The egg-white omelet, America’s reigning symbol of bland dining and misguided nutritional advice, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. It was 42.The cause of death was unclear, though longtime fans of the egg-white omelet cited a recent study that found dietary cholesterol played a much smaller role in overall health than many had thought. In late February, medical experts admitted that there was no basis for the long-held assumption that such items as egg yolk, avocado and shrimp played a significant part in cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.Cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern,” an advisory panel of health experts told the federal government.On Friday, news of the demise of the ubiquitous egg-white omelet sent much of the nation into nutritional turmoil. One expert noted that the widespread cholesterol warning, like much dietary advice, was “never supported by science.”
“No one ever smiled after finishing an egg-white omelet,” one chef recalled last week.
Despite it all, the egg-white omelet still managed to change the food industry, part of a health-obsessed zeitgeist that led to such publications as Cooking Light and to ingredients no one ever considered eating before, like kale and skim-milk ricotta.
Over the years, the consumption of supposedly healthful but awful foods took its toll on Americans at every level. They became increasingly hostile and suspicious toward one another, and the ill will spilled into politics, business and everyday life.
The simmering frustration over egg-white omelets eventually made its way into new media and was credited for much of the growth of the Internet. The constant vitriol on Internet forums, many thought, was a direct result of the unsatisfying egg-white omelet.