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June 15, 2007

Hot Buttons by the Dozen

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

When Nancy and I go grocery shopping she pushes the cart and looks for items for which she has definite criteria in mind. Me, I zip around the store shagging stuff I need or that she sends me off to fetch, returning to the cart periodically to unload my stash.

This morning she dispatched me to get a dozen eggs. When I got to the dairy section I was confronted with so many alternatives that it took me a couple of minutes to find what I wanted -- a box of 12 plain ol' white eggs.

Not very many years ago the selection might have been brown versus white, and then the white eggs by size. No longer.

I could get eggs packaged in groups of 18 or 24, besides the standard dozen. Stores catering to single-person households sometimes sell packages of only six eggs.

What snagged my attention were eco-variations. For instance:

  • Organic eggs
  • Eggs from vegetarian-fed chickens
  • No hormones eggs
  • Eggs from cage-free chickens
  • Eggs from "free-range" chickens (same thing?)

As a market-loving capitalist tool, I can't complain much about such product extensions. But I was amused, once I got over the annoyance of looking for what I wanted. Which I found, by the way, on the bottom shelf: the "green" eggs were at eye-level, as one might expect at a store serving a university community.



posted by Donald at June 15, 2007


Free range chickens are kept in cages in large henhouses. The difference between them and regular chickens is that the cages are not completely enclosed, and there are open passages from the henhouses to the surrounding yards. Given their nature, the chickens remain in their cages most of the time and seldom venture outdoors. It's still more humane than the normal version, however, but not quite as humane as cage-free.

Posted by: Peter on June 15, 2007 1:54 PM

Wading through today's choices can take some real time.

And then there are the egg cartons that flaunt the amount of EPAs (I think it is) their eggs contain. As though I know how much EPA the usual egg contains ...

A thing that struck me the other day was with soy milks. Did you know that most soy milk has quite a lot of sweetener in it? You might imagine that'd be the case when you buy vanilla or chocolate soy milk. But even soy milk that's labeled "plain" has a lot of sweetener in it. To get soy milk w/o sweeteners you have to look for packages labeled explicitly "unsweetened."

There was a juice-labeling thing that struck me the other day, what was it ...? Hmm. Something was labeled "natural" but it turned out not to have much of the ingredient it seemed to be selling. Hmm. Well, if it comes back to me I'll do another comment...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 15, 2007 2:15 PM

You should have bought green eggs for a Dr. Seuss special: green eggs and ham!

Posted by: Reid Farmer on June 15, 2007 5:47 PM

What, no quail eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs? Duck eggs, in my experience, go well with ostrich burgers.

Posted by: dearieme on June 15, 2007 6:02 PM

Why can't they make an ostrich burger without f-f-f-feathers?

Posted by: ricpic on June 15, 2007 7:53 PM

Out here in Wisconsin, you get all those choices plus the local vs nonlocal choice. And then do you take the ones in the nonrecyclable cartons or the ones in the pressboard ones?

Personally, I stop at the little local market and buy the farm fresh eggs--the yolks are bright orange and stand up tall.

And for milk choices, it is the dairy state, you can go local organic, local pasture fed non-homogenized in a returnable glass bottle, non-organic in plastic or organic in plastic but from another part of the country.

I take the local in a glass bottle option since it tastes so much better than any milk I've drunk since I was a kid it's absolutely amazing.
I can't decide if it's the milk from grass fed cows or the glass bottle that makes the difference.

It gets confusing sometimes.

Posted by: Deb on June 16, 2007 12:25 PM

None of that confusion here, I just go to the egg lady at the market and point, It is cheaper if you buy the eggs loose. She also sells duck eggs, quail eggs and some that I don't recognise.
The lady across from my house sells fertilised eggs. The ones with fully formed chickens inside are delicious.

Posted by: Dirk Thruster on June 16, 2007 8:46 PM

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