World Chefs: Backyard chickens inspire new cookbook

Tue May 8, 2012 5:03am EDT
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By Robin Respaut

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Years ago, Jennifer Trainer Thompson and her family started raising chickens in their backyard in western Massachusetts. A coop and a small flock later, they had more fresh eggs than they needed.

Thompson started inventing ways to feed her family eggs without boring them which led to "The Fresh Egg Cookbook," a collection of recipes using backyard or locally farmed eggs.

Not only does she provide advice for poaching eggs, baking them inside meringue pies and tossing them in salad dressings and smoothies, Thompson also offers personal stories from her own backyard.

Among the cookbook's photographs and recipes, Thompson describes her nervousness when she picked up two-day-old chicks at her post office, her son's escapades selling extra eggs to neighbors, and even the quirky personalities of her hens.

She spoke to Reuters about fresh eggs, raising chickens and presenting a dozen brown, blue and green speckled eggs to dinner party hosts instead of a bottle of a wine.

"People just love them," she said.

Q: Using fresh eggs, you were able to revive some old recipes featuring raw eggs. What's the appeal?

A: "Raw eggs certainly allow you to resurrect old recipes. For Easter this year, we had real Hollandaise sauce over roasted asparagus. It was delicious. In the 60s and 70s restaurants tossed up a Caesar salad on the table and threw a raw egg into the dressing. Now, you rarely get anchovies in Caesar dressing, and you certainly don't get a raw egg. It's just a different taste entirely."   Continued...