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Zoethe

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A matter of taste [Nov. 26th, 2010|10:46 am]
Zoethe
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Cat and Dmitri keep ducks for the eggs. Yesterday morning, D made scrambled eggs for breakfast. Cat warned us: duck eggs taste different; be ready for that.

I took a bite. And what I experienced was not actually a new flavor. Instead, I was flooded with sense memory: this is what eggs tasted like when I was a kid.

It's astonishing to realize how many slow compromises we've made over the years when it comes to the quality of our food. Like the proverbial frog in the slowly-heated pan, we don't even notice the little changes accumulating through the years of agribusiness tinkering that's designed to increase productivity with little or no thought to flavor. In the quest to keep things cheap, we lose sight of why we eat them in the first place. I recognized in that moment why, every time I make or order scrambled eggs, I am always vaguely disappointed with the resultant meal: something inside of me knew that this bland concoction wasn't what I'd sought. I'll know now

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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2010-11-26 04:42 pm (UTC)
Have you had fresh eggs, from personally-kept chickens in the same way that these came from personally-kept ducks? On the occasions I've had fresh chicken eggs, I had a similar reaction to yours, so I'm wondering if the difference is more attributable to duck vs. chicken or home vs. factory.

For me, the canonical example of flavor loss for business reasons is stone fruit, particularly peaches and nectarines. The day I had a tree-ripened peach was the day I stopped buying them in the store.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-26 08:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, when we can get truly fresh peaches is the only time I bother buying them.
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[User Picture]From: laplor
2010-11-26 05:15 pm (UTC)
My in-laws sometimes bring meat from the US because it's a lot cheaper. You know what? It should be. It is cheap and filling and all that, but it doesn't really taste like anything. In contrast, I have a friend who buys organic beef from a guy he knows. When I taste a steak at his house, it tastes like BEEF, not just like something that needs to be disguised.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2010-11-26 07:48 pm (UTC)
my ex father in law raised beef cattle. whenever i needed to, he'd take me out into the field, let me pick a calf, and we'd take it to the slaughterhouse. i'd take home what i needed right away, and he'd keep the rest in a deep freeze with my name on it. when i needed it, he'd bring it to me.

i miss that. fresh off the hoof meat is ... :drooool:
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-26 08:31 pm (UTC)
I bet there is a huge difference.
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[User Picture]From: horizonchaser
2010-11-26 07:43 pm (UTC)
There's a lot of benefits to keeping chickens and ducks and such as pets, and egg laying is a big one. Duck eggs are most excellent for baking, though I've never really noticed a dramatic difference between fresh chicken and duck and whatever eggs. But there's a huge difference between storebought and fresh! :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-26 08:28 pm (UTC)
Alas, both our zoning and yard size prohibit that.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2010-11-26 07:46 pm (UTC)
duck eggs are the bomb!

too no egg tastes better than an egg from from the duck, goose, hen, whatever. i have a half-brother who raises hens. unfortunately he lives three hours away. if he lived closer, i'd totally buy eggs from him once a week. he brought me some once; absolutely to die for. :drools:
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2010-11-26 07:47 pm (UTC)
a lot of the difference comes from the living conditions of the hens and the type of scratch they're fed. eddie gives his high-protein, high-vitamin-d scratch. i've tasted it. it's human edible. it's sweet and delicious. hence so are the eggs.

heh. i said hence. :P
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2010-11-26 08:07 pm (UTC)
I'll have to try organic eggs or go to a farm and get eggs. But thanks for posting this, now I'm curious.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-26 08:30 pm (UTC)
It's quite worth it.
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[User Picture]From: losgunna
2010-11-26 09:04 pm (UTC)
Don't just get organic eggs....plenty are organic, but they aren't the same. Go to an actual farm and get them. Wow, will they be fantastic!
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[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2010-11-27 03:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, you're right. I buy organic free range eggs (well, that's what the package says) and they still taste the same as "regular" store-bought eggs. I've never tasted them right from the farm.
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[User Picture]From: losgunna
2010-11-26 09:07 pm (UTC)
My mother just participated in a silent auction at the hospital she works at. She bid on a couple of things, but there was really only one that she really wanted...and won. One of the Doctors has a farm where he raises chickens for eggs, and he donated for auction 2 dozen eggs a month for a year. My mother bid $50, and won those eggs. Very few people bid on them, and they have no clue what they are missing out on.

What's cool is that the carton had brown and green eggs in it :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-27 02:10 am (UTC)
What a treat!!
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[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2010-11-27 03:10 am (UTC)
I had the same experience buying organic milk. It was in a carton in the supermarket, it cost about twice as much, and I realised it tasted like milk did in the 1960s! But my husband said it's too expensive...for now.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-27 03:09 pm (UTC)
It is spendy. But SO delicious.
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[User Picture]From: catvalente
2010-12-01 06:41 am (UTC)
We actually buy raw milk now from a local bakery and holy crap, it's so flavorful, nothing like regular milk.
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[User Picture]From: mazlynn
2010-11-27 03:18 am (UTC)
We recently started buying pasturized but not homogenized whole milk in glass bottles from a local farm a mile or two up the road. It's amazing what a difference in taste there is in truly fresh milk. It's not uncommon for us to pick up bottles and be told to put them in the fridge for a few hours before using them because they're still warm from the pasturizer, which means the milk is less than a day out of the cow. Yum.

We'd also been getting chicken eggs from them for the past several times. While I haven't notice a huge difference in taste, when I bought a dozen store bought eggs for Thanskgiving baking, I was very surprised by how pale yellow the store bought yolks seemed in comparison. (The one problem with the farm fresh eggs is that one week the eggs will be these tiny cute little things, and the next week they'll be the biggest eggs you've ever seen - fine for cooking, but I don't have a good feel for how much of a size difference is ok and how much needs to be compensated for when it comes to baking yet.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-27 03:13 pm (UTC)
Freshness us one issue with the eggs, but genetics are another. Many chicken breeds have been manipulated for production rather than flavor.

That's awesome about the milk, though. We've bought farm milk, but never anything that fresh.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2010-11-27 01:49 pm (UTC)
I had the same experience with beef when I found myself in Dallas in the late 80s -- and a hamburger from Wattaburger tasted better than the best steak I'd found in Michigan. Since moving to Dallas was not an option, I quit eating beef. :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-27 03:14 pm (UTC)
That is one solution!
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[User Picture]From: cindyg
2010-11-27 01:55 pm (UTC)
My family is still lucky enough to be able to buy beef that's been raised mainly on grass - see, there's a province here in the Philippines called Batangas that has been famous for its beef cattle for generations. I guess in modern terms they would be called free range beef; all I know is that they are raised in grass pastures until it's time to take them to market.

Ma used to take the cooler in the car when we'd head up to the country, and get the choice cuts of beef straight off the hoof. The meals she would later make at home out of those cuts were sheer heaven. Thankfully, despite the prevalence of Angus beef, our own Batangas beef still has a huge following.

Also...salted duck eggs, diced with tomato and raw onion + beef jerky + fried rice + scrambled eggs + garlic soaking in white vinegar as dipping sauce = best breakfast combo ever.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-27 03:16 pm (UTC)
Yum!! Now I'm hungry.
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[User Picture]From: shandra
2010-11-28 02:21 am (UTC)
We have a share in a local farm that raises heritage breeds organically & delivers to our door, and the eggs are fab but what is the biggest difference I find is the *pork*. Real pork from like when I grew up when it was darker and fattier. We eat less of it due to fat content but - wow. Worth seeking out.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-28 04:16 am (UTC)
Ah, yes. Pork before they started breeding it to be "the other white meat." I bet it's wonderful!
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[User Picture]From: fitfool
2010-11-30 12:58 pm (UTC)
I've been buying cage free eggs because I feel guilty about how
chickens are raised. And occasionally I'll buy eggs straight from the farm too. But oddly, I can't taste the difference between the cage free eggs at the store and the farm eggs. Maybe I'm not preparing them properly?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-30 04:18 pm (UTC)
I think it may be genetics. Just like many tomato types that are raised for sturdiness are not much better when grown at home, if the chickens themselves have been bred to be high-layers, the flavor may be suffering.
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