Chickens and Eggs, Haute Couture Style

An egg fairy gave me a baker’s dozen tray of colorful eggs the other day. The fairy, in fact, is our lovely gardener Cynthia, and the eggs came from the flock of fashionable hens we keep at the Manresa biodynamic garden.

I’m not kidding about the fashionable bit, really. As you can see from the pictures above, some of them apparently walked straight out of fashion week into our chicken coop. We have Araucana hens, with colors ranging from light brown to copper, accented with gorgeous black patterned feathers. We have the White-crested black Polish hens, sporting jet black feathers and a head of striking white plumage –David calls them the Chanel chicks. My favorites are the Buff-laced Polish hens, with the same billowing plume as the black Polish hens but in light brown and feathers intensifying in colors from beige to brown -the shades just perfect for the coming Spring fashion, Oscar de la Renta’s, I’d say. Plus, these are not only haute couture chickens but they are fed haute cuisine. They eat the surplus produce from the garden and scraps from the kitchen at Manresa, no all go into a compost pile for them to peck on to their heart’s content.

The eggs these hens produce are no less striking. My egg tray looks as
though it has somehow captured the rainbow. The most striking ones are dark
brown -so dark it could be made of chocolate. They are from the Maran
hens -swathed in black, gun-metal gray, and bright red, and looking
like last season’s Marc Jacobs. The Martha Stewart-Green eggs come
from Araucana hens. And the deceivingly plebian white eggs, which have
the brightest orange yolk I’ve ever seen, are from the Chanel hens.

I must admit I feel a little smug, you know, having our own flock of hens producing delicious eggs and all that. But it also made me sad at the same time, because very few people can afford this luxury. Far too many people must rely on factory-farmed eggs as a main source of inexpensive protein in their diet. And the state of egg production here in the industrial US of A will depress anyone who look a little too closely at it. There are little things we can do. Paying attention to the type of eggs we buy is one, but even that one must be careful since egg labeling can be misleading.

In the Bay Area, we are lucky to have a few choices when it comes to humanely produced (and delicious) eggs: from Marin Sun farms at the Ferry Plaza farmers market and from Black Hen farm and TLC Ranch at markets in Santa Cruz, and I’m only speaking of the ones I frequent. I’m sure others can fill in on other good egg sources elsewhere (feel free to add to the comment area.) Also, the Certified Humane website has an interface that helps you find the Certified Humane products, including eggs, in your area.

What to do with these gorgeous eggs, you asked? I’m such an egg-lover I hardly know where to begin. One of David’s favorites is egg sandwich. It’s simple enough, fried eggs in between thick slices of toasted crusty bread. We love the eggs over-medium for the sandwich, but you could have any doneness you like. The trick is to toast the bread only about half way through first –this is easier done in a toaster oven- and then grate some hard cheese -whatever you have on hand- over the slices then back into the toaster they go. Take out the toasts when they are nicely golden and the cheese melted to a gooey perfection, then make your sandwich with the delicious eggs. You can add any sandwich fixing, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, but we like ours just plain. How simple, and what a pleasure!

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20 Responses to “Chickens and Eggs, Haute Couture Style

  • Eager Eater said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 12:08pm

    I’ve recently started reading your blog and I’m really enjoying it. This egg sandwich is one of the favorites from my childhood. My mother would make egg sandwiches garnished with bright yellow French’s mustard. Still delicious.

  • Sean said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 1:24pm

    Have you seen The Natural History of the Chicken? (–pi-1428832.html) It’s highly entertaining …

  • Vanessa said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 4:46pm

    Dali the pig reminds me of Priscilla, a pig that Rick and Kristi Knoll of Knoll Farm had or may still have. I love pigs and chickens and you’re right those of us who have access to the real stuff are lucky.

  • Paul said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 5:43pm

    Eggs are a super food and even better when they come in those funky colours.

  • sam said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 5:50pm

    beautiful chickens, can they be eaten 😉 you know since we lost Hoffman’s finding a good chicken in SF aint easy.
    I have to confess I am perhaps even more of an egg sandwich simpleton than you and david. I don’t know why – but I can do a toasted cheese sandwich and I can do an egg one, but I prefer them separately, I am not so keen on the cheese and egg together in the same sarnie.
    Odd of me I agree – i have no trouble with a cheese omelette. But then, i couldn’t eat an omelette on toast, whereas I could eat scrambled egg on toast.
    obviously i am incapable of an egg/cheese/toast menage a trois.

  • Peter said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 6:14pm

    Keeping chickens needn’t be a luxury. Some progressive cities (Seattle is an example) allow a few chickens in any sized garden. Properly cared for, they’re not a nuisance. They’ll eat a lot of kitchen and table scraps, and turn it into good fertilizer, and as you know there’s nothing like a freshly-laid egg, especially one that’s never been refrigerated.

  • Chubbypanda said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 10:30pm

    Oh thank the gods. I was thinking something truly terrible when I saw the shot of the chicken and pig, followed by that looked like a fried egg and ham sandwich. It gave me a really creepy Ming’s Quest moment, like when he used to go pet the sheep and then he cooked lamb chops. *twitch*
    – Chubbypanda

  • Anni said:
    January 11th, 2007 at 11:56pm

    Ander and I are proud of our “girlie-girls”. They’re in their Winter season and have begged off laying eggs for the moment, but these old gals have given us over 7 seasons of beautiful, rich and delicious eggs that only these proud owners can brag about. No complaints on our side. Your flock is lovely!
    Anni 🙂

  • catherine Ross said:
    January 12th, 2007 at 7:53pm

    gorgeous eggs! a pure, humble, and versatile ingredient to work with. I love egg salad sandwiches too…with lots of onions.

  • janelle said:
    January 13th, 2007 at 12:38pm

    I grew up with fresh eggs and a hen-house my dad built! SO cool and so yummy. The pic is delightful, you should enter it in some contest!

  • Y said:
    January 13th, 2007 at 6:54pm

    What gorgeous chickens! Certainly not the kind I’m used to seeing around. It’s too bad most chickens in the world aren’t as happy as these ones.

  • Gemma said:
    January 15th, 2007 at 2:19am

    I would like to have chickens one day but until then I buy beautiful Clarence Court eggs in the UK which come in the same shades of pastel blue. I have been a lurker here for a while and just wanted to say that I hope it is ok that I have added a link to your blog on my blog at
    Gemma x

  • Lisa Lam said:
    January 15th, 2007 at 11:01am

    Oh Yummy! they are such good looking eggs (as are their layers!).
    As child I used to stay at at a friends farm and they kept some really happy chickens too. I remember being blown away by eating my first double-yolk egg (still warm from the chicken) – it was soft boiled heaven! so creamy and rich, I drool at the memory… No egg has come close since even though I only buy organic eggs – sigh!

  • Nate said:
    January 15th, 2007 at 3:10pm

    Beautiful eggs and pictures. How did the chickens fare during the freeze?

  • Cynthia said:
    January 16th, 2007 at 8:26am

    The chickens are very spoiled. They naturally roost each evening in their large, heated coop (only heated on these nights below freezing). Yes, we’ve endured four nights in a row of 16 and 17 degree weather, but each morning they boisterously emerge to peck and scratch in their gigantic yard. They make a little “drink” hole in their frozen water trough. Of course, I check each morning to ensure they have access to it.

  • ana said:
    January 16th, 2007 at 9:30am

    beautiful photos! lovely blog…

  • John said:
    January 17th, 2007 at 12:09am

    Delicious Oh! they are such good looking eggs (as they are its layers). Whereas the boy who remained in in friends cultivates and also kept some really happy chickens. Blown Memory to be absent eating my first egg of the egg double-yolk (still hot of the chicken) – it was boiled sky smooth! so cremoso and rich, drool in the memory… No egg has come close since even though I buy only organic eggs – sigh!

  • Bill said:
    April 26th, 2007 at 9:47am

    Definately one of my favorite sandwiches as well.

  • hair woman said:
    May 27th, 2007 at 9:26am

    Mmmmmm Yummie!!

  • Chad Builder said:
    June 11th, 2009 at 6:53pm

    Hey same. The Egg sandwiches was made regularly around our house too the only difference was our chickens where raised in our backyard.
    I remember the yoke was a dark ritch orange. It really makes a difference to raise your own hens.
    In fact you can learn about raising your own flock right in own backyard even if your live in the city. check out

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