Up until that moment, my only goal in life was to see Disneyland. The sole point of my existence was to visit Disneyland. I lived to grow up and get a job and make money so that I can travel to Disneyland. Never had I assumed that farm is waaaaaaay better. The farm was magnificent! The farm changed my four year old universe forever. Not only that I petted a cow, I got to milk one! I took care of her little foal and played with him in the grass, and then I got to be his godmother! We staged a full-blown baptism ceremony and I named him Misha. I climbed a wooden leader to the top of a haystack and then, there I was, standing on top of the world! In the silo, I dived into the piles of grains. When I got tired, I fell asleep in the barn. I helped make cheese, collected eggs and ran after chicken. And at the end of the visit, I even got to take one home -- a very real and very newborn, tiny, silky, yellow ball of puffiness.
We named him The Little Prince.
The Little Prince wore a pink ribbon and happily jumped around the apartment for a couple of days until my parents had enough of my pet, and relocated him to my grandparents. To please their only grandchild, Grandma and Grandpa, bless their souls, took a loving care of The Little Prince for a while, until, well, until the word had spread and the neighbors started to complain, and gossip, and wave their heads in disbelief when we took The Little Prince for a walk on his pink leash... And that is how my first (and only) pet went back to the farm.
Every Sunday night, on his way back from the farm, Vuchko would stop by for a dinner at our house and brought me an egg and a rose. “A gift from The Little Prince,” he would say. “He made and egg specially for you, and he sends you his love and kisses with the rose.” I beamed. Mom would heat a spoon of lard, the kind of lard we don’t get to find anymore, and made me a perfect sunny side up, a big round and orange sunny side up, the yolk in the color of the rising sun and the taste from another world. The kind of egg we do not get to find anymore.
My brief friendship with The Little Prince is probably the only reason I became a model child, and continued to be one for a good couple of years, because every time I was into mischief, my parents would say, “be careful, if you do not behave, we will eat The Little Prince for lunch.”
Perhaps, that could help explain my dislike of chicken meat.
And my love of eggs.
Someone once said that the present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell. Eggs are time travel. Sometimes I wait for a year to go back home, and go to the market, and find the lady who sells the eggs in the color of the rising sun. Sometimes she brings only a dozen, and you got to be very early and very lucky. That egg tastes like nothing else before, and nothing else after. That egg has not seen anything else but grassy pastures and organic corn and the stack of hey where it slept, nothing but clean soil and clean food and honest, hard working farmers... These eggs are worthy of Easter and worthy of twelve layer Austro Hungarian cakes my grandmother liked to make. And when you boil one and open it up, and cut it out and smash it, the taste of it unravels itself, like a dream, like the past, present and future written on a palm of a hand.
Perhaps that is why, come Easter, I scratch my head in bafflement over how much attention we pay to every single aspect of the Easter table -- the pastels, the bonbons, the cupcakes, the lamb and spring onions, the ham and carrot cake -- every single thing but egg!
Isn’t the egg the whole point of Easter?
Isn’t the egg the best part of it?
Boiled Egg with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
* one or two boiled organic eggs
* a drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar
* a drizzle of good olive oil
* a sprinkle of Maldon or Fleur de Sel
Take a plate. Drizle it with olive oil and balsamic. You really want some good balsamic here, it does make a difference. Ditto with the olive oil.
Cut the egg into quarters and place it on the plate. Sprinkle the egg with salt.
Take the fork, smash the egg with it and mix it with the oil and vinegar. Take a bite. Close your eyes. Enjoy.