Eggs Benedict isn't your typical American breakfast. Found at your classic diner or upscale brunch restaurant, it’s the kind of breakfast food that has a way of making you feel classy and sophisticated when ordering (especially when pronouncing "Hollandaise sauce"), compared to the basic friends who consistently order the same silver dollar pancakes.

Although you may feel like royalty consuming this tasty yet pricy meal, recent studies have shown that the Hollandaise sauce that completes this lavish dish could actually be unsafe to eat.

Hollandaise sauce can be made several ways, depending on the chef. Typically, this simple sauce requires egg yolks, butter, salt and cream. Some chefs, such as my personal favorite, Alton Brown (host of Cutthroat Kitchen) tend to make theirs with a little more flare, adding ingredients such as kosher salt and cayenne pepper.

Frankly, many of us amateur cooks just don’t have time for that.

The issue that has recently been brought to light about this simple recipe is the potential risk of Salmonella and a bacterial infection due to eggs usually being prepared raw. In order for an egg to be deemed “safe,” an egg needs to be cooked until the whites and yokes are firm or have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, thus killing any bacteria.

Although many people do eat raw eggs as a form of protein (I can’t imagine why), Salmonella is a serious risk because it causes 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths a year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now I know these numbers are quite large, but the risk of an egg being contaminated with Salmonella bacteria is very low at about 1 in 20,000 eggs and is not typically common.

Yet the question still remains, are the eggs in Hollandaise sauce unsafe to eat? The answer lies in the great battle of health versus taste. There are many ways to prevent the infection of Salmonella when storing, preparing, and serving food but, if a step is skipped, the risk becomes greater to the consumer. Essentially, eat your Eggs Benedict at your own risk.

For those not willing to chance their health, there are other alternatives. If you can handle a more intense breakfast, a reduced red wine dressing can be used to spice up the morning.

Another solution to this egg epidemic is a cheese sauce. A lot less of a struggle to make, any simple cheese-like topping, such as a mornay, will satisfy any cheese-lover's dream. 

Although I would definitely consider trying these mouth watering substitutes — for now, I'm going to stick with the breakfast I know and love. Personally, I don’t believe I will be resigning my royal breakfast status anytime soon.