Thursday, June 20, 2013
Every Good Thing Begins in a Garden
I stumbled across a recipe yesterday that calls for, among other very trendy things like sea salt, "seven organic, free range eggs." My wife is thinking of making this recipe, which will result in some truffley, moussey, heart-unhealthy bowl of deliciousness for me, I am sure. But for now, it's just the latest instance of a recipe being, for me, a source of humor. There is no benefit to eggs whatsoever from being "free range." Eggs are immobile; set them down in a free range and they will sit there, slowly spoiling, until you return them to the refrigerator. I know, I know. "Free range eggs" are the output of free range chickens, which do benefit from the open space both in terms of health and dignity (for the chickens and for those who raise them). But you can't put a misplaced modifier in front of an editor and expect him not to poke fun at it. But seriously, folks. What really stood out to me about the organic, free range eggs wasn't the modifier so much as the signifier: this recipe is telling me which particular eggs to buy. Not those eggs--they're not organic, and the farming cosmoporation that brought them to market subjected the chickens that bore them to terrible, terrible living conditions. No, buy these eggs--these eggs that hearken back to simpler times, when human hands tilled the earth and fetched eggs out of the nests of loving hens. If your eggs aren't organic, aren't free range, then you're buying the wrong eggs. Your recipe is steeped in the blood and byproduct of factory farming. Even that isn't my point. My point is, if you're going to give such specific instructions about the eggs, why not go all the way? "Take seven eggs from your hen. Crack into a bowl. Separate the yolks. Whip the whites until stiff peaks form." Something like that.