<I wonder what jingles will get stuck in my children’s heads their entire lives. They won’t be the same as mine, both because of the generational differences and the fact that Netflix allows me to bypass commercial television almost completely. Anyway….>
Free range chickens (and happy pigs) at The Farmer’s Wife.
Although my parents had friends who raised chickens on a farm – and whose chicken coop was an old school bus, which was the highlight of every visit – I don’t remember noticing a difference between ‘regular’ storebought eggs and farm fresh ones until I was an adult. If you’re used to eggs from the grocery store, which until the last few years were always thin-shelled white ones with pale yellow centers, cracking a farm egg can be quite a shock. Those blasted shells are *tough* to crack. The yolk is screamingly bright. And the consistency of both the yolk and the white are decidedly different than what you’re used to. While making french toast with my first batch of eggs from happy chickens, it was pretty disconcerting to see the bread go neon orange.
But, oh, deliciousness, you are an egg from a happy chicken. Everything I make, from simple scrambled eggs to complicated frittatas, tastes a million times better. And since I have the ability to visit the chickens that lay my eggs, I know they are living a life that chickens like to live. Eating things that I’d rather not think about (like bugs and grubs), but, hey, they do it so I don’t have to. They also have room to stretch their wings, strut their stuff, and eat without a clipped beak. All things I’d like to be able to do if I was a chicken.
But what about the people who don’t have access to guaranteed farm-fresh eggs? I’ve seen the egg section at the grocery store – as consumers demand better quality eggs, there’s a huge range of labels, words, and pretty pictures to pick from. I certainly don’t know what it all means. Thankfully, Chef Elizabeth at Slow Cooked Pittsburgh has deconstructed the mystery of egg labels. Her post is comprehensive for sure, and gives the consumer a lot to think about.
The takeaway? Know where your food comes from. Get as close to the source as you can. And animals, even ones destined to be lower than you on the food chain, deserve happiness in their habitat just as much as you do.