How do you like your eggs? There are so many different and delicious ways to cook and serve eggs that they have become a staple of many diets the world over. They became popular in the height of the British Empire after being introduced into Great Britain by the Zulu warrior king Cetewayo in 1879, and thereafter spread to the British colonies all across the globe. But where do eggs come from? As any parent will tell you, sooner or later there comes a time when a child will look up, his eyes full of curiosity, and demand to know the answer to this question! What would you tell him? The answer is, of course, a hen's arse, but do you know the full story behind the fascinating journey made by an egg before it even reaches your table? I take my six year-old son to visit a small farm in the countryside near where we live and ask Fred Marmite, the farmer, this very question.
"A hen's arse," Fred tells me bluntly. I ask him to elaborate somewhat, and he kindly shows us around the barn where he keeps his battery hens trapped inside row upon row of tiny cages. As my son and I take a stroll along the stained aisles between each row, Fred points out the various pieces of machinery that help to automate the egg-making process, thus freeing up his precious time to enable him to spray his crops with poison. First, the chicken is artificially inseminated with artificial semen, delivered by a robot arm holding a teaspoon. Secondly, the chicken is force-fed by a second robot arm holding a teaspoon. Fred relates an amusing tale to us, detailing how he once got the two arms mixed up and that it ended up costing him quite a bit of money! Thirdly, the chicken is injected endlessly by a third robot arm bristling with teaspoons and needles, all filled with artificial growth chemicals which help to make the egg bigger and rounder. When the egg is finally hatched, a fourth robot arm carries it on a teaspoon and drops it carefully into the container known colloquially as "The Egg Bucket." This is a large bucket in which the eggs are kept. As we look inside I can't help but notice how large and round the eggs are when compared with the eggs one normally finds in supermarkets. "That's 'cause I feed 'em 'uman remains," laughs Fred, the mischievous glint in his old eyes reflected in the cold steel of the blade in his hand. "Haha," he adds.
Fred invites us to take home an egg each, which we gratefully do, and my son and I cook them that very night for our dinner, once he has finally stopped crying. They are delicious! It is truly a wonderful reminder of our Grand Creator's wisdom that even an aborted chicken foetus can serve as nourishing and, yes, tasty food for us, his human servants!
So next time your child asks you where eggs come from, don't just tell him it came out of a bird's arse, tell him about the amazing journey it has experienced to find its way into your home and, indeed, all of our hearts.