I think eggs are amazing. They are so versatile, are powerhouses of nutrition and are a wonderful source of protein. If I had a garden I would have chooks. They are so lovely, clucking around, and would eat all the scraps I hate throwing away. But I don’t have a garden. I live in a flat and if I want to eat eggs I have to buy them.
I made the below recipe and then sat down to talk about eggs. I didn’t intend to write as I have, but I’ve found that I can’t talk about eggs without talking about the unease I feel about eating them.
Not because of the mislead notion that they contribute to cholesterol build up in the body (they don’t and like many things, they are very good for you in moderation), but because of the treatment of laying and spent hens and that male chicks are killed because they are of no use to the farmer/producer. Cage eggs are the result of utter horror and most free range eggs are born of this and a lie .
I only buy certified organic eggs or from farmers who follow the humane choice guidelines (in Australia) – i.e. don’t debeak, the chickens have open fields and/or bush to graze in from dawn to dusk and have a safe, comfortable roost that they have access to at all times. Often a beautiful Maremma dog also protects them while they go about their daily lives. And I don’t usually eat many, perhaps two a week. But this doesn’t allay my unease about spent and male chickens, and I am under no illusions that eating eggs means harm to an animal, even if it’s only eventually.
And while I enjoy eggs and they have the ability to satiate me for hours unlike grains and pulses, this doesn’t stop this dilemma I have. Is only buying eggs, as I have described above, enough? I do believe eating a small amount of healthy eggs is beneficial to our health, but is that worth it when farming eggs is ultimately flawed? I would love to hear your opinions on this.
So while I debate within myself whether I should eat eggs, I would actively encourage (implore even) people who do happily eat eggs, to please make a good, not convenient, choice when it comes to buying them. An unhealthy hen means an unhealthy egg, no matter its label. And one who can’t live a life like nature intended, is in no way a healthy hen – it is living a horror. Protesting with your dollar (or whichever currency you use) is a very powerful thing. Sometimes it’s where you don’t spend your cash that makes the biggest impact.
Buying direct from an ethical farmer is the best way to buy eggs, or from a local store who has access to one. This guideline may help Australians but for those overseas, talking to the farmer/local health food store, animal rights websites and google are your best friends.
And though I give you the below recipe, which is delicious by the way, writing this post has stirred my slow burning embers of unease into a small flame of veganism.
Heat oven to 180°C/350°F
¼ onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced or crushed
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
5 olives, chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes or fresh chilli
½ tsp rapadura sugar*
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
glug of olive oil
- heat olive oil in a small pan over a medium heat
- cook onion and garlic until translucent
- add tomatoes, oregano, olives, chilli, sugar, salt and pepper and cover with a lid
- cook for 3-5 mins, or until the tomatoes have dissolved into a sauce
- taste and add more salt, pepper or sugar if needed.
*a little sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes and rounds out a tomato sauce, but if you don’t want to use it then that’s fine
4 organic eggs
- put the sauce in the bottom of a ramekin, or small oven proof dish, filling about halfway
- crack the egg with the back of a knife and gently place into the ramekin
- put on a baking tray and bake for around 10-15 mins, or when the white has set and the yolk is as you like it.
Serve with accompaniments of your choice. I put a dollop of spinach and walnut pesto on top, lightly cooked asparagus in salt, pepper and lemon juice, and mopped it up with sourdough gluten free toast.