Sonoma County, California. Freshly laid eggs. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
The instant I held a fresh brown chicken egg in my palm, marveling at its perfection and precociousness, I decided to start a food blog.
That’s the simple version.
In reality, the idea of starting a blog had been rattling around in my head for weeks, and I had been attempting to keep it at bay by sampling reality television and catching up on my never-ending pile of reading material.
I’ve always liked the idea of having a blog — my generation being the generation that grew up alongside the AOL dial-up ringtone of death, you understand, and the days of wide open Internet prairie country that seemed perfectly suited for public introspection — but I’ve lacked direction. Or voice. Or commitment of any kind. It’s much easier to think of yourself as the kind of person that would have a blog than it is to be the kind of person that actually writes for a blog.
I tossed around a few ideas — a book review blog, a rant and rambles blog, a social justice blog, a history blog centered around my unnatural fascination with Victorian era morality, who knows? — but nothing seemed to stick. Safely wrapped in indecision, I continued with my daily life as a “nontraditional” (read: missed the boat) college student in coastal Virginia.
But unfortunately for me, a few weeks ago I met the chickens Shelly and Pearl.
Shelly is sweet, quiet, and has feathers of a orangey-brown variety. (The internet suggests she is an Orpington, which apparently are known for being pushovers, a characteristic that certainly fits well-mannered miss Bessie). She likes to follow around her coop-mate, Pearl (who is as white as her name implies), while cooing to herself in a self-soothing manner and avoiding a pair of yippy small dogs.
I had not intended to meet chickens. I had intended to visit my boyfriend’s mother.
But, as these things turn out in life, my boyfriend’s mother had recently moved into a pleasant but ultimately chaotic household full of half a dozen animals, which included Shelly and Pearl – and, by extension, their eggs. Which, apparently, no one in the household really cared to collect, much less eat. The pair aren’t there to provide sustenance at all, and apparently they are free to wander the yard, eat as many bugs as they like, and provide free heart palpitations to any hapless newcomer who attempts to drive up the house while simultaneously avoiding their cute little feathered bodies.
I have never been an egg eating person, but this untapped treasure trove was too much to resist.
Because I do cook, regularly — almost obsessively. And I attempt to buy as much produce and other grocery goods as locally as I can afford on my (alas, wafer-thin) wallet, because I believe it is always good to know where your food is coming from. It is much harder to throw away food when you can picture the person that grew it for you, as opposed to the food materializing, origin-less and anonymous, on grocery store shelves. Local food connects you not only to the land but to the people around you, people who eat, breathe, and live just as you do. Eating locally connects me to dozens of people, from farmer to neighbor, and even to creatures like Pearl and Shelly.
And so, as I tenderly washed and dried each miraculous little oval for the first time, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would soon be a blogger.