An egg for a child

One of her first food words was “uova”, eggs, which also happen to be her favourite breakfast, usually soft boiled and eaten with a spoon (a bit messy as she insists on feeding herself) or fried, sunny side down. It’s one of the few foods I can easily get my little girl eat.

chickens poggio alloroholding an egg

Partly I think it’s the fascination with the egg itself – that hard shell outside, smooth and weighty in her little dimpled hands, then so fragile when cracked.

It’s so important for me that she learns early where her food comes from and how it all works, so we’ve been regularly visiting a friend’s lovely farm in San Gimignano as well as my sister in law’s countryside house to see their chicks and hens and other farm animals. It’s only helped to confirm the decision that we’ll soon be getting our own hens for the garden.

poggio alloro chickspoggio alloro little chick

I also let her get messy as there’s probably no better way to get to know food than to stick your hands in it and feel it or taste it.

I let her crack the eggs when I’m baking. She picks one up and holds it firmly in her hand, studying it at first before giving it a stroke as if she was patting a small animal and then a little cuddle. She has watched me carefully when I’ve been baking and cracking eggs, she’s always got her eye on those eggs. She looks at me as if for approval, then leans towards the table top with her egg and gives it a good, hard tap to crack it.

And this is how we become little cooks.

she cracks an eggfluffy egg artusi

This recipe is one that always makes me smile when I read it. It’s from my favourite old cookbook, Pellegrino Artusi‘s 1891 Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. An egg for a child, or un uovo per un bambino, Artusi calls it.

It’s nothing more than a fluffy, eggy cream, as simple as can be. Take a fresh egg, preferably one that you know was just laid. Separate the yolk, putting it in a tea cup with a couple teaspoons of sugar. Whisk the white to stiff peaks and fold it through the yolk. Serve it with soft bread to dip or on it’s own with a teaspoon. My mother in law used to make this for my husband when he was a little boy (and his grandmother made this for his father) but without the fluffy egg white, just the yolk and sugar, a sort of raw zabaione.

Fluffy egg for a child

Artusi’s egg for a child

If you’re worried about serving raw egg, which when you know it’s a good, fresh organic egg, you shouldn’t, you can cook this in a small bowl set over a bain marie (double broiler), a gently simmering pot of water, for a couple of minutes. Be sure not to let the bowl touch the water and do not cook too long or over too high heat or you’ll lose the wonderful light fluffiness and you’ll end up scrambling the egg.

  • 1 very fresh, organic, free range egg
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

Separate the egg, placing the yolk in a teacup and the whites in a small bowl. Add the sugar to the yolk and stir with a fork to combine. Whisk the whites to stiff peaks and fold through the yolk. Serve as is or with some soft bread for dipping into.

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Comments

20 Responses to “An egg for a child”
  1. Beautiful post Emiko, it gave me a little bit of goosebumbs. Maybe because I spend time with your beautiful little girl and have seen her fascination with food. But I’m sure it are your storytelling pictures and the dimples in her hands.
    She really is a gem x

  2. arianna says:

    my mum used to make that for me, but she would only use the yolk without the egg whites…i loved it as a child, it was a meal substitute or sometimes a dessert. it is a childhood memory for sure…:-)

  3. Valeria says:

    I remember when we were looking at the sticker book, she knew exactly which animal to connect the eggs with :) Her curiousity for food is precious, and you letting her taste and experiment and get messy sounds just like the wisest choice.

    That egg! In veneto we call the thing Marco was having ‘sbatudin’, just yolk and sugar and sometimes sweet wine. It was a breakfast given to young people for growing strong, or to sick people to regain energies. My roommate at uni was always making one for himself before an exam :)

    • Emiko says:

      And apparently Marco’s grandmother used to give his father this same thing (yolk, sugar and vin santo) before going to (high) school! Nice to know the Veneto name.

  4. Mary Frances says:

    Amazing, there’s nothing better than the simplicity of good, fresh ingredients. What a perfect, comforting little snack

  5. Linda says:

    Ahhhh, how lovely! Egg is a favourite toddler food around here and even more so when Anouk is the egg cracker. Ohhhhh, so much delight! I’ll definitely be trying this recipe out for the girls one morning tea time. Linda. :)

    • Emiko says:

      One of the things I think they love is to explore the textures – I knew this would be a hit because it’s so soft and fluffy in contrast to how it all starts out with a thick yolk!

  6. Wonderful post and pictures Emiko!
    One of the best things with having a child is to watch their fascination and interaction with the world around them. That they can spend what seems to us like hours scrutinating pebbles, twigs, flowers and yes eggs. I loved that she strokes and cuddles the eggs before breaking them, as if apologizing in advance for having to “destroy” something so fragile and unique. Oh the wonders of childhood…
    Such a lovely girl!

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks Karin! Yes, you’re right, pebbles and flowers and shells and all sorts of things are fascinating for her! Such a joy watching her be delighted by these things as we forget how we must have once been the same. :)

  7. Naz says:

    Hi Emiko,
    This just brought back a flood of memories of my childhood in Iran. My great-uncle would prepare something similar for us and for himself. He combined the yolk, cocoa, and a little sugar. For energy and health he would say. It was delicious. Wonderful post!

    • Emiko says:

      Wow, I love that this humble recipe – which so many Tuscans have said to me reminds them of their childhood – is shared in your memories of Iran too! Cocoa sounds like a nice touch!

  8. I love this– so simple and sweet. I look forward to making it for little my niece and nephew.

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks! I’m sure they’ll like it, what kid doesn’t love dipping their fingers into something creamy and fluffy (a bit cake-batter like!)?!

  9. Beautiful! Endearing photos, ah the wonder of childhood!

  10. PolaM says:

    My grandma used to make it for me: was delicious!

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