By Harold McGee
An egg contains everything you need to make a chick, all the ingredients and chemical machinery and fuel. That fact is its strength as a food. Cooked—to neutralize the protective antinutritional proteins—the egg is one of the most nutritious foods we have. (Raw, it causes laboratory animals to lose weight.) It’s unmatched as a balanced source of the amino acids necessary for animal life; it includes a plentiful supply of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that’s essential in the human diet, as well as of several minerals, most vitamins, and two plant pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are especially valuable antioxidants. The egg is a rich package.