Day 12 006


I was 54 years old when I got my first chicken. That was earlier this year.

Day 12 006But it was just this week that I first got to see my chicken. And so, when Suzy and I finally arrived in Umbria from our two weeks in southern Italy, the first thing I did was have Marco take me to the coop. This fenced-in structure had remained empty and out of the way since we bought our farmhouse six years ago. When I opened the gate and stepped inside at first I saw nothing. Then Marco pointed to the small chamber on the left and there it was. My chicken. And in the next space was the rooster, without whom the daily egg from my chicken would not be possible. I was a farmer at last, if only of the gentleman variety.

Back inside the house, in the kitchen Suzy was doing an arrival inspection, surveying the situation and taking stock of what was provisions had been laid on when she noticed on the wooden table where breakfast is normally laid out a single light brown egg. It was the day’s gift from our chicken. A natural, almost automatic occurrence that happens millions of times a day around the world. But for us, a first, almost magical experience.

Day 12 008The next day, at lunchtime, I visited our foul weather friends and found another offering. I carefully carried it back to the kitchen where Suzy was busy chopping veggies and filling a pot with water. We were going to make spaghetti carbonara with our two fresh eggs.

I cracked the first and it spilled out into the bowl just like the countless store bought eggs I had cracked before had done. But this one was different. It had passed through no hands before it arrived in the bowl. And I was able to look in the eye of our chicken before absconding Day 12 005with her handiwork, and say thank you.

I cracked the second egg (still nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about this extraordinary oval) and beat it into a smooth mixture. Suzy, meanwhile had boiled and drained the pasta and had put it in the pan with the sauce and now mixed in the egg.

Day 12 004

Day 12 003We sat outside by the pool under one of the two gazebos, acclimating to and reacquainting ourselves with Umbria, our home which for the previous two weeks seemed so tantalizingly close, yet a world away from the frenetic pace of Naples and Capri, and the sun splashed shimmering light of Ischia and Vietri sul Mare. Lifting up a first forkful of pasta, coated in a creamy sauce of fresh egg – our egg – announced to us that we had indeed arrived home. A home that, with the addition of our chicken, will never be the same as it was before. Not the same. Better.

Since that first lunch I have reflected, which did come first? The chicken or the egg? And now the answer has become obvious. When you have both – the chicken and the egg – you have the entire cycle that nature intended. And when you have both, the order doesn’t matter.

Ci vediamo!
Bill and Suzy

The Real Chicken or Egg Question Read more

I was 54 years old when I got my first chicken. That was earlier this year. But it was just this week that ...

About The Author

Bill Menard is a recovering attorney who left private practice in Washington, DC over a decade ago to pursue his. See more post by this author

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