Cracking the shell on fowl products
Eggs are nothing to joke about. That funny object in the fridge is round on one end and pointy on the other. Rather fragile if dropped but it still remains a potent protein source.Here in the states grocery stores carry mostly chicken eggs.
Small to jumbo, these shells carry a punch. They are cleaned, candled, and cartooned with tremendous efficiency.
Traveling abroad, it pays to visit a grocery store. What do they carry that U.S. stores do not? This is where the locals get their grub and any grocery store can give deep insight into the local community. Also a great way to meet the locals and get those precious recipes of friendship that make a visit memorable. Look at how items are packaged or not packaged.
Living in China was such a moment. The stores carried a much broader variety of mushrooms, greens, and eggs than U.S. grocery stores. There were chicken eggs of course. But it was also a place to find quail, duck, goose, emu, and dove eggs. That’s right, a wide variety of fowl producing a wide range of eggs, egg sizes, and colors.
Yes, you will find eggs in cartons. They will also be in baskets, milk crates, and any other useful carriers. These are relatively free range products. Unlike our store eggs which must undergo washing and candling before reaching the kitchens of America, these eggs are very often fresh from the farm. Now a chicken is a marvelous invention. Pour in grains, bugs, tiny pebbles, and a few hours later one has either an egg or a very flatulent rooster with an opinion. The first rule to learn when buying eggs is to wash them! Wash before putting them in the fridge. Chicken farmers know this from experience. Expect to have the occasional fertilized egg show up for your entertainment.
Eggs are such fun. The variety of eggs out there can lead to some great dishes. One treat missed is hard boiled quail eggs with hot sauce and mayo. Business opportunities exist for those who want to try the business of fowling. Even the hospital could benefit from its overpopulation of ducks. Just think, a new interpretation of the phrase: Duck! Eggs!
Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television, later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.