Lately, we've discovered duck eggs. Never many at a time, just a few here and there mixed in with our meat CSA egg orders. I love them! Their wonderfully flavored, beautiful yolks, and slightly different qualities than regular chicken eggs. In baked goods, they easily rise half again (or more) compared to chicken eggs. They're also a bit bigger than our usual, but our usual eggs are only about a medium/large size according the standards. Duck eggs are easily extra large. Just cooking eggs bring a while new dimension of flavor to omelets and scrambled eggs (although I'll admit, fried chicken eggs are better than fried duck eggs). They stand out front and center nicely.
It doesn't seem like there should be much of a difference, comparing chicken and duck eggs, especially when talking about regular old domesticated things. Farmers have most likely been selecting for similar traits in both birds- size and number of eggs, health as adults, low fragility of egg shells, etc. But the end-products are worlds apart. I would assume that it's the little details- little as in actual size. I don't think there can be many "big" details in an egg of any size, except maybe ostrich eggs. Differences in the presence or absence of chemicals, the proportions of the chemicals that are in the egg, that sort of thing. Whatever the reason, I think I've found a new tool in my cookbook.
So what do duck eggs have to do with anything other than culinary matters? Well, I at least think it serves as a great reminder that even given fairly similar products- even the same packaging- the source matters. Whether that new T-shirt comes from a local thrift store, an organic manufacturer in the US, or a national brand made in China and sold in a big-box store, the source of two very comparable products can be night and day difference. I've heard a lot of talk lately (like this story, on our local NPR last week) about fair trade, local, and organic products. The discussion is typically framed as "Is it worth it?" or "Is it a good value?" or "Can you afford this?" and I get that those are important in our current economy. But please understand, whoever might be reading this, that in times like this it's especially important to stand up for our principles. In the case of fair trade, it's a human rights issue. Why do US workers deserve to make a fair wage, if our brethren in China, Malaysia, or El Salvador don't? Why do we deserve to feed our families more than workers in developing countries? In the case of local products, why shouldn't we band together to keep more of our dollars in our community instead of in multi-nation profit margins? Why shouldn't we help our neighbor keep their shop or farm going instead of keeping stocks high? And in the case of organics, why shouldn't we reward companies with similar beliefs to ours? Why shouldn't we support transparency instead of obfuscation?
These things matter. We matter. ALL people matter. And if we decide now that our pocket books are more important than helping our fellow humans, then we really don't deserve all the gains we've made thus far. If we can't see the forest for the trees, we don't deserve any of the products from either. It's when push comes to shove that our principles are tested, and it's then that it's most crucial that we stand up and be counted.