chickens came first


To pre-empt any funny questions, the chickens came first.

There were two Isa browns that grew to distinguish themselves as Big Red and Little Red, and a black and white laced wyandotte immediately dubbed Collingwood.

We had picked them out ourselves from a large flap of livestock.

The man who sold them to us made a half-hearted attempt to dissuade us from Collingwood.

I haven’t had much luck with the black and whites,” he said. “They all seem to turn into roosters.”

That figures,” muttered the partner, who has never been a fan of the Magpies.

As it transpired it was Collingwood that dropped the first egg six weeks later in an impossible-to-reach spot behind a jumble of old furniture in the garage, leading to unflattering comparisons with certain AFL players.

This we discovered was actually what they mean by free range eggs … they can turn up anywhere – although underneath the third pine along the drive subsequently proved to be quite a reliable collection point.

Like a lot of people we’re trying to gain a teeny bit of self-sufficiency, growing a few herbs and salad leaves and now keeping chooks.

Before this trio of girls my dealings with chickens had been been largely confined to removing their bodily parts from plastic bags and watching the movie Chicken Run.

There is something about chickens; their gentle clucking and bobbing about the yard can bring a smile to the most hard-boiled individuals.

Eggs, however, are a completely different matter.

Boiling an egg is meant to the benchmark of the most basic cooking ability.

But sharing a house with friends for a weekend recently we discovered eggs can be a source of hmm, hmm … eggs-asperation.

Friend A – who incidentally is in the police force and likes doing things with Excel spreadsheets – is so particular about how they are done she actually brought an egg timer along.

Her method involves bringing water to the boil and then placing a room temperature egg in the water for exactly six minutes, so when it comes out you can bounce it.

Friend B, who is Friend A’s husband, likes his eggs softer so they must be added at eggs-actly the three-minute mark.

Meanwhile my husband favours starting his eggs in cold water which is turned off the second it reaches the boil and the eggs then left to cook in residual heat for one minute so they are still a little gooey in the centre.

Is it any wonder that I decided to form a breakfast breakaway group of one … eating muesli?

A search of Google returns 17 million results on how to boil an egg. It is one of the top three how-to searches on Yahoo year after year.

This subject is undoubtedly leading me into hot water.

But now – adding to the controversy – scientists have worked out a way to unboil an egg.

This basically involves adding urea – a pungent chemical compound found in urine – to the egg and whacking it through a centrifuge so the proteins unwind and the egg reverts to its original state.

As scrambled as this sounds, the technology is said to have major implications for cancer research, food production and the global biotechnology industry generally.

And, dare I say, that’s no yolk.


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