This may be difficult to prove, but I’d be willing to bet that, of all the world’s food products, the egg has inspired the most literary output. The humble egg finds itself a central theme in everything from enraptured food scholarship, as in M.F.K. Fisher’s “The Art of Eating” (“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”) to children’s books, as in Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.” And that’s just printed text, nevermind all of the well-known metaphors, jokes, parables, puns, word merges, egg-cetera. You get the idea. Eggs. They’re kind of a thing.
And beyond that which is strictly lyrical, egg literature also has quite a catalogue in the form of cookbooks dedicated to their culinary egg-spression. (Apologies.) And why not? Eggs can stand alone as a meal of singular perfection. They can be separated so that the parts can work their magic independently in custards and soufflés. They can suspend all manner of other ingredients with their adhesive properties while still being delicious. Name me another food item that can work just as well as breakfast as dinner as dessert, plus everything in between. (If you just thought “wine” to yourself, DM me so we can be friends.)
Just in time for Easter, here’s a frittata’s worth of egg cookbooks to crack into if you seek similar inspiration, culinary or otherwise.
It is a cookbook, for sure, as it contains plenty of recipes, but it might also be a love letter. Ruhlman cleverly organizes chapters by a flowchart of separation and approach: including “Whole/Cooked in Shell,” “Separated/The White,” and “Separated but Used Together.” Ruhlman obviously opted not to call this “The Egg Bible,” but he very well could have for its expansive, meticulous nature.Buy Now
If your idea of heaven is a sunny neighborhood cafe serving brunch any day of the week, then this is the egg cookbook to help you get there. Recipes come straight from this quaint, NYC brunch spot with outposts in Nolita and Williamsburg—both neighborhoods appear when you google “hip.” Eggs feature in classic presentations like omelets, dance with luxury ingredients such as caviar, moonlight as construction materials in Fried Chicken and Waffles, and dazzle as meringue in Mile High Black Bottom Pie. Oh, and it includes some cocktail recipes, because how could heaven even be real without them? (Check out a couple recipes from the book on our site: Egg Shop Fried Chicken, and Pop’s Double-Stuffed, Double-Fluffed American Omelet recipe.)Buy Now
If your cookbooks are more likely to end up as pristine coffee table fodder than battle-weary, batter-stained kitchen soldiers, then kindly check out the gorgeous ombre of eggshells adorning the cover of this homage to the versatility of eggs. But then, how could you also resist digging into the well-organized, day-dreamy content, which offers lessons on basic cooking methods, as well as dozens of recipes each under Morning, Snacks, Afternoon, Night, and Sweets? I admire that egg-based soups get a fair shake here, and also that there is an entire sub-chapter devoted to various, flavorful Egg Salad Sandwiches, perhaps one of the most underrated meals of all time.Buy Now
The name says it all: Eggs. Full stop. No need for a lyrical subtitle; you know you’re working with the good stuff. The author’s name kinda says some things, too: A) He is French. B) His last name is also the name of a preparation for making creamy sauces that could go extremely well with eggs. C) This makes me want to take whatever he has to say here extremely seriously. A French chef with a global culinary education, Roux’s collection of recipes (with gorgeous photos provided by Martin Brigdale) span not only from the classic to the contemporary, but also the globe in their scope.Buy Now
As we move into the next set of cookbooks here, let us marvel in a singular fact: Not only are eggs themselves deserving of entire cookbooks, but even specific preparations of eggs are. As any accomplished chef or struggling culinary student can tell you, the deceptively simple omelet is the Holy Grail of cooking. The Mount Everest. The El Dorado. No, these aren’t clever Eggs Benedict variations, it’s just that cooking a perfect omelet is really freaking hard. The omelet is what separates truly intuitive cooks from those who can merely follow a recipe for adequate results. Either with filling, or unadorned, for my money, I’ll take omelet instruction from a Madame on this one any day.Buy Now
If you seek a single, skillet preparation to have in your back pocket to serve you for solo breakfasts, casual picnics, and entertaining-worthy dinners, let it be a frittata. Quiche’s breezier Italian cousin, the crust-free nature of the frittata ensures that your sanity stays intact, (unlike most pie crusts unlucky enough to cross my path,) while you are still able to nestle all manner of meats, vegetables, and cheeses within eggs’ warm embrace. Chef Chow outlines a simple ratio into which you can experiment with your favorite mix-ins, and also offers numerous variations of her own.Buy Now
I’m going to go ahead and call this author a kindred spirit. Someone who understands that deviled eggs aren’t just a one-trick-picnic-pony. Nay, they are a blank canvas upon which a true artist can create a masterpiece. Not only does this hardcover manual provide some 50 deviled egg recipes to ensure your Princess of the Picnic status, but lessons in perfect hard-boiling and garnish are also offered. (The devil’s in the details, amirite?) Guys, she even dyes some of the egg whites crimson with beet juice to stunning effect, like a true artist. Kathy—call me?
If you managed to get a grip on an omelet, you might be ready for soufflés, arguably the highest heights (literally) to which the supremely humble egg white can soar. The white of an egg holds fewer secrets than the golden yolk, but won’t be easily relegated to only a bland protein-source for dieters and muscle-builders alike. A soufflé shows how the egg white has muscle of its own, encouraged by air and butter to launch itself beyond the ramekin. Aided and abetted by sweet and savory components, whether single serving or centerpiece, molded or unmolded, this is the cookbook for those who identify more with the “show off” nature of eggs than the humble.Buy Now
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