Fresh, local eggs create connection that feeds the body and soul

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By: Rachel Shenk

Sometimes the old sayings do prove true. March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Temperatures are slowly rising, and when the sun does come out, it warms me in a new way. Nature feels it also: The peepers’ chorus grows louder as the sun gets warmer, and all of a sudden, the grass turns green, little shoots poke through everywhere, trees are budding and water flows.

With Easter and its long days of baking behind me, I am finally really thinking about eggs. I worked with a lot of eggs this week, separating, beating, whipping, baking them into Finnish Easter braids, Russian Kulichs and Greek Tsoureki braids. This symbol of fertility becomes the newest thing on earth when it hatches! They are an all-around good food and simple to use and prepare.

I sometimes go get my eggs at the Bowmans. It’s such a pretty drive to get off the main highway and take the winding ribbon of road that leads to their house and chicken house. The road follows the river and winds back and forth, into the shade of the trees and back out into the sun and back into the humid darkness and back out into the bright fields until you come over the hill and see their place down in the hollow. You can tell those who live there enjoy the work of the hands and of the earth, as well as having animals around. When I use their eggs, I see chickens strutting around, scratching up the ground. I hear the soft cooing and the loud cackles. I smell the earthiness of the river and the freshness of the grass. And when I break them open, they need a good crack to break the shell. You can see how fresh they are by the bright yellow of the yolk and the white’s hold. Last week when I called, she told me she would go out and find the ones in the chicken house, and those are the ones I got!

Once again, I make a connection to a person or family when I use the product they give me. My egg omelet is not just a thing for my use; it becomes a tangible form of food, the end result of many loving hands. When I eat food in this way, it not only fulfills my need for nutrition but also my human need to be connnected to others and to be fed in my soul.

Lately, I have really gotten excited about poached eggs. But I will eat them almost any way, and at Easter, it’s a family tradition to pickle them with the juice from our home-canned pickled beets. With a beautiful, deep fuchsia on the outside, the yellow yolk and its white casing just stand out. And the flavour is not too bad either! Here is a recipe for a simple French salad using poached eggs:

Salade Lyonnaise

  • 1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 lb. summer sausage, in thin slices and quartered
  • 4 eggs
  • Mixed greens
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Croutons (homemade are best!)

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. While it is heating, fry the bacon until just crisp. Add the sausage just to heat it up. Remove from heat.

One at a time, break the eggs into a bowl. In the boiling water, stir to create a whirlpool. In the center of the whirlpool, drop the egg. Cook for 3 minutes and gently remove from the water.

Mix the bacon, sausage, croutons and greens together. Divide onto four plates. Place a poached egg on top of each salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Voilà!

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