Of Eggs and Brains
Egg whites burst with protein, and yolks carry fats and cholesterol. All my life, I’ve loved eating eggs, but recently I’ve taken to tossing the yolks, reluctantly, on the advice of my doctor. I started to think about all the foods that use eggs in their preparation, and how certain dishes wouldn’t even exist without eggs- soufflés and quiches, for example. Baked goods use eggs, meatballs need eggs to bind them together, and children adore soft boiled eggs, with their bright and creamy yolk against the firm whites.
While preparing an egg-white omelette for myself, a memory popped up, a memory of eggs and a certain taxi driver in Saudi Arabia.
We single women living in compounds loved to go out for dinner. It was a popular way to get out of the compound. Riyadh was known for its five-star hotels with elegant restaurants catering to the expatriate population. Nearly every weekend, I’d be out with a group of women, at one of these hotels, eating scrumptious food from all parts of the world, exchanging stories of our encounters with Saudi culture.
That night, after one of these dinners, my friend Lois and I took a taxi- yes, from the street! – back to our compound. The driver was particularly chatty, wanting to practice his English and ask questions about our experience as Westerners in Riyadh. The conversation naturally focused on food, and he asked whether we’d ever tried “kgidjlewrisldhfklsd;fskjdfk;sljdf.”
What? We didn’t even know what language he was speaking, much less what he was talking about. No, we’d never tried it. Oh, it is sooooo delicious!
“You eat some now?” he asked, and we laughed. “No! We’re so full.”
“Please, eat now, we are near the restaurant.”
Lois and I looked at each other, full of high spirits and mischief from a lively gathering. ”OK!” we said, and the car made a turn we weren’t expecting.
The taxi stopped in front of one of those small, busy restaurants that serve men only, and he went in. I’d always wanted to know what kind of food they cooked in there, so now I’d find out.
“We can always scream and run, if we have to,” I said, after our driver had walked into the restaurant.
Soon he came out carrying a paper plate covered with foil. He handed the plate to Lois through the back window, and she lifted the foil.
Steam from scrambled eggs filled our noses, eggs ready to eat with two pieces of flat bread! Relieved, and not wanting to offend our generous driver, we forced ourselves to taste the egg dish. Yes, he was right, it was delicious. Eggs had been scrambled and seasoned with some other ingredient, and only after we ate most of the serving did we ask, “What is mixed in with the eggs?”
“BRAINS!” said our driver, with a big, white smile.