The Chicken and the (Unlaid) EggsApr 5th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: guest bio, the show
I feel it’s valuable for each of us to understand the path to the plate, and in an effort to walk my talk, I accepted an invitation from Susan Hausman and Dorsey Barger of HausBar Farm in East Austin to visit on a day they had scheduled chicken processing.
Mike Sutter, who writes about food and dining on his website FedManWalking.com–and is a contributor to our show–joined me that day; he was in the midst of his “I Can Eat 50 Eggs” series, and had just experienced a transcendent dish at Komé that used unlaid eggs from HausBar chickens.
I won’t say it was an easy day (worse, of course, for the chickens), but I can tell you that the animals had lived a very good life on the farm, and were treated with a great deal of respect and compassion on their final day.
Farm employee, Lola, conducted the processing.
Nobody in the room was cavalier about the fact we were ending the lives of the birds. For Dorsey, the process was–and is– spiritual. She loved and raised the birds from the time they hatched, and did so with the understanding that in addition to their beautiful, nutritious eggs, once they reached a certain stage, they would become food, too.
Before I saw the unlaid eggs for myself, I had no concept of what they might look like. And then one of the three chickens Lola processed that day provided me with an education I will not soon forget. Mike Sutter describes the intricate structure in his review of Kome:
“Unlaid eggs take many forms. They might have fully formed shells, ready to be laid that day. Or hard amber blooms about the size of a yolk, in rows like an organic assembly line on their way through the oviduct. Or they might be tiny yellowish seeds, like yolk buds on a stem.”
It wasn’t what you’d call a pretty sight, but it was definitely fascinating to witness first hand, and I am glad I did.