I have two observation about eggs from my trip to Europe. A couple of days after my arrival in the Netherlands I was dispatched to the grocery store to fetch eggs. I could not find them. I searched and searched and returned empty-handed. Both Milla and Anne told me the eggs were by the cereal, so the next time I was in the grocery store I looked for the cereal. Lo and behold, there on the shelf next to the cereal sat the eggs. They were not in the refrigeration section, which is why I had not located them previously. I had gone around and around to all the refrigerated sections in the store. No wonder I hadn’t found them.
This was quite a revelation, these eggs on the grocery store shelf. I have known my mother to toss out entire cartons of eggs because they sat on the counter all day. What a waste. I will let her know, and everyone else who might care, that Europeans leave their eggs on the shelf in the grocery store. There have been no major outbreaks of Salmonella in the Netherlands (I checked, via the internets, so if the internets can be trusted, this is likely the case), which must mean that leaving eggs out of refrigeration for a while won’t hurt anyone. I wonder how much money could be saved in the US on refrigeration if eggs were not kept cold. Or maybe it’s that the US leaves them out longer than the eggs in Europe. I will have to do some investigating and get back to that one.
I made another egg discovery in Europe. You can buy, off the shelf, actual eggs from chickens that are truly free-range. I’m not talking about the bullshit US version of free-range where they keep them locked up until they are 5 weeks old, then open a tiny door at the end of a long shed, knowing full well they will never leave that shed until the day they die. No. I’m talking true free-range from a field chickens who eat bugs and grass and scratch their little feetsies in the dirt. I get my eggs true free-range from a field chickens. I have to go to a neighbor’s house who has them brought in from a ranch and sells them to willing buyers. I pay $5 a dozen, which isn’t horrible considering true free-range eggs at the local farmers markets are usually $10 a dozen. The true free-range eggs in Europe were about $3 Euros a dozen, which was the same price as the non-true free-range eggs in Europe. Not bad. Imagine that, true free-range eggs sold in the grocery store on the shelf for a moderate price. And we’re told it can’t happen here. What a load of dooky (dookie?).
Finally, the absolute best egg discovery I made in Europe was in Spain. Every single huevo I ordered in Spain was perfection. They were fried, with the whites completely cooked but not burned, the yellows still runny, and salted. NO PEPPER!! Perfect. I could not have ordered an egg more to my liking if I tried. I have never, I repeat NEVER gotten an egg exactly as I like it at a restaurant in the US. It is seemingly impossible here. For some reason, either the whites not runny, or the whites not burned, or the yellows still runny, or the just salty part is a little too difficult for cooks here to manage. Cooks here also seem to find it nearly impossible, even when asked, to leave off the pepper, which drives me to distraction because I can’t stand pepper and I really can’t stand it on eggs. I don’t send the eggs back for having pepper unless the pepper is so heavy I can barely see the egg, so I’ve had to scarf down peppered eggs on many occasions even when I didn’t want to. Now I just rarely eat eggs out because it’s so hard for US cooks to figure them out to my liking. But not the Spanish cooks, and I didn’t even SPECIFY!! They just came to me exactly as I like them, every single time I ordered them. I loved it. Maybe I was a Spaniard in a past life and this is why I like eggs the way they make them there. I don’t know.
And another thing…the Spanish eggs, like the Netherland eggs, and like my true-free range eggs here, had the same bright orange, tasty yokes. I suspect these Spanish eggs were true free-range as well. Eggs that are not truly free-range, including the pretend free-range version in the US, simply do not have these healthy, tasty yokes. They are anemic and bleah, with no flavor at all. The Spanish eggs were utter perfection, through and through.