When I was a child, one of my favorite dinners with my sisters and parents was scrambled eggs. My mom would throw in lots of veggies (tomatoes, broccoli, onion, at the very least) and cheese and cook the eggs until they were sort of brown and crispy. We had toast and gobbled up those eggs like having breakfast for dinner was heaven on earth.
It never occurred to me then to wonder where those eggs came from, beyond knowing that we bought them at the big grocery store. They came from the fridge, and I sort of understood that chickens somewhere laid the all-white eggs and then they somehow got to the store.
When we ate, we consumed our food for energy and for the day ahead or behind us. We ate,paying attention to our family around us, with the meal an opportunity to be together at the table.
Now I’ve watched an egg being laid and have actually had one laid right into my hand. I’ve gathered up too many eggs for our basket and successfully petitioned my mom to make us an egg apron. I’ve marveled at the diverse shapes, sizes, and colors of the eggs our chickens lay.
There is incredible grace in these moments-- and I cannot help but give thanks.
This morning I let the chickens out into their paddock and listened to one of the girls cackle. I fed the girls and changed their water and gave them some of the scratch they love, checking a couple of them for skin issues and checking the dust baths for dirt. When I peeked my head into the eggmobile, there was an egg, glistening and warm.
We sell these eggs and the eggs get to the cartons and into people’s hands, and pans, and bellies because we take them ourselves from the chickens to our eggstand. Placing those eggs in the hands of our friends and neighbors is sharing a gift from God’s good creation. When we eat these eggs, we pause. We pay attention to the meal. We say grace over it.
Since living on the farm, when I was traveling for work, I never ate eggs. It felt weird, like a betrayal, to eggs from chickens I didn’t know and love. But it also felt wrong to eat eggs from factory-farmed chickens, chickens who may never see sunlight or grass, who don’t get to stretch their wings or cuddle up against one another, who don’t get to happily scratch the dirt. There are studies that say that farm-fresh eggs are better for humans than factory-farmed eggs, and that seems fairly obvious to me. Pasture-raised chickens (like ours) are getting to be their full chicken selves, so of course their eggs are going to be better-- for them and for us.
Yesterday, I cut up a tomato from the garden and cooked it with an egg from one of the chickens. We didn’t have broccoli, but I added onion and cheese. Who knew that scrambled eggs on the porch would feel like heaven on earth?
What are you making with your eggs? Are there certain ways of using them that conjure up memories of particular people or places? We’d love to hear your egg stories.