Sunday, we were at my friend Winnie's house. She was taking my picture naked in her chicken coop.
I should tell you why, but I'm not going to. It's a little stunt for charity. Just imagine me in 40 degree weather, in nothing but rubber garden boots, a big scarf and a chicken covering my bits and weeing on me. Imagine my right thigh covered in a thick smattering of brown chicken poop. That was my Sunday afternoon. Just like any Sunday afternoon really. This picture (above) is a rather tame outtake from the day.
While all that was going on, and Winnie was taking my picture, and David was giving me posing directions, and shifting the scarf this way and that to cover all the nekkid bits, the kids ran into Winnie's hen house. When Lucy emerged she was carrying a warm, just-laid egg.
She wouldn't let it go.
She held onto it until we got inside and she asked Winnie to cook it for her. It was pretty simple really. Winnie made it over easy in a little butter. Lucy ate all of it. And not just ate it, but devoured it. Like she had never eaten an egg before.
And when we got home she made me make her another one, just the exact same way Winnie made it. And she gobbled that down too. She's always liked eggs in various incarnations, but this was different. Winnie's egg was better than my store-bought organic. She decided we should have chickens.
Of course, we can't. I had to break that bit of bad news. We're only in the country on weekends, so if we had them there, they would thirst to death by Wednesday. And having them in NYC is obviously impossible. So, no chickens. But I did have an epiphany, something about Lucy actually harvesting the egg herself, and holding it warm in her hands while the chickens ran around under her feet, actually made a difference in how she ate.
I know, you're thinking, "Duh!" We talk about it, sure. How being close to our food changes the way we think about it. It seems true enough, but sometimes it feels like preachy foodism. I mean, how many times have we spent hours with our kids making some scratch dish in the kitchen and at the end, they eat NOTHING? They climb off the counter, leaving our kitchens covered in flour dust and egg shells, only to thumb their little noses at whatever creations it took us hours to make with them, and ask for crackers instead. Little shits.
But this was different. She got that eggs come from chickens, not supermarkets and she appreciated that, and allowed herself a moment to taste the difference.
That might not mean much. But it's somethin'...