With your host, Matt Gross
Today’s potentially gross breakfast is congee, the rice porridge eaten daily, in various forms, all over Asia. Congee is not really stomach-churning at all. But today it gets a classic topping: preserved duck egg, a.k.a. 1,000-year-old egg, a.k.a. an egg that’s been buried in salt and alkaline clay for months until the yolk and white turn gelatinous and black. (Legend has it, they’re cured in horse urine as well. They aren’t. They just smell like it.)
Now, I’ve eaten preserved eggs before, but usually chopped up into congee and never while I was actually thinking about the long, weird process used to create these eggs. Who invented it? Who first tasted it? And did they ask themselves, as I’m about to, is it gross?