Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Eggs, one of the most basic and most versatile foodstuffs, and when softly boiled can take me right back to early childhood. Our neighbours kept some chickens in their yard, and although I was only about three years old at the time I can clearly remember Mrs Hendry bringing me a freshly laid egg for tea. It would still be warm to the touch and I knew that soon I would be dipping my "toast soldiers" into the softly boiled egg. I remember the yolk running down the side of the egg onto my plate. I would love to able to say how delicious it was but my childhood memory is not that good. I only remember the excitement of getting the egg from the chickens. Sometimes my Mum would mash the boiled egg into a cup with some butter. What was really a simple egg salad was also a favourite of mine. To this day I still enjoy a boiled egg, not forgetting the "toast soldiers" for dipping. Occasionally I will dip in steamed asparagus stems, first adding a small knob of butter into the top of the egg, not so different from a hollandaise sauce, as eggs and butter are two of it's main components. How simple and easy can food get. 3 and 1/2 minutes in boiling water is all it takes.
The next time I was able to eat my eggs this fresh was while living in Hungary. Our neighbours kept chickens, amongst other things, and they would regularly bring me them straight from the chickens. This time I can remember the taste. It was quite different from the eggs we could buy in the supermarket, and the yolks would be a deep yellow. The chickens were fed corn, grown in the same yard, which made not only the eggs taste wonderful but the chickens too.
Today I buy organic, but they are expensive. Sometimes I do wonder if it is worth paying four times the price for organic. I'm not so sure. What I do know for sure is there is nothing to beat the pleasure of being given, a still warm egg, straight from the chicken, especially when you are three years old.
Simple pleasures in food, as in life, are often the best, to be savoured the most.