Thursday, September 18, 2008

Broken eggs

My newest goal: Bringing eggs home (in a clear plastic bag) from the wet market a mile away without breaking a single egg.

I manage to break an egg every single time, whether I walk or use my bike.
I buy my fruits and vegetables at this market of little booths--including one egg booth, so I have a pretty decent load to carry. I always put the eggs on top.

We don't own a car and won't buy one while we are living in China. (Lots of reasons for this.)
So we walk or use the bus or taxis. (I could take a taxi home--it would only cost $1, but it really isn't far.)

Maybe I should order one of those backpacking plastic eggholders.

Eggs and how I buy them.

I choose out eggs from a good sized crate full of eggs. I choose from the crate of normal chicken eggs. Then I hold them over a light--Hm--explaining time here. There is a flat horizontal board in the front of the egg booth (at first I assumed it was part of the structure of the tilted table) and egg sized holes are cut out. I flip a switch, turn on a light bulb and check each egg--I'm not sure for what I'm checking and perhaps I don't want to know, but I see other people doing this and I assume if it looks wrong on the inside, it is a bad egg. (I wonder if I'll see (recognize) a bad egg while I'm here)
I place each egg in a plastic netted basket-about 8 inches in diameter. After I hand the plastic basket to the lady, she gently places the egg in a thin bag--like the ones in the veggie section at the store and weighs them. I look at the scale to see how much it costs, because even though I can count in Chinese, it can be hard to understand what they are saying. And I pay. It costs about $1 for 8 eggs.

After I get home, and throw away the egg I broke, I wash the eggs--I always suds them up before I put them away--because, well trust me, they need to be washed.

Trivia--eggs are not refrigerated in most countries.

Today has the worst pollution I've seen here so far. The high humidity makes the large particulates extremely visible: brown-gray, essence of fog, visibility --about 200 meters because I can see (through the haze) the neighboring building and can (kind of) see a silhouette of a skycraper across the way. My eyes feel gritty just biking to and from the market.

It is intriguing how our diet changes so much from one country to the next. In Iceland eggs were extremely expensive and it was a special treat if I made scrambled eggs. (Powdered eggs from the states were cheaper than fresh eggs.) Here, eggs are one of the cheapest food products available.


Melinda said...

Be sure and let us know if you actually see something when you hold the egg up to light. --I don't know, like a frog or a face staring back or something... Hey, you never know. :-)

And eggs are a good protein source that can help you to stay away from the meat market. (I just got the willies from thinking about that.)

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how even things like buying eggs are such an adventure in another country :) It's nice of you to share these details (and live them) so the rest of us don't have to, hehe.

Anonymous said...

Eggs were kind of like that in Chile (minus holding them up to the light). Eggs are refrigerated in Germany, but they also aren't washed, so you always have to wash off the feathers and um, other products before cracking them.

Sarah Blake Johnson said...

Melinda--I hope to never see anything unusual inside an egg. Would you really, really want to know if I did?

Robin--almost every aspect of daily life is an adventure here!

Olmue--Most places that sell eggs don't have lights. I refrigerate my eggs after I get home. It is an interesting concept--that eggs don't require refrigeration, but I bet they don't have a very good shelf life in this 90 degree heat.

Kelly said...

I think the light is to see if the egg has a chicken embryo in it...I hatched chicks about 14 years ago and I think it is called egg candling!
Good luck bringing home your eggs intact! Interesting reading!