Where The Deer And The Antelope Play In Architecturally Pleasing Habitats

I need to talk a little bit about the eggs.

And I know. We just wrapped up a discussion about pork chops. But I just finished my weekly grocery trip, and I have a few thoughts.

Perhaps I should explain.

When I was growing up, eggs were just eggs. They came in a styrofoam carton that said something persuasive like “EGGS” on the top of it. Or maybe even “Winn-Dixie EGGS.” “Borden EGGS.” Etc. and so on and so forth.

But today, when I was doing my shopping, it occurred to me that I now know more about the eggs I eat than I know about the cashier who checks me out in the grocery store. For example, here is the brand I buy the most:

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I don’t know. I just feel like that’s a lot of information about an egg. I also worry that the egg might feel an unintended sense of pressure since it’s an “excellent” source of three vitamins and only a “good” source of a couple of others. Regardless, it’s like at some point egg distributors decided that eggs need to be overachievers, and by diggity they’re going to herald their merits right there on the carton. Because their eggs don’t just have vitamins and less fat. THEIR EGGS WON AN AWARD FOR SUPERIOR TASTE, PEOPLE.

And listen. Don’t even ask me how or why I started buying the fancy eggs. It’s just that one day I looked over at the regular Publix eggs, and I thought, “Well, these other eggs seem like they must be way more healthy. THEY WON AN AWARD.” And then suddenly I felt like a bad wife and mama because I wasn’t providing my family with the best possible eggs (well, at least the best of the non-organic eggs) – at which point I felt a tiny bit angry because since when did buying eggs become such a stressful proposition? I mean, do you how lots of mamas managed grocery shopping when I was a little kid? They threw their purchases in the cart all devil-may-care like while they visited with other shoppers and their kids ran around the store barefooted. Then the mamas paid at the register, collected their S&H green stamps, asked the five year-old to hold the two-year old in the front seat, and smoked with the windows rolled up all the way home.

All I’m saying is that, as a general rule, detailed nutritional information about eggs was not a source of maternal stress in the 1970s.


Today I picked up a carton of our “normal” eggs (and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but THEY’VE WON AN AWARD), and I just happened to look at the shelf right above the Eggland’s Best. I never really pay attention to the little cartons of six eggs since I usually buy an 18-egg carton, but a logo caught my eye.

And the closer I looked, the more I was seized by yet another episode of Egg-Related Insecurity.

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I mean, first of all, clearly the chickens that make these eggs are VERY special. They’re cage free, and they live in “sunlit barns and porches.” They not only roam relatively freely; they roam under the cover of natural light, my friends. And next, just look at the nutritional stuff: selenium (no idea what that is), lutein and zea (no idea), not to mention the beloved choline (no idea). Furthermore, each egg has more than double the amount of Omega-3 that’s in the eggs we eat, and it’s actually Omega-3S, a fatty acid improvement that I’m guessing is the handiwork of an intrepid team of designers at Apple.

(By the way, today’s egg experiences have reminded me of this Portlandia video; it cracks me up every single time I watch.)

So I don’t know what’s next. Maybe I’ll switch to organic eggs. Maybe I’ll start buying The Country Hen. Maybe I’ll try to find a local source for eggs (I just watched all six minutes of this video, by the way, and I think what bothers me the most is how utterly fascinated I am by the comparison). Or, who knows? Maybe I’ll go buy some chickens of my own and build them beautiful (SUNLIT!) barns and porches.

The possibilities are endless.

It’s a very eggsciting time.

(I’m so sorry.)

(I couldn’t resist.)

(It was just too easy.)

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  1. Heh. Over the weekend I went to a restaurant for lunch and ordered the HUMANE Angus Cheeseburger. I couldn’t help wondering – was the cow happier in the end? I mean, it seems backwards. Because if he’d had a horrible life, at the end, he might be all, “Kill me now! Make me a cheeseburger!” But after his wonderful humane one, um, maybe he felt differently? I don’t know. But…well…I ate that burger. (Despite not knowing if the cow was happy…or local…)

  2. Kathleen George says:

    I buy my eggs on sale. You know, 99 cents a dozen. I wonder how much was the cost of the packaging and advertising for the price of the eggs. Cute carton.

  3. Love the video! So hilarious. I too suffer from this egg paralysis. They all look pretty much the same. I admit I often go for the cage free if there’s a dozen there that are not 5 times as expensive as the regular ones.

  4. oh my word. I love you :-) also, we eat our eggs from the chickens in the backyard. Weird.

  5. So funny, and true! My husband just asked me on Saturday if I would consider buying Eggland’s Best Eggs instead of the store brand. Apparently the store brand just doesn’t have any flavor anymore. True story. :) So, can you tell a taste difference?

    • Marie M.C. says:

      Yes. I can tell a difference. I stopped buying eggs to eat for breakfast or egg salad — only for cakes, etc. twenty years ago. I bought them at my local Lucky’s. YUCK! Then I started shopping at Trader Joe’s and tried their normal (not cage free, not the pretty brown ones) and OMG — I could immediately taste the difference. So good, reminded of the eggs my mother would buy from a farm in Petaluma when I was growing up in the 1950s. By the way, I was watching Martha Stewart one day and she mentioned she had calculated the cost of her beautiful, pastel Easter colored, home grown eggs worked out to $17/dozen! WOW! I’d love to raise a chicken or two in my back yard but I live in a city that prohibits them. I can buy Farm Grown, certified Organic eggs at a Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Guess what? They only cost $6/dozen and don’t taste any better (yes, I bought a carton) than Trader Joe’s delicious $1.99/dozen eggs.

  6. I’m cracking up. We have the great egg debate here often.. My daddy has a chicken coup.. It weirds me out to eat eggs that his personal chickens lay so I buy the regular ones at Walmart.. I’m just crazy because of it! My eggs apparently taste like plastic. Who knew? I thought an egg was an egg.. An almost chicken.

    (Also, when growing up we lived next to our city airport where my family has a business. We had chickens in the backyard till they started roosting in airplanes overnight. Ha. Love love love rural life.)

  7. Hahahaha… I’m so tired of the guilt involved and quite frankly all of the options. Hello, I’m a mama who doesn’t particularly enjoy decision-making. Heck, I’ve been known to ask my kids to pick the restaurant for supper after church on Sunday nights for that very reason. I am not the kind of person who needs to have to judge a chicken beauty pageant just to buy some eggs.

    On a related note, my dad thought it would be fun to get a few chicks when we were home for a visit last Fall. My kids did enjoy holding (all 7 of them!) and playing with and otherwise making sure they were handled plenty so they’d be nice to people. That’s what my dad said, at least. Anyway, then he built the Taj Majal of chicken coops in his back yard and they get to take an evening stroll every day at 4:30 pm to peck around in the St Augustine grass to their little hearts’ content.

    Haha, I wish there were a way to convey just how much of a yuppie my South Mississippi daddy is not, which is what makes it all so funny to me. Goodness gracious. But the good news is now I can rest in the knowledge that our eggs come from chickens who get plenty of sunlight, grass, bugs, and whathaveyou.

  8. The sunlit porches. For the win.

  9. Sunlit barns and porches? Seriously?

    Oh my word, that is crazy!

  10. HA! Vegetarian chickens! HA! Since when are bugs and worms plant life? That always makes me laugh. God intended for the fine feathered friends to NOT be vegetarians as he intended mankind. LOL. Chickens are practically cannibals when it comes right down to it and sure they may be able to keep them from eating bugs and worms but I guarantee you they get nippy with each other. I don’t think I’ve purchased eggs in over 3 years since we stated raising them. Our eggs have so much flavor I can’t stand to eat any other kind. Just no flavor.

    But I do agree that the packaging is super cute :) I’d probably buy them, save the package and use those eggs for facials or my kids make a rubber bouncy egg science project.

    • Funny — it’s for that reason, (“Vegetarian Fed Hens”) that I’d have trouble buying those eggs. I don’t know…there’s just something about it that doesn’t seem right. Not too sure if I’d be pleased the hens were fed omnivores, either, though. Maybe if the hens were vegetarians all on their own, I’d be OK with it. But their being fed vegetarians… beth.

  11. The vegetarian eggs have no flavor. The free range chickens/eggs are very tasty. I read a book that kept bringing to light that what we eat is what we eat, ate.

    On a related note. Have you noticed that store bought flowers never have a wonderful scent anymore? They have been modified that way.

  12. Anna Barber says:

    Reading your archives as though it were a school assignment and having so much fun! I hope you don’t post a picture of Alex before I get caught up; right now, he’s four in my mind. (in 2007 archives) Ran across your book in my church library on a cart with a sign above it that read, “Written by . . School Staff Member.” I found you from Big Mama, and her from PW. Hope to hear if you do any book signings.

  13. I IMMEDIATELY thought of this Portlandia episode the moment I saw the Sunlit Barns & Porches on the egg carton! Oh, how I love thee, BooMama. Thanks for the laugh tonight!

  14. The ‘sunlit porches’ crack me up!! I tried to reply to you on the twitter, because I too, thought of Portlandia, but I am have no idea if you can see my reply since it does not show up. I am TDO* to keep up with how all this social media works! Thanks for the laughs – I just love you!

    *Too Dang Old

  15. Oh – I am laughing so hard here and I don’t even know where to start. Sunlit porches? Where, oh where, do you find this stuff. The video clip just makes me start laughing all over again. A few years ago we bought chicks so we could have our own eggs, and while I can’t say that I notice any huge taste difference it is nice knowing that they are our eggs. :) Well – technically the chickens. Color difference – yes. But sadly our chickens have even had a few days of no sunlight when one of the kids forgets to let them out of the coop, so I suppose we couldn’t even claim that on the carton should we want to sell them, eh?

    You make me smile oh-so-much. :)

  16. Meredith says:

    “They threw their purchases in the cart all devil-may-care like while they visited with other shoppers and their kids ran around the store barefooted. Then the mamas paid at the register, collected their S&H green stamps, asked the five year-old to hold the two-year old in the front seat, and smoked with the windows rolled up all the way home.”

    This cracked me up! Totally the mamas of the 70’s…smoke outside? Why on earth?

    • That’s the part that cracked me up, too, and I even had to send it to my brother because he was the three year old I held on my lap when I was five while my mother smoked as she drove along. And yes, with the S&H green stamps or sometimes Top Value stamps.

  17. portlandia video hilarious

  18. JeanJean says:

    Apple designed Omega 3 S. Will be chuckling all day.

  19. Yes, going barefooted wearing the crocheted with beads ankle strap that went around your toe!!

  20. Yes, the choices are overwhelming. I’ve recently started buying organic when there’s a choice- we’ve moved to CA and organic is more available here…however, I also ordermy groceries online and by search I can narrow down my choices..bc 12 different kinds of eggs? Yeah, it’s enough to send me over the edge.

  21. I buy the pasteurized eggs because I like to eat my cookie dough and cake batter…and share with my children!

  22. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    This was great, Sophie! Loved it!!!

  23. Honestly, I thought all the hype about organic stuff was all….well….crap. I still think a lot of it is, but a good friend of mine researched the whole egg thing (I’m very grateful, bc it means I don’t have to :) ) and came up with this helpful guide:


    • Maria D. says:

      Thanks for the link to your friends study…i know i’m going to be changing the way I buy eggs and chicken from now on

  24. I actually have the convenience of voice-activated, remotely-controlled egg selection. It goes something like this, “HEY, (insert name of one of 8 Toliver children), go get the eggs!”

    The child runs out to the chicken coop and voila! I have farm-fresh eggs on my table. Albeit, I’m running the risk of the overzealous four year old squeezing the eggs a little too tightly as she carries them in her sweaty palms across the pasture, but, hey, the risk is worth it. :)

  25. As soon as I started reading this post, I immediately thought, “Has she seen the Portlandia sketch about the chicken?” You were already ahead of me.

    Of course.

  26. I am so very thankful for your humor! Today started out quite stressful for me (& it wasn’t about eggs) but your post sure brought a smile to my face and a reminding sense of what is really important in life. Like picking the right eggs! Wink. Wink. Have a great day!!

    I am at work so I will have to watch the video later. =)

  27. Your description of the 1970’s housewife and kids visiting the grocery store was my childhood experience EGGZACTLY! Right down to the bare feet, S & H greenstamps, Mama smoking in the car and kids piled willy-nilly in the front seat. Too funny :)

  28. Ummmm, I buy the cheapest eggs I can find. Mostly because I eat them for breakfast every day….

  29. I heart this post so much. Having just recently been to portland and I live in a farming suburb of seattle the organic fussiness about the food is a little much at times. We do raise our own chickens but only because we were gifted them in real estate transaction. Hen-reitta and the girls do a good job for us. :)

  30. I’m fairly certain you are the ONLY person on the planet who can be absolutely hysterical and engaging when writing about eggs. EGGS. Is this a safe place to admit I loved reading your post about eggs? Had me cracking up!! When there’s this much pressure on just egg-buying, heaven help us with the rest…

  31. I buy the “fancier” eggs, but REALLY? Does anyone apply sunscreen on these chickens before they relax on sunlit porches every day? Are the chickens provided with tiny sunhats to keep themselves cool or sunglasses to avoid squinting? My workday includes toiling away in a windowless room so I can afford organic eggs while these glam chickens chill on a sunlit porch. What’s wrong with this picture?
    The health effects of the “fancy” eggs probably don’t mean much when paired with some good old tasty bacon.
    So, there’s that.

  32. Lydialou says:

    This was so funny and so true! I ate eggs my whole life and never thought about what they provided or if they had sunlight or they were free range! They were just eggs-fried or scrambled or poached! Yum! Now I go for the Eggland, too-well except for when the Kroger brand is 3 for $5. I generally can’t pass that up! I also remember the days of green stamps, no car seats, medal dashboards and women smoking in a car and not giving a rip about who else was smoking unintentionally!!!!! I have considered raising my own chicks but we live in the woods and have some creatures that LOVE chicks too much! And sometimes I get some that are really fresh because one of my neighbors chicks wander up to my dog house and they leave a nice surprise for me-really fresh eggs!!!!!

  33. Oh my gosh, I am DYING at your description of the 70’s mom. How in the world did we get so obsessive so fast? lol! To be honest, what little I’ve learned about our food supply (I studiously avoid the documentaries and such because ignorance – it is bliss), has led me to be more careful about eggs and dairy products and I’ve landed on egg lands best as the “best” option for the price. I wish I could afford organic meat too but that’s not an option for our budget. The greatest thing is to find a local farm and gather your own. A would simply love that. Fresh, healthy eggs with none of the chicken coop work :)

  34. This is hilarious. I also feel like having chickens is totally trendy right now. I’m interested to see if all the suburban moms I know with chickens are going to stick it out…or, you know, eat them!

  35. When we lived in Eastern Europe the we would often get eggs from some bans that had double yolks….a two-for deal! Honestly, the eggs there did taste differently and were orangish when cooked; my friend’s kids thought she had added cheese.

  36. Oh my goodness, that video! I have been in that restaurant, I think-lol. You wouldn’t believe the “hogwash” a waiter told us once about the pork chops we were about to eat. We are farmers-he didn’t know that-and we were totally cracking up. Our eggs come from my mom’s very happy chickens and they are large with very yellow yolks-and fresh, fresh, fresh!

  37. I live in a relatively small cow town and I buy my eggs at the hardware store! I can only imagine what the nutritional value might be for those eggs. I’m clearly an awful mother.

    • here in cabin land Alaska, we can buy local eggs at the hardware store too! people find that so funny when I mention it.

  38. Rachel Harrelson says:

    I loved the video. As far as eggs and chickens go I just buy whatever and eat it. I do not think about it too much or I will go insane.

  39. LOVE this post. You know I was just having an internal mini meltdown this morning about food in general and of course it ended up in me saying WHY CAN’T ANYTHING JUST BE EASY ANYMORE?! lol But because our food and the way it’s made is so VASTLY different than it was a generation ago, I do a lot more research on the way my family eats. This post about eggs had a TON of great information in it on what to buy and why, if you’re still interested :) http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/04/eat-more-eggs-rookie-tip-of-week.html

  40. I started buying the organic eggs, because I liked the idea that they were far superior in that the chickens were being fed well, no chemicals, no injections, seemed like most of the organic eggs were from free range chickens, and I had this picture in my head of happy chickens roaming around in the sunshine and pecking away happily without cages. So. I bought them and I didn’t like the taste. But I figured I’d get used to that. But there was one thing that drove me crazy about them and that was the dot. There was always a dot on the yolk. So I finally decided to go ahead and figure out what the dot was, and by golly if I didn’t nearly pass out when I found out that it meant the egg had been fertilized and that was when I stopped buying the organic eggs because I could not stand the thought. Egads.

  41. Thank you for the laughs this morning! I found your post from Big Mama, and will be looking for your book! For the record, I totally agree with the woman above who buys pasteurized eggs so she can eat raw cookie dough without fear! Preach!

  42. This is why I am every marketers dream, because after seeing the packaging of those “Country Hen” eggs, I want to buy them! Clearly good mothers buy The Country Hen Eggs for their family. (and the marketers say cha-ching! cha-ching!)

    I feel your pain, girl.

  43. I have laughed about this all day. I had to come back just to say that. I always feel like after I leave the egg section that someone is behind the cases laughing at me saying, HAHAH she bought them. We collect 100 eggs and put them in random containers and they pay a fortune for them…oh well. Maybe that’s telling of me growing up in a Cadid Camera era! lol

  44. Although chickens are not vegetarians by nature, if you’re going to buy eggs in the store, you want to buy the ones that are vegetarian-fed. Why? Do you think these chickens are running around the meadow eating bugs the way nature intended? No. If they are not vegetarian-fed they are being fed (mixed in with their soy/corn feed)…..wait for it…..GROUND UP CHICKENS. Yes, when one of their barn-mates dies, she is ground up and fed to her friends. That is the truth. In addition to being just sick and wrong, it spreads disease, hence more antibiotics for said chickens….no thanks.

  45. You “crack” me up – buhdum-csshh!
    (Like you, I couldn’t help myself.)
    (can’t believe no one’s used that one yet…)

  46. Well, maybe I could put your mind at ease . . . a super healthy/crunchy/earth muffin-type friend of mine forwarded me a post about why we shouldn’t be eating eggs AT ALL. Because they’re horrible for you, and they are animal embryos. So, you could always relieve yourself entirely of the pressure and skip them!

    But that would mean no egg salad, no omelettes, no heuvos rancheros . . . so no. Also, my mom was one of those smoking-while-pregnant 1970s ladies — so you totally made me laugh with this post. :)

  47. Seriously? Just find a local farmer or neighbor so you know where your eggs come from. Eggs you buy in a store could be as much as 3 months old when they get to the store. They have no flavor or color. Real fresh farm eggs have a yolk orange as the sun! Cage free and sunlit barns are catch phrases. Cage free means the hens are not in cages. There could be thousands of them in standing room only barns with a mere window for light. They can still be called cage free. They never even step outside! Eggs are such a rip off! Yes I raise chickens. Only for eggs for my family and friends and several regular customers. Only $2.50 per dozen! My hens are outdoors all day and eat bugs worms greens and everything chickens naturally eat! Do your family a favor and find your eggs locally. You won’t believe the taste!


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