Until I started raising chickens I had no idea eggs could be so beautiful. The variety of shapes, sizes, and colors in endless. There are few things more magical than holding an egg that is so fresh it is still warm. Nothing compares to the taste of an egg that is minutes old.
The powers that be have decided that consumers don’t need to know how fantastic eggs can be. They want you to believe that an egg is an egg is an egg, and that it doesn’t matter how old it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. The eggs from chickens which run around and exercise all day are so rich you don’t need to salt them. Their yolks are so thick and golden, that they taste incredible even raw. And if you want to make a soufflé so fluffy it practically floats away, you need an egg laid that day.
But when you need to produce eggs by the millions and millions, and make them as cheap as possible, the only way to do it is to cut costs, streamline operations, and make everything the same. Any sign of uniqueness is erased. What ends up on the store shelves are endless cartons of nearly identical blandness.
When you go to the supermarket and shop for eggs, you encounter racks and racks of identical looking eggs. You’ll never see a date as to when the eggs were laid. You’ll never see the name of the hen which laid the egg. If they are USDA graded eggs, you will see a 3 digit number which tells the day of the year (January 15 is 015, February 20 is 051, etc.) the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in the carton, however this may not be the day the eggs were laid. So you really have no idea when that egg was laid. I’ve often wondered why the large egg producers don’t want customers to know when their eggs were laid. I’m baffled as to why consumers don’t demand to know when the eggs they are buying were laid.
All this mass production and efficiency obscures the incredible variety of eggs chickens lay. It takes the fun out of getting eggs. Every carton is the same as every other carton. When you open it up, there are no surprises, nothing to make you smile. You have no idea that even the same chicken will lay a slightly different day each time. The size, shape, and shade varies slightly. Gathering the eggs throughout the day is an adventure. What did Lucky lay today? Where did Happy lay her egg this morning? No wonder so many people are bored out of their minds.
Nadia Arumugam of Forbes wrote an interesting article Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa. It’s an interesting read and one wonders how standards in developed countries can be so different.
Another good read from Forbes, is Industry has sway over food safety system by Christopher Doering.