The center of the egg, the yolk. One perfectly hard boiled and the other in its natural state. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient. It honestly did come to me in something like a flash, or a series of small idea explosions, one leading to another to another until the entire landscape went up in flames. The whole of the egg, a miracle of nutrition, economy, utility, and deliciousness, came to me as a single image. All one thing.

In this euphoria of eureka, I called out to Donna to help me capture it. Within the hour we had a complete flowchart of the egg on five feet of parchment paper, a document that served as the proposal for this book (and that its publisher, Little, Brown, has not only recreated and tucked into the back of the book, but made interactive in the astonishing electronic version). I will be on Morning Edition later this week, and on it the host, Steve Inskeep, asked me to read a paragraph from the Introduction. Having not read it in a year, I was struck by how concisely it summed up the new book, officially published today.

“In the kitchen, the egg is ultimately neither ingredient nor finished dish but rather a singularity with a thousand ends. Scrambled eggs and angel food cake and ice cream and aioli and popovers and gougères and macarons and a gin fizz aren’t separate entities, they’re all part of the egg continuum, they are all one thing. The egg is a lens through which to view the entire craft of cooking. By working our way through the egg, we become powerful cooks.”

We become powerful cooks when we know the egg. And that’s what this big-ass egg cookbook is all about. Each recipe is an example of a single end the egg brings us to, dozens and dozens of different ends.

Please help me welcome the publication of Egg! And of course I’m giving away a signed copy; just mention in the comments section your favorite way of using an egg (even if it’s throwing it at writers).

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© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.