Okay, I know I'm no chef. But my latest cooking adventure made me feel like one... you'll see.
For those of you who have been following along with our chicken saga, you may remember that our sweet hen, Lola, laid her first egg Thursday evening! We were out of town at the time, so we just heard about it over the phone. She has since then followed up with two more. The kids and I ate them all for breakfast, scrambled up with one store-bought egg.
These eggs are amazing. I read (I think it was in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilema) that when "real" chefs are looking for a source for high-quality eggs for their restaurants, they look at the egg's yolks to judge them. The best eggs have yolks that are bright orange instead of pale yellow, and very firm (they don't flatten much when you put them in a pan).
I have been buying eggs from the grocery store, and since my store doesn't consistently carry organic eggs (and when they do, they're waaaay out of my price range), we buy a popular national brand that claims to be "the best" in terms of nutrient content. The yolks of the "best nutrition" store-bought eggs are twice as orange as the cheapo store brand, but the yolks from Lola's eggs are even brighter. They keep their shape extremely well, too.
See for yourself!
The yolk on the left is from my store-bought egg, and the four on the right (yes, that back one is a double-yolker) are from lovely Lola. The color difference is quite apparent, but the most striking thing is how Lola's yolks still look like little spheres, while the yolk on the left is flattened and seems to be barely holding together.
I am way impressed. Also, consider this: Lola is not eating any special diet: just the normal inexpensive chicken feed from the feed store. And, it's still the dead of winter here, which means she hasn't been getting any green sprouts in the yard, or probably any bugs either (they don't show up until May). So if her "lowest quality" winter eggs are this much higher-quality than the "best" the world of conventional eggs has to offer, it sure says something for chickens living like chickens in the great outdoors, instead of in factory farms.
Now, if you've done the math here, you're probably realizing that at Lola's rate of 1 egg every 1-2 days and our ability to eat 4 eggs for one breakfast, we're still going to be doing the store-bought egg route for a few more months until our future little chickies start laying. But I have seen the light! Also, all this factory farm chicken talk aside, I am quite confident that even the cheapest egg is a hugely healthier option than boxed cereal. So I will buy my chicks, bide my time, and do what I can to feed my family the best food I can.
Posted at Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family, and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet