Sunday, August 3, 2014

Trompe-l'oeuf: Fresh and Tasty Eggs

Trompe-l'oeuf is not a real phrase. But it popped into my head as I happily cracked eggs into the pan when we were camping. My mother-in-law had sent us off with almost two dozen fresh eggs from her layers. 

Trompe l'oeil (trick of the eye) is a technique in art that involves realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that the painted objects exist in three dimensions. Think Pozzo's painting in Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio in Rome. L'oeuf means 'egg'. Trompe-l'oeuf = egg trickery. That's what I was pondering while cooking breakfast at camp.

Here's my question: can I really discern the taste difference of an über-fresh egg from pastured-raised, antibiotic-free, and pesticide-free layers? I think I can.

Are the whites more clear, more taut? I think so. 

Are the yolks more vibrant from the insects and worms that the chickens have in their diets? Yes.

Is my EGG-citement about these beauties justified? I think it is. 

Or is it a trick of the eye...that affects my tastebuds?!?

I suspect that mindset of the the eater definitely affects how a food or drink tastes. Think about how a crisp white wine tastes better if you're sipping it with your toes in the sand on a beach in the Mediterranean. 

There is a gelateria in Rome whose owner once boasted that he had met the cows that gave him milk and the chickens that gave him eggs. Best gelato. Ever. Is that in my head? Maybe. But it was really, really good gelato.

As for the eggs I feed my family, I have to say that I am always excited when I get fresh eggs from friends and family. When at home I gladly pay more when I know that  the chickens have a better quality of life and that my money is going directly to the farmer.

The first morning I just scrambled some of the eggs in a pan with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of flowering dill. Delish!

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