Let’s face it. I’m not a country girl. I grew up in New York, went to college in Boston, and now live in LA. While you’ll hear me complain along with everyone else about the noise, the traffic, and the crowds, the bottom line is that I’m good for about a one-week escape to the country each summer (in this case, Taos, NM), and then I just can’t sit still.
All this by way of explaining the egg incident. One day while filling up at the nearby gas station here in LA, I went inside to buy a beverage. (By the way, I’m totally entranced by just how many products these little gas station stores manage to stock and by how every artificial color and preservative ever invented seems to be present and accounted for. But I digress.)
Right next to the register, as I was paying for my purchase, I saw a basket of fresh eggs. Farm eggs, the sign read, 25 cents each. “They’re fresh,” the cashier told me. “Still warm.” I touched one gently, reverently. It was warm. Wow, I remember thinking, freshly laid eggs, how cool is that? I didn’t buy any (I was on my way to work), but, armed with what I deemed my delightful little discovery — fresh eggs in the middle of the city — I spent the rest of the day buoyed by the idea: I can do country, I thought.
It wasn’t until we went to Taos for our (now) annual summer getaway that the egg hit the frying pan, so to speak. The vacation rental we stay at is an amazing oasis of peace in the craziness of life. Its location is very rural, the accommodations very arty and supremely comfortable, the host an absolute gem. And on this property (including a stream, vegetable gardens, gorgeous flowers), there’s a henhouse.
One of the lovely things that our host does each day is bring us a basket of fresh-from-the-chicken eggs. Blue, green, tan, and cream-colored eggs, so fresh that there are pieces of straw from the roost attached. And if you’ve never eaten eggs this fresh, you just haven’t eaten eggs.
While B. whipped up a batch of his light-as-a-feather French toast, I told him what I had discovered at the gas station store. “We can pick up a few of those fresh eggs every weekend,” I said. “And you can make us French toast to go along with the Sunday paper.”
It took him a minute. He looked at me with that is-this-something-I’m-supposed-to-understand-because-I-don’t-quite-get-it face. And then he did it. He cracked up. For like ten minutes.
Finally, he stopped laughing and asked, “Where do you think the gas station got the fresh eggs from?”
Me: “The chickens.”
He: “And where do you think they keep the chickens?”
He: “Outside near the gas pumps? Or outside near the vacuum and free air hoses?”
Me: “Outside near the — oh.”
My fantasy shattered like an egg dropped on the floor. In a sudden dose of logic, I realized that the gas station eggs were warm because they were hardboiled. Not warm because they were newly plucked from under a warm, downy hen.
Okay. Maybe the closest I come to country is listening to Martina and Blake and Garth. Maybe I’ll have to settle for the world’s second-best scrambled eggs (along with hash browns and toast) at the little breakfast joint we frequent lots of weekends. But maybe there’s nothing wrong with being a (mostly) city girl.
Got any ketchup for those eggs?
© 2013 Claudia Grossman