Our answer to the age old question: “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” is easy. It’s the egg. We first found fresh eggs at a small farm in the Northern Neck of Virginia. We opened the carton and there they were, in shades of blue and brown and almost, but not quite, white. Those perfectly shaped, softly colored eggs made our eyes go wide and, in unison, we heard ourselves utter the softest of “oooooh’s”. It was a little epiphany. At first, we wondered how we would know how many eggs to use if the recipe called for large eggs. Think about that for a moment. Consistency was so ingrained in us from years of shopping in supermarkets, even if we did buy organic eggs, that these lovely eggs in different colors and in different sizes stopped us in our tracks. Hmmmm, did no one bake until someone figured out how to make all chickens lay the same size and shaped eggs? And really, how on earth did that ever happen? We cracked some in a bowl and were amazed. The yolks-from the palest yellow of a winter sun, to the brightest, almost orange yellow of a summer sun-were just beautiful. We made a custard in a bain marie. We made a salad with mollet eggs and shaved romano cheese. We made a quiche. Even the humble scrambled egg looked and tasted like no scrambled egg before it. We were goners. It was a two hour drive. We both had, at different times, happily driven 90 miles one way after work to take a daughter or son to dinner who was homesick or just hungry and thought nothing of it. So two hours for eggs when you have a whole day is just another happy journey. We have found other farms. Some sell fresh chicken as well. The first farm has the prettiest eggs but all the eggs are remarkable. Eggs the way eggs are meant to be. There’s no going back now even if our friends, family and the farmers utter the same words: “You drove how far to buy eggs?” But, happily, the kids seem to understand why we do it and they’re excited for us. Maybe the moms they knew always had this in them and they just knew it before we did.
Of course the eggs made us of think about having our own chickens. There was an article in our paper that said the city was giving permits for raising backyard chickens. We had little shed we could turn in to a hen house. We began researching types of chickens and places we could go not only to buy chickens but to learn to care for them. Chickens have dispositions just like people do so we narrowed our list to calm and gentle chickens that were quiet and not easily spooked. Blue eggs, eggs in shades of brown and speckled eggs were on our list. We were ready to learn how to raise them and how to turn that little wooden shed in to a home fit for queens. But then the retraction. You could apply for a permit but none had been granted yet. The article was wrong. We were devastated-the level of that devastation made us laugh. Evidently, we were counting on this more than we realized. But we continue to hope that within the next year, we will be remodeling that shed, taking a class on the care of chickens and waiting for the day when we hold in our hands our first perfect egg from our perfect chickens-five of them, named after the kids. Until then, we always make sure as we run low on eggs, we have a full tank of gas.
MENU: Fried Eggs, Fruit Salad, Bacon Rolls
Melt tablespoon butter in cast iron pan over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan and cook until done.
Seasonal fruits cut up in a bowl.
We are not going to give you the recipe for the rolls. You need to buy the book. My Bread by Jim Lahey. You do not even have to invest in the cast iron dutch oven to make these.