Lazy weekend mornings are something I have been enjoying very much over the last several months. W and I like to sleep in as late as we want, then take time to make coffee “the hard way,” in a French press or a chemex pot and eat breakfast while lounging on the couch with the dogs. These breakfasts have included eggs for a while now, something I had not eaten in years of avoiding animal products and being a mostly strict vegan.
I have never exactly toed the party line on every issue: I have always eaten honey, and am not often inclined to ask at restaurants if, for example, their bread contains eggs. I question whether there is, in fact, a true “party line” at all. I think most people have to find what works best for them as individuals. Nonetheless, soi-disant vegans do not eat eggs, and I had not straight up eaten a fried egg in maybe three years.
When I had eggs again for the first time, they were eggs delivered straight from one of our local CSA farms to W’s office (they receive egg deliveries pretty regularly — I don’t know how that arrangement came about but I’m not complaining). It’s a small, ethical, organic farm right here in our county, which made it something I felt much more comfortable about than I would grocery-store eggs. That morning, we also had a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from the farmers’ market, and W made eggs in a basket. To this day, that is one of my Most Memorable Meals. Everything about it was perfect.
Since then, I have often requested eggs in a basket, which I did this morning and the chef kindly obliged. It’s a little indulgent, to eat eggs when I clearly don’t have to. I get by without animal products most of the time, right? But the whole lazy weekend ritual is pretty indulgent in and of itself.
I see this as a sort of luxury food. I don’t bake with eggs, for example. Why bother when I have tons of vegan recipes and there’s nothing noticeably different (to me, anyway) between vegan cookies or cupcakes and their non-vegan varieties? Just because I am having eggs on a Saturday morning, I am not going to start putting them into my cookies.
I had added organic Greek yogurt to my diet about a year ago, when I was having problems incorporating protein into my on-campus lunches and was simultaneously experiencing some slow-to-resolve running injuries. I’m not sure that it’s made a huge difference in the injury issue, but it has kept me on track nutritionally even when I’m stuck eating lunch in my office. (Bags of pretzels and granola bars were not doing the trick, and hummus and veggies really wasn’t, either.) I still keep all of my dairy-free products in the house, though, like Earth Balance, Tofutti “cream cheese,” soy milk, and so on. Given the choice, I will take the vegan option almost every time, but if I am eating some local, organic, eggs from one of our CSA farms on the weekend, I am not going to sweat it.
I am also not going to sweat it if I occasionally add a Bloody Mary or two to the long, lazy breakfast. Especially if I’ve just finished a long run. But please hold the Worcestershire sauce — I’m not interested in drinking any anchovies with my cocktail, thanks!
I have always said that I eat the way I do because it works for me and is sustainable, both in terms of nutrition and the environment. That was true when I completely avoided eggs and dairy and I hope it is still true now.
Yummo! We call this toad-in-the-hole, which sounds considerably less appetising than eggs-in-a-basket, but still, appetising enough that your breakfast has just inspired our dinner (thanks!).
I scurry around the sustainability, animal welfare, personal-nourishment triangle constantly, and have concluded that eggs from genuinely free-range chooks* make for a pretty good compromise on all fronts. They’re more “sustainable” (where I am) than tapioca starch-based egg-replacement powder, ridiculously nutritious, and apart from the facts that the chooks have been bred over the centuries to lay ovary-taxing quantities of eggs and that their male offspring don’t fare too well, they’re the kindest source of animal protein going.
Having lived with three chickens now for ten months, though, I am more convinced than ever that industrial chicken farming is wrong wrong wrong. These ladies like a good jog, with a long enough run-up that they can become airborne for a couple of metres. They’re constitutionally curious. They’re voracious eaters of sorrel, grass, silverbeet, tomatoes, worms, Jerusalem artichoke leaves, watermelon, strawberries, beetroot, kale, all the sorts of things you just can’t grow in a barn with a multitude of birds about. In Winter they fly up and sit cuddled together on top of the water-heater. In Summer, they dig hollows in the cool earth and wallow. Their poos are lethally phosphoric, and really shouldn’t be amassed in great quantity anywhere. They have allegiances with each other, and occasional fallings out. They chase our cats, with palpable glee. If you sit with them for a bit, one of them will come and hunker down on your foot. They chirrup and cluck and purr in their sleep. And OMIGOD, the eggs of a chicken whose diet is 50% foraged: golden yokey yellow like no egg you’ve ever met. I can’t imagine the distress or boredom of a hen confined to a space barely bigger than her own body, or even ten times the size of her body.
Um, yes. Pseudo-vegan homilies ‘r’ us.
* as opposed to the “thousand hens in a barn with a 60cm aperture to a paddock” sense of free-range
I love the stories about your chickens! One day I would like to have a little set-up like that, when I have a house of my own. For now, I am happy with the local CSA, as they are reputable and don’t engage in all those shady practices. It does bug the hell out of me that eggs can be sold as “free range” or whatever when that term may not mean anything at all. They should not be allowed to sell under that name, in my opinions. Hence my resistance to grocery-store eggs. Harumph!
Double harumph. It’s alarming, the number of cases coming to light where organic/free-range labeling has simply given people a set of minimum standards that can be observed to the letter, while the spirit of animal-welfare and sustainable agriculture is as subordinated to profit as in any old conventional farm. The CSA bizzo is a great antidote to that.
I hope you and your chicken-husbandry destiny collide soon. They’re nice people to know, chooks.
i’ve been wanting to try eggs in a basket but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. ever since last august i’ve been hooked on my morning breakfast sandwich of egg, bacon, and cheese with an english muffin. local eggs are the way to go, and the same goes for bacon! i drink milk since my body hasn’t given me issues with it, but i switched to whole milk, non-homogenized, that comes from a local organic dairy farm in my county. whenever i drink other organic milks now, or if i have to settle for 1% in a restaurant, it tastes like milk water to me. listening to your body is the most important thing, i think, and it’s hard sometimes with all the information that’s put out there.
Yes! I am thankful we have access to good local resources. I did an English muffin thing recently, too: I had a fried egg on it, some Tillamook cheddar (love!) and Tapatio hot sauce. It was awesome.
I’ve never had eggs in a basket! How … how does that work?
Really glad you shared the what and the why, and I agree — we each need to do what works for us. Smart.
I’m not as good at making it as W is, but you get a thick slice of bread (sourdough is our favorite, but anything works), make a hole in it with a shot glass, and put it in the skillet on medium heat with some Earth Balance (or butter — I still like using the vegan option when I can). Then, carefully crack the egg and dump it into the hole. Wait until you can see the bottom of the egg has cooked a bit and carefully flip it over to cook the other side. Use your best judgment on when it’s done. That may take some trial and error to get the yolk how you want it. I like it a little runny but not with too much liquid.