For Bon Appetit, by Alex Beggs.
Once upon a time I was a nanny, and one evening, I was at a restaurant having a burger and beer (cool parents) with my charge, Henry, who went for the chicken fingers (and milkshake, cool kid). When the burger arrived, it had a plastic cow-shaped toothpick in it that said “MEDIUM.” Henry saw it and asked me, “Why’d you get the medium when you could have a large?”
Oh how right he was! Now, some ten years later, I ask myself the same damn thing in the egg aisle of the grocery store. Why would you buy medium eggs when you can have JUMBO???
They’re cheaper. But if you cook with them, you might need to use double the eggs. What’s the point?
So I called up Jesse LaFlamme, the chief executive farmer of Pete and Gerry’s organic eggs. Yes, I too was disappointed his name was neither Pete nor Gerry. (Okay, Gerry is Jesse’s father). He told me that medium eggs are typically from younger hens. They’re the hen’s first round, so to speak, so they’re smaller and have a thicker shell. He even thinks they might have a tastier yolk, but he admits, “that might be in my head.” Things get a bit scrambled in there. Too much? Sorry.
But let’s go back to the thicker shell. You know what a thicker shell means? Easier to peel when they’re hard-boiled. The shell comes off in chunks, and you aren’t left cursing all of chicken-kind while you stand at the kitchen counter with a shell mosaic in the works. In fact, Pete and Gerry’s just started selling pre-peeled packs of hard-boiled eggs, which they make from medium eggs. Whattya know!
One more fun fact about young hens, which is the name of my crime-fighting roller derby team. Because their bodies are still figuring out this whole egg-laying game, that’s why you sometimes get double yolks. You thought you were special, huh? Once I had four double-yolks in a carton and almost, almost bought a scratch-off ticket, which goes against everything I learned about math. But LaFlamme tells me that the double yolk is usually to blame on those young hens, because “things aren’t quite right, so the two yolks might fuse together.” And as they sort through them on the farms, they might group all of the double yolks, which look elongated, together. Then those eggs will get cleaned and packaged together as larges, and then a naive young woman in Brooklyn thinks the cosmos are trying to tell her something about duality and the meaning of life. But no. No.
And here's how to make those hard-boiled eggs:
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