My fraternity’s chef is Jamaican, and always tells us to “eat your eggs before your toast, and you will be strong.”
Before taking this class, I didn’t think much of him saying this. Since last August when we first hired him as our chef, he has repeated this phrase without fail every time he has served us eggs and toast. After the first few weeks of taking this class, I realized that what he was saying might in fact be a Jamaican proverb. I asked him one morning, and sure enough, he had learned it from his mother while growing up in Jamaica. According to our chef, she would always serve him eggs and toast at the same time, but instructed him never to eat the toast before the eggs.
When contemplating the reason for this tradition, two possible explanations come to mind. First, our chef claims that his mother believes bad luck follows those who eat toast before eggs. This is not a scientific statement, but nevertheless carries weight in Jamaican culture.
The second possible explanation is biological. Before the benefits of modern medicine, trial and error was usually the best method of medical testing. Perhaps after hundreds of years of eating certain combinations of foods, Jamaicans began to notice that when they ate eggs before their bread, they became physically stronger. There is a biological explanation for this phenomenon. Eggs are one of the most protein-rich foods available on Jamaica. Protein takes a longer time to digest than bread, which is primarily comprised of carbohydrates. Protein is much more closely tied to strength than carbohydrates. If the body is given more “alone-time” with the substance that is harder to break down, is it not possible that physical performance would increase as a result- especially if this substance is closely tied to muscle recovery?
It is interesting to contemplate the reasons for this proverb’s origin. The reality is that it most likely originated from a combination of both the aforementioned factors, in addition to other societal and cultural influences.