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Motel / Buffet Scrambled eggs

Anyone have any information as to the ingredients in the egg products being used for the typical free motel breakfast scrambled eggs? Powered eggs are reportedly real eggs, but the only resemblance I find between real and motel breakfast eggs is the color. They are truly nasty.

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  1. I had some the other day that were positively weird--almost like jello in consistency.

    I usually like steam table eggs, but these were something else.

    1. USDA has an interesting page on dried and liquid egg products. See http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/f...

      1 Reply
      1. re: drongo

        I'm now wondering if these motels are using dried egg mix products (eggs, nonfat dry milk & soybean oil and who knows what else). Considering their odd taste & texture, I can't see where they are just made from eggs.

      2. These days they're scrambling up a big 'ol batch of egg beaters for ya; or the institutional equivalent. Dunno what's in 'em, but....I hate them as much as I hate the perfectly round weird eggs they sell as "poached" at those weird buffets. Usually next to a vat of "made-here peppered sausage gravy" and their unnatural looking biscuits. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamachef

          Don't forget the Instant, school glue, wall paper paste grits!

        2. Any establishment that advertises eggs but serves only scrambles or omelets almost certainly gets their eggs from a carton. This is not necessarily bad IF they're using pasteurized whole egg, and I used to buy that for myself when I lived in Nashville, but having scouted the open-to-the-public restaurant-supply stores in the L.A. area I haven't found anything but egg-white product.

          I have gotten used to some of those – the Reddi-Egg from Trader Joe's isn't awful, just a bit lacking – but when a favorite seaside motel added scrambled eggs to their free breakfast buffet I knew what to expect. Well, a couple of sausages on the side and enough Tapatio …

          1. Having worked professionally at camps for over 10 years, I would guess that motel eggs are probably done the same way that every camp that I have been to. None of the camps used powdered eggs (except for limited applications in backpacking trips, where food needs to be very light). Every place I worked used boil in a bag eggs that came in already liquid, and usually frozen in a large bag. Thawed overnight, then tossed in a big pot of boiling water for however long it takes to cook. Open up the bag and pour out the 'scrambled' eggs.

            8 Replies
            1. re: jw615

              The boil-in-a-bag approach sounds about right - easy to prepare. It would also explain the vast differences in texture I've seen from well broken to solid mass chunks, probably dependent on the cooking time and perhaps if the attendant may break up the egg after cooking.

              1. re: Clams047

                Yeah, how good they are really depends on the preparer. The best cooks at camp would do them just a little underdone, pour out of the bag immediately into large pans, sprinkle a little cheese on top and break them up with a large potato masher. They'd finish cooking up from the residual heat.

                1. re: jw615

                  It also depends on how often they swap them out. There are a couple of hotels at which we stay in Staunton, VA, that are VERY proactive at getting rid of the most slightly aged eggs.

                  I always think of Julia Child's line in a sidebar about egg safety: "Scrambled eggs on a buffet -- I'm wary of these."

                1. re: jw615

                  And here's 'boiled in the bag' and there's 'boiled in the bag'. Lots of manufactures. Lots of price points.
                  Some motels/chain motels spend more $ on the 'boil in the bag' products. (There's lots to choose from). Also lots of breakfast cooks have 'secret ingredients' they fold into the finished eggs. Once I actually heard of a breakfast cook who would fold in a few T's of real butter and a pinch of tarragon!

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    Now that I'm understanding the frozen egg-in-a-bag approach, I searched and found a whole variety of available egg products.

                    One in particular -

                    Whole Eggs, Egg Whites, Whey, Skim Milk, Modified Food Starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Annatto (color), Artificial Butter Flavor (partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil,
                    medium chain triglycerides and flavor).

                    Yummy. No wonder they taste so funky.

                    1. re: Clams047

                      Revolting, yet people gobble them up because they are "free" probably a similar ingredient list to the danishes and other "baked" good too.

                  2. I don't remember getting scrambled eggs on the 'free' motel breakfast but I remember some nasty omelets that were there to be reheated in the microwave. I prefer (when I allow myself the carbs) the malted waffles.

                    I am still of the mind that if the current owners of the motels that offer these kinds of 'free' breakfasts could go back in time and murder the first motel owner that decided giving away these 'free' breakfasts was a good idea, they would do it without hesitation.

                    Frankly, I wish the offerings would be more like that which is offered in German hotels.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: John E.

                      The beachfront motel where we usually stay in Cambria, CA has been offering eggs, potatoes and sausages (all I assume heat-and-serve) since several years ago, as well as make-your-own waffles. On our latest visit, though, we were with a car club that had booked rooms at a much less expensive one (about half the rate) down the road, and the only hot offering there aside from coffee was toast.

                    2. I won't touch any cooked food from any place that doesn't have an onsite kitchen, which means any of these hotels that doesn't actually have a restaurant onsite. From those I will only take yogurt, or dried cereal, if anything.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SaraAshley

                        We were in Europe recently. Both hotels (in Prague and Budapest) and the ship (Danube River) had buffet breakfast and full kitchens. The hotel in Prague's steamtable eggs were perfect. The ship was wretched. The eggs were overcooked and cold, while the bacon was undercooked and cold. The hotel in Budapest also had overcooked but not stone cold eggs. VERY glad to come home and cook our own breakfast.

                      2. I've assumed the come out of a carton. Best bets for actual fresh eggs cooked to order are fried or poached only.

                        1. The motel breakfasts I've been to used premade omelet style eggs. I don't think most of these motels have the facilities to reallly cook. They microwave or use a water bath.

                          Also, I believe powdered eggs are actually more expensive than premade eggs or carton eggs.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dave_c

                            Powdered egg can be more expensive than 'real whole' eggs. The difference is the labor cost to serve the 'real' eggs compared to a high school girl who works the front counter weekend mornings at the hotel and doubles as the 'cook' in the room at the back where she makes up the tray of scrambled eggs using the microwave.

                            1. re: dave_c

                              Yup - when I did camp, the powdered eggs were significantly pricier than the frozen boil in a bag type that we used for general breakfasts. Powdered were only for backpacking trips where weight and non-perishability really mattered.

                            2. I don't expect any institutional scrambled eggs to compare to those I prepare at home. But within that category, I like the buffet breakfast at Marriot Courtyard, including the scrambled eggs.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: GH1618

                                I travel a lot on business to Harrisonburg and stay at the Marriott Courtyard there. They used to have a really horrendous buffet. But a few years ago they eliminated the buffet and now have a short menu of items for breakfast that are prepared to order. Probably still made from "liquid egg product" but much better than the buffet.

                                1. re: drongo

                                  I've eaten some bad 'omelets' at these motel breakfasts. Depending on my carb intake at any given time, I do like the malted, make-your-own waffles.

                              2. When traveling by car with the 'hounds, we usually stay at dog-friendly La Quintas. Their eggs are hard boiled which I think is the most sensible.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  The cheap(ish) motel last weekend had HB eggs too. Went well with the orange juice …

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    c.oliver - I am embarrassed to admit this but ... using those same HB eggs + some mayo, mustard & pickle relish (usually purloined from another buffet)and a ziploc baggie makes a great (free) lunch sandwich (especially if you use the breakfast bread). Squashing the eggs et al was my sons' favorite car activity and the resulting 'egg salad' was more than passable for a roadside picnic.

                                    1. re: Sherri

                                      Brilliant! I'm stealing that idea, S. When we're on the road, with or without the 'hounds, we just want to get from A to B as quickly as possible without stopping for a 'real' meal. Sounds perfect.

                                  2. I usually pass anything other than oatmeal, toast, fruit, etc. at any "free breakfast"; don't forget you are EATING IT!!! I will wait until I can get eggs that I know are pastured/organic, (usually at home).......

                                    1. Since I prefer my eggs on the undercooked side, I usually stick to the yogurt/banana/ toast offerings at motels.

                                      1. Some people prefer the hard boiled eggs thinking they are fresher.
                                        They are also NOT prepared on site - the motel receives them from a supplier in a plastic bag. All they do is defrost and dump them in a bowl.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Grammyx3

                                          We picked up a box of peeled, hard boiled eggs from GFS. They were properly cooked (no rubbery white or green outer yolk) and a true convenience item if you're making a large volume of egg salad. I doubt anyone could tell the difference from an egg boiled at home.

                                        2. Hard boiled eggs come in refrigerated (most often in a tub) never frozen that I've seen.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: coll

                                            Hampton Inns use frozen hard boiled eggs. If I eat their breakfast on the early side when breakfast service begins at 6 am, there are usually some partially frozen hard boiled eggs in the container.

                                            1. re: mels

                                              That explains it. We stayed at a Hampton Inn last winter and the hardboiled egg I bit into had the oddest rubbery texture. It was hard to bite into because it was so rubbery. I couldn't eat it. Yuck.

                                              1. re: Kat

                                                We like Hampton Inn's breakfast offerings. My brother is obsessed with Holiday Inn Express' cinnamon buns.

                                                My husband and I had a fantastic breakfast buffet at The Kendall Hotel in Cambridge last month. I don't know if the scrambled eggs are powdered, liquid or real but they tasted great.

                                              2. re: mels

                                                Yuck to that! I don't mind the refrigerated ones at all myself, saves so much trouble. I wonder if the hotel puts them in the freezer after delivery to extend the life and/or cover their butt?

                                              3. re: coll

                                                The GFS eggs come in a refrigerated (not frozen) box of 4 x 2.5lb clear bags.

                                                Oh, and to return (sort of) to the OP's topic, at the other end of the spectrum I was once charged nearly $50 for two plates of scrambled eggs with hash browns from room service in a Manhattan hotel. Well-cooked, but not $50 special.

                                                1. re: ferret

                                                  I've seen the clear bags in grocery stores, so I know what you mean. Either way, a great convenience item.

                                                  And for the record, I find the bagged scrambled eggs to be as good as made from scratch, their biggest benefit being they hold up for hours without changing color and drying out.

                                              4. I agree that hotel buffet scrambled eggs are awful but recently I stayed at a hotel that, next to the eggs, had a big bowl of fresh salsa, some shredded cheddar cheese, sliced red onions, and jalapeno peppers and all of this made the eggs actually possible to eat. I doubt that the eggs are powdered---my guess is that they come liquidy in cartons. Just guessing.

                                                1. If a business is giving away any product or service; what is the incentive to make that product/service the best it can be?.. Not much, what does one expect from a budget hotel "free breakfast", offering. When I stay at one of these hotels, I usually opt for just coffee, a banana, and oatmeal if offered; I stay away from any processed, frozen, portion controlled, factory made, crap.

                                                  1. One the Mariott brands allowed me to scan the barcode into Myfitnesspal. Here are the nutrition facts. These are what are typically called powdered egss, but they come in a carton.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: qajohn

                                                      I am familiar with this product, it is a fresh, refrigerated, seperated eggs, (scrambled)item, that has a fairly long shelf life, but it is achieved by the addition of Citric Acid a natural preservative/conservative. For my tastes I do not like the slight Lemony taste that sometimes is detectable in this product.

                                                      1. re: qajohn

                                                        Not powdered eggs by any means, they are "liquid eggs". Big difference. The lemon is purposely added to keep the eggs from changing color on the buffet line.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          Care to humor me by telling me what exact color they would turn sans the lemon juice?

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            I expect the acid also inhibits the growth of bacteria.

                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              No need, they're pasteurized.

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                Pasteurization is not sterilization, a common misunderstanding.

                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                  I'm no scientist, sorry about that.

                                                              2. re: GH1618

                                                                In any case, "liquid eggs" from the big food manufacturers, are a far cry from local, fresh, organic, pastured eggs.

                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                  No doubt. But there are 100 billion eggs produced annually in the United States alone. It would not be possible to produce a significant fraction of these in pastures on local, organic farms. Without big poultry and egg producers, most people would do without poultry products. Without big agriculture generally, we would have widespread malnourishment and even starvation.

                                                                  Fresh, organic, pastured eggs are elitist. I like good eggs. Mine are fresh from humanely raised cage-free chickens (not organic or pastured), but when I am at a hotel buffet or other institutional food service I will take the institutional scrambled eggs and be happy that I can get eggs for breakfast any time and place that I want them.