At this point, I began to wonder where this all was going, when Mr. Fritillary handed me an egg carton, and asked how it made me feel, and what it made me think. Now I could appreciate the direction this was going. I was immediately confused, in a subtle way: was this food? Doubt: Where did these eggs come from? How were they produced? How fresh are they? How far have they traveled? And then there was driving to town, supermarkets, prices, organic or omega-3, fat and cholesterol. These feelings hit me like a brick in my stomach. How long would this carton last? How many meals could I get out of it? When would I be able to get to town again? (We do not have the option around here of buying eggs from a local small farm.) Scarcity and anxiety tugged at me on one end, and on the other end over-production and waste from our own past market egg production: How big is our local market? How much do we charge? Are we covering the cost of producing the eggs? What do we do with the surplus? Are we providing the best, highest quality product, or do we have to cut corners in order to cover the costs because quality food is not valued in the local food-culture? Food is expected to be cheap, and we could not contend with the ethical compromises of producing cheap food. And worse yet, if we did compromise, producing and selling cheap food would only perpetuate the cycle because we could only afford to buy cheap food on those wages. There are quite a few stories in that egg carton. Among them, the story of our becoming primarily subsistence farmers, on a self-reliant scale, each year trying to keep our interaction with the market economy contained and under our control, so that it does not contaminate our entire lives in the way that this single egg carton demonstrated.
Batter: 3 eggs lightly beaten, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup whole milk or light cream. The batter will be runny. You can pour this batter plain, into a greased muffin pan, filling each cup half way. Or you can add a tablespoon of sugar and fruit (dried or fresh). Or for Toad in a Hole, add half a teaspoon salt, your favorite herbs, and one small onion, diced and sauteed until beginning to brown, mix into batter. For the Toad part, make marble sized meatballs (a la breakfast sausage patties) and brown them in a frying pan, or use slices of dried or cooked sausage. Drop your choice of meat in the bottom of each greased muffin cup, and pour batter over, just to cover or half-full. Bake in moderately hot oven (375F), until fluffy and browned, about 15 minutes. Best enjoyed steaming hot!
I never was a fan of meringue pies, at least not the store bought kind. But I'm digging up all kinds of egg recipes, and gave it a try. The recipe was for a basic vanilla pudding, and press-in crumb crust. I used oat flour in place of 3/4 of the whole wheat flour, making a soft textured pie crust. And I added some dried blueberries and chopped dried apples, along with a dash of cardamom and nutmeg to the pudding (in place of the vanilla). The pie didn't last long, but my favorite part was the pudding, and I am quite happy with this oat pie crust, it held together very well. It went something like this: 1 cup oat flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon lard (or softened butter), mix, then add spoon fulls of water (I tried milk too, but it made the crust too crumbly) until the mixture holds together and is slightly sticky. Press into lightly greased pan and bake 10 minutes at 350. Pour pudding (using your preference of thickener, flour, cornstarch or arrowroot) into baked pie crust. Beat egg whites, adding a teaspoon of sugar, a sprinkle at a time, until frothy. Spread evenly on pudding, bake 5 minutes at 350 until browned. Cool to room temperature before cutting.