« Georgian Easter | Main | First Annual Downtown Durham Conference -- March 31 at Duke »

Mar 24, 2008

Which Came First, the Chicken or its Eggs?

Chicken_eggs_with_closeup_600

For those of you who farm, forgive me my ignorance.*  For decades I've been amazed that a little chicken could produce, from scratch,** a whole egg every day.  But finally, last month at the Parque Santiago market in Mérida, the butchers explained it to me. 

See those orange things?  Those are eggs on the make.  They start small and get big.  And then eventually they foomp out.  I'll be goddamned.

Garrison Keillor has a fine story about slaughtering some (free range) chickens in his book Leaving Home.  I haven't yet found a good site to describe the egg development process, but here are a couple:  How a Hen Lays Her Egg (which has a photo) and Chicken Egg Development, which explains that "The eggshell is deposited around the egg in the lower part of the oviduct of the hen, just before it is laid. The shell is made of calcite, a crystalline form of calcium carbonate."

Archer Pelican oldie (with a photo of chickens that are still alive): Chickenbutt!! That's What!

--------------

*And for those of you who don't farm, forgive me posting the maybe-gross-you-out photo without warning.

**no pun intended, I swear. 

12:18 AM in Mexico | Permalink

Comments

I was ignorant of this as well.

So do people eat the eggs-in-waiting? Because it seems to be just the kind of thing that would be considered a delicacy in some parts of the planet.

Posted by: Lisa B | Mar 25, 2008 8:43:32 AM

Lisa B. -- great question.

I never saw anything like that on a menu. But it doesn't make sense. Surely you'd have some clever dish somewhere that takes advantage of the jumble of sizes (and perhaps even textures/flavors? especially if you cooked them all at once -- the small ones would get well done while the large ones would be soft-boiled or whatever).

No one has yet referred to balutes -- eggs at the other end of the spectrum. Eat at Joe's has a nice blog entry on "foods you won't eat". Maybe he'll post a link?

Posted by: Phil | Mar 25, 2008 7:55:28 PM

Lisa B. -- great question.

I never saw anything like that on a menu. But it doesn't make sense. Surely you'd have some clever dish somewhere that takes advantage of the jumble of sizes (and perhaps even textures/flavors? especially if you cooked them all at once -- the small ones would get well done while the large ones would be soft-boiled or whatever).

No one has yet referred to balutes -- eggs at the other end of the spectrum. Eat at Joe's has a nice blog entry on "foods you won't eat". Maybe he'll post a link?

Posted by: Phil | Mar 25, 2008 8:06:54 PM

from How a Hen Lays Her Egg:
"The modern laying hen has delegated her responsibility of hatching, raising, and educating chicks to humans." I'm glad they don't literally eat my child at school.

Here is another egg fact. If you don't wash them, they don't have to be refrigerated. There is a goo that is taken off in commercial production. That explains the small country stores of yore that kept the eggs in front of the deli case, on the floor.

Posted by: Valerie | Mar 30, 2008 8:43:52 PM

In a memoir whose title escapes me, a Cuban ex-pat mentions his family's recipe for these things. It's the only one I've seen yet.

Posted by: Phil | Mar 1, 2009 12:32:41 AM