The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 3, 2013

'The Fresh Egg Cookbook' has it all

Angie Bicker
The Clinton Herald

---- — There is nothing better than a good book. While spending the winter in Florida, my friend Jan found the perfect book for me. It has it all — literally. It is an informative book about chickens as well as a cookbook.

“The Fresh Egg Cookbook” gives readers recipes for using eggs from farmers’ markets, local farmers and the reader’s own backyard. The cover is pretty clever too with the slug line at the bottom, “From chicken to kitchen.” I only wish I had come up with this idea.

The author, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, did a wonderful job compiling this book. This is a must-have for those who want to eat healthy and for those of us who love and adore our own backyard flock. She definitely got in touch with her inner hensonality. The introduction was very interesting too. It’s always fascinating, to me, to learn why people become enamored with chickens.

The author also did a wonderful job explaining why farm-fresh eggs are the best kind of egg to have in your refrigerator. There are so many more nutrients in them than the ones found in the store. Backyard chickens eat so much more than the ones found in big egg farms. Their eggs are enriched with flavor from eating bugs, worms, grass and vegetables. If you really want to see a difference between the farm-fresh eggs and store-bought ones, crack them in separate bowls and compare. The difference will astonish you. The farm-fresh egg will have a deep, orange color compared to a light, pale yellow.

Last summer my girls ate a ton of vegetable scraps from my garden — a lot of greens. When one hen’s egg landed in a mixing bowl, the yolk was a dark green. At first I wondered if there was something dreadfully wrong with her. When I looked up this occurrence in my handy, dandy chicken-raising manual, my fears were put to rest. If a chicken eats a lot of vegetables, particularly greens, her yolk will be a muddy, dark greenish color. That little girl, in my estimation, must have really went to town on the leftover zucchini and cucumbers. That type of egg, my friends, you will never see in a carton of eggs from the store.

Since there are a lot of chicken breeds in the world, the author did a great job of breaking down her top 10 favorite breeds. As I scrolled down the list, I was overjoyed to see my favorite breed mentioned — the leghorn. No matter how many people try to put them down because they can be flighty, they are really good little girls and lay nice, big white eggs. Farm-fresh white eggs are just as good as the brown ones.

As I thumbed through this book, there was so much to cluck about. The cookbook was full of beautiful pictures of, you guessed it, chickens.

I can hardly wait to try my first recipe. Long live the chicken; long live the incredible edible egg.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.