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 week trying to sit still in the country. And then I just can’t.
All this by way of explaining the egg incident. One day while filling up at a nearby gas station here in LA, I went inside to buy some candy (right, like you’ve never done that). And there, next to the register, 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 took our summer vacation that the egg hit the frying pan, so to speak. The place we stayed at was an amazing oasis of peace in the craziness of life. Its location was very rural, the accommodations very arty. And on this property (with its stream, vegetable gardens, and gorgeous flowers), there was a hen house.
Each day we received a batch of fresh-from-the-chicken eggs brought to our cottage door. Blue, green, tan, and cream-colored eggs, so fresh that there were pieces of straw from the roost attached. And if you’ve never eaten eggs this fresh, you just haven’t eaten eggs. Simply put, these were the world’s best eggs.
While B. whipped up a couple of too-fluffy-to-be-believed omelettes in that too-cute-to-be-real country kitchen, I told him what I had discovered at the gas station store. “Once we get back, we can pick up a few of those fresh eggs every weekend,” I said dreamily. “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 five 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 hard boiled. Not warm because they were newly plucked from under a warm, downy hen.
Okay. Maybe the closest I come to country is listening to Garth. Maybe I’ll have to settle for the world’s second-best eggs (along with hash browns and toast) at the little breakfast place we frequent lots of weekends. But maybe there’s nothing wrong with being a (mostly) city girl.
© 2013 Claudia Grossman