Some weeks I’ll buy eggs from ranges so free that have no fences at all and cheerful hens volunteer their produce to gentle PETA workers wearing elf costumes. Other weeks I’ll select a carton from Buchenwald Farms, where caged and dewinged birds are nailed down as steroid-boosted eggs are extracted via their beaks. It’s all a question of balance.
But until this week I’d never seen egg packaging featuring the words “cage farm” plus a smiley face, thereby combining free range happiness with the misery of imprisonment. Naturally, I bought a half-dozen. It was only when I got home that I discovered a smiley face on each and every egg.
(Note: That handy kitchen golliwog securing the demonstration egg I think adds an edgy, Tate Modern quality to my little tableau. He may reappear in future works.)
UPDATE. Eliot R. emails: “I got some of these eggs this week, too. Freaky when you boil them a few at a time and they keep smiling up at you out of the saucepan of bubbling, boiling water. The smiley face seems pretty well indelible.”