You may have read in a previous posting about what a bad cook I am. There are exceptions–well, one exception. I can cook eggs for breakfast. Back when I was single, I also cooked eggs for lunch and dinner. My roommate Rebecca was astounded at how I could eat so many eggs and not tire of them. On the contrary, I did a little dance every time I bought a new carton.
Imagine the thrill when, shortly after I moved to the country, I learned I wasn’t even eating good eggs. Farm-fresh eggs are so much better, I read in books and farming magazines. They have good cholesterol instead of bad cholesterol, more protein and less fat. They look better.
Look better? How, I wondered. Because they are brown? I was planning to get chicks but it would still be five months before I’d have any eggs. At the feed store, I found my answer. They had eggs for sale by the dozen, grown by local farmers. I fried one up as soon as I got home.
Whoa, Nellie. As soon as I cracked the shell I could see the difference. You know that saying, “You are what you eat?” Well. A farm chicken eats (often organic) feed, fresh cracked corn, and whatever bugs and seeds it cares to forage from ranging freely through the grass. A commercial layer eats whatever crap the factory owners care to throw her way, sometimes allegedly even ground-up former chickens. They are in cages and never get to spread their wings or see the sun.
Can you tell which is which?
Caveat: The upper egg is an “organic” store-bought egg, so it’s less gross than a true factory egg, which I cannot bring myself to buy even for demonstration purposes
And chickens are not the limit to eggs on a farm! There are duck eggs, slightly larger and with a consistency that makes them a favorite with bakers. And quail eggs, which are more of a novelty than anything else.
How cute are those?
When young hens (called pullets) start laying eggs, they are sort of practice eggs. They’re a bit smaller than regulation eggs but every bit as yummy. When our chickens laid their first eggs, I was so proud of them I took a picture and sent it to Mike, who was out of town.
Pullet egg on left
Once I had laying chickens, I was about as happy as could be. All I had to do was walk out to the barn, scoop up a couple eggs and go cook them. Often they were still warm, a particular pleasure on a cold morning. Thank you, chickens!
Even after the chickens got into their groove, mishaps could occur. Sometimes an egg had two yokes. Sometimes it had an extra-tough shell. One didn’t have a shell at all. And once, I discovered this monstrosity:
Holy giant egg!
It was basically two eggs in one shell. That must have stung a little on the way out.
My former roommate came to visit, and the first thing I did was cook her some eggs! We even re-created the Egg Dance in the driveway.
Lyndale Ave. Egg Dance Redux