Egg shells w-credit pale
 In The Elements of Cooking, I wrote an essay about the extraordinary, even miraculous, versatility of the egg in all its forms, raw, soft cooked, hard cooked, as main ingredient, as garnish, as cooking tool, yolk only, white only.  I neglected to mention the sheer beauty of the shell itself. When I was doing cake ratios last summer and the kitchen was littered with egg shells, Donna took some away to adore. What a package the egg is.

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41 Wonderful responses to “Eggshells”

  • Wm

    M. F. K. Fisher, from “How to Cook a Wolf”:

    “Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken”

  • ruhlman

    Thanks vivian and carri. What I think is so interesting about this photo of white on white is that the shadow carries the same weight, if not more, than the subject itself.

    A good lesson in fiction writing, actually.

  • Elizabeth

    I concur that it is a beautiful picture. As to the versatility – even that eggshell can be put to use. Crumpled into the soil when you plant your heirloom tomato plants or pepper seedlings, eggshells are a great, natural source of vital calcium for your garden.

  • Melissa

    I love eggshells, too. I always buy brown eggs just because I think they’re pretty. And I love the sound eggshells make when you nestle them inside each other – truly one of my favourite sounds ever.

  • Sean Kelly

    Michael, are there any culinary uses for eggshells?

    I have heard of people who eat the shells for calcium.

  • Tags


    Faberge is in Heaven right now, kicking himself for not creating an egg as elegant as the one in Donna’s picture.

  • Pavlov

    wonderful picture!… I almost wanted another shell in the lower right corner but the contrast is stunning… kudo’s to the Missus Michael!

  • ruhlman

    donna has read your comments and is grateful and even a little surprised by their generosity. i’m not, many thanks.

    the only culinary use i know of for egg shells is to help clarify a consomme. bob del g, the hunger artist will argue that a stock that’s too acidic won’t clarify easily; egg shells raise the pH.

  • Hollywood Robin

    Lovely! I’ve come to look forward to Donna’s photos as much as I do your writing. I’m an amateur photographer, and am continually impressed by her (considerable) talent. Thanks for sharing Donna’s work with all of us.

  • Kate in the NW

    No one else took it, so I will:
    EGGcellent photo,
    EGGcellent post.

    (sorry…)

  • Sam

    I love all of the different egg shell colors when I get a dozen from my CSA farm. My favorite is a speckled brown egg. Apparently all of the speckles wipe off if you touch the egg too soon after it was laid. The green ones are nice too.

  • 123

    Harold McGee writes about pickled eggs in his chapter on eggs in On Food and Cooking – pointing out that they can be eaten shell and all. Haven’t tried it, but…

  • amnesiak

    One of my dogs (he was raised as a puppy on raw foods) will eat the eggshells. Thais tell me they eat the shrimp tails for calcium. I never saw any of my friends eat eggshells though.

  • Christopher Flett

    Hi Michael,

    Many people don’t know this, but if you have a cut (normally from working in the kitchen, you can take the membrane from inside the egg shell and put it on the cut. As it dries it tightens. A chef I worked for swore by this.

    Long live the egg!

  • brilynn

    I started reading my way through Elements of Cooking while on the plane to The French Laundry. I couldn’t have asked for better reading material.

  • keena

    great photo.
    the true beauty of eggs is not breakfast or easter. but when i get home late from work, i can quickly whip up a farfalle pasta (ala Jacques Pepin) with some butter and herbs. But when I add the over-easy eggs on top…even the kids cheer. it’s really dinner.
    that’s the true beauty of eggs.

  • carri

    It’s not just the shadow, but the way the the surface they rest upon has the eggshell texture, yet the eggshell themselves are smooth…so cool!

  • kevin

    Michael,
    Tell Dona that’s gorgeous. In fact she’s inspired me to break a few eggs for photography’s sake.

  • Maura

    I can’t add anything new, but I still have to say that’s a stunning photo.

    Carbonara for dinner tonight.

  • dawn w

    the ingenious design of egg packaging is so beautiful. i actually took a very light green eggshell that i had gotten from a local farmer and took it to have the color matched for paint. i got a very strange look-walking around with half an empty eggshell. it worked! tasty & lovely.

  • Charlotte

    I buy eggs from a local rancher — I don’t know what she feeds those chickens but they’re the best eggs I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve been hoarding eggshells all winter for my tomato beds — the calcium helps guard against blossom end rot. I’ve got a couple of nice bags under the sink that will get dug in when (if) things ever thaw enough to turn the beds.

  • Frances

    Lovely photograph. Subject, composition, lighting, execution. Just beautiful.

  • Karin (Grew up in Cleveland and miss it in VA)

    Beautiful.

    Reminds me of those wonderful photos of fruits and veggies they had hanging at the old Stouffer’s restaurant on E. 9th Street in the National City Bank Building. Many moons and another life ago!

    Offers a segue to your “appearance” on “The Splendid Table” this past weekend. (1/31). Great discussion of the Elements of making stock.

  • Patricia

    Eggshells make a good addition to bird feeders as birds prepare to lay their eggs. Share the calcium!

  • momsith

    My father used to put eggshells in the percolator when he made coffee. he said it made it mellow…….

  • Michael Franco

    Beautiful work!

    I have long admired Michael’s written words and Donna’s photographic images. I respect them as individuals and as a team.

  • Betty Marshall

    I just wanted to comment how much I have enjoyed all the comments.

    I was attempting to find out where the expression “walking on egg shells” came from.

    What I found was a walk on beautiful photography and thoughtful people.

  • Gale Reeves

    The black and white photos are beautiful! I’m enjoying “Ratio.” I’m an accountant and weekend baker. I love the book!!!!

  • club penguin

    What I think is so interesting about this photo of white on white is that the shadow carries the same weight, if not more, than the subject itself.