Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturdays and Eggs

I'm working through another weekend evening to try and ensure that I will be done by tomorrow and in time to go toss my cousin's kids around in the Gauja River. It was around 30ÂșC in Latvia today and will probably be the same tomorrow. Great swimming weather.

Though I'm supposed to be translating right now (I feel most of whatever I write or do at otherwise inappropriate times comes about when procrastinating), I can't stop thinking about the omelet I had for breakfast and the egg situation in Latvia.

Oh yes, we have a situation. About eggs.

Although life in Germany gave me the choice of buying brown or white eggs, life in Latvia generally greets you ONLY with brown eggs. White eggs only show up around Easter, right in time for them to be bought out and used for traditional egg colouring. (Truth be told, they might be available year-round somewhere else, but I'm used to not expecting to see them anymore.) So, brown eggs it is. And that's cool. I'm down with brown eggs; I have been since Germany.

The thing I'm not so down with is the fact that, when living in Latvia, you are reminded on an egg-by-egg basis just exactly where that egg came from. Almost every single carton of eggs is filled with individual reminders that, even if Egg did come first, this one definitely came from Chicken. Specifically, from the internal, body-juice, feathery nether regions of Chicken.

Eggs in Latvia are, as could be surmised, not cleaned very well or at all before being packed into cartons and shipped off to grocery stores for shelving. Standard cooking procedures at home have also changed. Gone are the days of carefree egg cracking straight into the bowl. Now everything is prefaced by wrinkled noses and gasps of disgust as eggs are turned over to reveal bits of feathers, bits of other egg and even blood before attempting to wash it with several cleaning fluids before use.

Granted, you can always opt for the plastic six-pack of eggs of non-specific origin, wrapped in a thin, black carton slip sporting a picture of a glistening body builder, but as these eggs neither come with miniature tricep and bicep bulges, nor do they make you strong enough to challenge strongman Raimonds Bermanis, the extra four santims don't really seem worth it.

Now, instead of popping the lid off the carton at the store just to check for cracked shells, I also check for the carton that has the least amount of carnage still attached to it. The day I find a tiny chicken beak or underdeveloped wing tip in a carton is the day I go ovo-vegetarian.

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