overdone. Eggy perfection!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Glad to learn I’m not the only one who obsesses over the vast assortment of egg choices at the market. When you mentioned liver as a healthy meal choice, it took me back to me childhood. My mother served it frequently, despite the fact that my youngest brother gagged just smelling it. Thankfully, when we got a dog, that helped as Checkers had no aversion to liver.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    A little egg goes a long way, and I can’t go too far with eggs before I reach a limit. But I get it. We are lucky enough to have a semi-rural town where we can get eggs from local producers and (I think) fairly reliably happy chickens. Not so easy in the supermarket with all the marketing hype. Oh, the ethical pitfalls of choosing food anymore. Local, including backyard garden, seems like a great option when possible.

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    When home alone, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and a slice of good cheese in my dinner of choice. So I agree, eggs (in all varieties) are always a good choice. Aside from chopped liver – NEVER liver!

Leave a Reply