A gourmet is a person who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink.
There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of food poisoning.
With eggs and all other raw foods from animals, there is a small possibility of Salmonella food poisoning. The risk is greater for those who are pregnant, elderly or very young and those with medical problems which have impaired their immune systems. These individuals should avoid raw and undercooked animal foods.
Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell. Refrigerate broken-out eggs, prepared egg dishes and other foods if you won't be consuming them within an hour.
For summer outings, use ice or coolant in an insulated bag or cooler to keep cold foods cold (40 degrees F or lower) and thermal containers to keep hot foods hot (140 degrees F or higher). When toting raw eggs on outings, leave them in their shells. Immediately consume, refrigerate or freeze raw or lightly cooked egg dishes. Eggnog and homemade ice cream should be based on a cooked stirred custard to ensure safety.
The kitchen, too, can be a source of bacteria. Clean hands and equipment, sanitary food handling practices, proper cooking and adequate refrigeration are essential in safely preparing all foods.
Raw Egg Whites
Although it is possible for Salmonella to be in both the white and the yolk of the egg, the white does not readily support bacterial growth. Cold soufflés, mousses, and chiffons containing raw beaten whites require refrigeration to maintain their character, and added safety factor. Such dishes might be considered low risk for healthy individuals.
For further safety, combine the whites with the sugar in the recipe (using a minimum of 2 tablespoons of sugar per white) and beat over hot water or over low heat in a heavy saucepan until the whites stand in soft peaks. Without sugar, the whites will coagulate too rapidly and produce an unsatisfactory meringue.
This is the same procedure used in making 7-minute Frosting and can be used to make Royal Icing or other frostings ordinarily containing raw whites.
If using an unlined aluminum saucepan, do not add cream of tartar. It will react with the aluminum to produce and unattractive gray product.
Raw Egg Yolks
Raw egg yolks are a fine growth medium for bacteria. It is best to cook yolks for use in such dishes as cold soufflés, chiffons, mousses, mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce.
To cook yolks, the recipe must contain at least 2 tablespoons of liquid per yolk. Less liquid will produce scrambled eggs. Simply combine the yolks with the liquid in the recipe. Cook in a heavy saucepan over a very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a metal spoon, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160 degrees F. Cool quickly and proceed with the recipe.