Ah, I hope I never get tired of saying “in the buff.” I’ve survived a week in Buffalo, and it’s been quite pleasant, actually. We went from 60 degrees/sunny to snow to rain and back again. I’ve been focused on archival research in the Joyce collection here, a marvelous trove of all kinds of fascinating primary source materials. When they kick me out at 5 pm, I go to the regular library to look up books there in the gloomy stacks. I’ve been living pretty much without a library for the past three years, so it’s so incredibly wonderful to be able to do real research, so galvanizing.
So what does this have to do with food? And more importantly, what am I cooking?
Well, I’m not cooking much, just things like a simple pasta with mounds of roasted peppers, a bit of zucchini, and a good French goat cheese, and couscous with fresh Polish sausage and root vegetables. Both last for days. I’ve been eating lunches at the international food court on campus, with mixed success (mostly unsuccessful). After my initial pierogi binge, I managed to get out and have a bowl of Polish Easter soup, zhurek, one of my favorite things.
And when I’m not thinking about feeding myself, I’m keeping my eye on food in modern literature — one of the projects on which I’m working. Who knew modernism had so, so much food in it? I’ve been chuckling over futurism recipes and salivating over the creative vegetable recipes American exiles in France devised with wartime rations.
One of the major food themes of modernism is breakfast. Everyone seems to be eating breakfast, and it’s all about eggs. Make it new, yanno? So with that, Easter tomorrow, and my upcoming article including urban chicken keeping, I’m all about the eggs.
Retrogrouch and I get our eggs from Sweetwater Farm, our CSA, when we can, and let me tell you, Lynn’s hens lay the best eggs. I was talking to someone the other day about farm-fresh eggs and he said he couldn’t taste the difference, so I thought I’d illustrate the matter.
Take a look at the photo. The egg on the bottom is a farm egg, and the one on top is a regular egg from Safeway. I’m not sure my crummy camera does it justice. Notice the dark — almost orange — color of the farm yolk compared to the pale yellow of the Safeway egg. The flavor of the farm egg is more robust and creamy, less runny. You can see the farm yolk is also bigger, less flat, and plumper than the Safeway yolk. I’m not a big fan of eating eggs plain, but farm eggs are so delicious I can’t help myself.
The big difference with farm eggs is the cost. If you buy eggs at an organic market from a local farm, you’ll find they are much more expensive. For me, it’s worth it, since I don’t use them that much and they are worlds apart. Keeping chickens and becoming friends with your chicken-keeping neighbors are more cost-effective alternatives, especially if you can figure out an exchange or barter system.
I’m sure there are trials out there somewhere that demonstrates a marked difference in baking with farm eggs. Perhaps you’ve done your own testing?