Great egg debate would have your head scrambled

Layers upon layers – should you store eggs in the fridge or not?

TO REFRIGERATE or not to refrigerate, that is the question. A hen's egg is a delicate and delicious thing and should be handled with care and stored correctly to get the best possible flavour and nutrition. So most of us keep them in the special little compartment in the fridge designed to hold them safe and well.

Except, it might be safe but is it well? To answer the question I got in touch with some producers

The first one, in Co Tyrone, was slightly dismissive of my question. In the fridge, the young woman told me. I queried this, saying that there is an opinion that room temperature is better. But no, she insisted the fridge was best, especially in warm weather.

I tried three more producers by phone in the early afternoon but there was no reply.

Then I contacted Grange Farm Greenacres in Dungannon and this time I hit the jackpot – George put me right. Immediately he saids: “Not in a fridge. It's not natural and they'll get watery. Store them in a cool dry place and, provided they aren't cracked, they'll keep fresh for three to four weeks.”

Question answered by an expert whose family has been in the business since 1987 when they began trading in eggs. Since then the farm has developed to include a huge range of local products – beef, pork, vegetables, seafood and potatoes but still, with 112,000 hens on the go, laying every day, eggs are a major part of the business.

George went on to tell me some more about eggs: the older the hen the thinner the shell; a double yoke is more often found in young layers, called pullets, usually less than one year old.

There are stringent Northern Ireland and EC regulations enforced by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and as part of these George and his colleagues inspect every single egg laid, shining a high light through into the yoke making sure there are no flaws or imperfections in these little miracles.


Dear Anne,

There's an ad on television at the moment about being happy as Larry.

Who is Larry?

Tom B.

Way back and far away there was an Australian boxer called Larry Foley, a very successful prizefighter who won all his fights and retired at the early age of 32. After his final, well-publicised fight, he walked off with prize money of £1,000, a tidy sum in the late 1870s. As someone was reported to say, “I wish I was as happy as Larry,” and it stuck: from then on being happy as Larry meant being mega happy.


THERE were only six of us in the picture house. All women. Two left after about an hour, four stayed on in hope. Eventually we left together and agreed Absolutely Fabulous was anything but. What a dreadful film, unpleasant and boring. Some critics were lukewarm about it, some reflected my feeling:

:: The film, like its subjects, is chaotic, frequently lazy and unhealthily obsessed with celebrity.

:: To transform a TV series into a film is to surround yourself with pitfalls, and Absolutely Fabulous, sad to report, nosedives into every one of them.

:: A nostalgic trip down memory lane is all this underwhelming comedy has to survive off, as if you're after an original, consistently funny piece of contemporary film-making, you'll be left wanting. The script and story keep collapsing like the heroines.

It's a shame that a load of ‘celebrities' are shipped off to the south of France to prance around playing out a silly script. A lot of lycra and Champagne, a fair nod to drug taking and cross-dressing. Had it been witty I could have accepted it, had I been years younger, perhaps – although the two women who left I guess were in their twenties.

It fascinates me how one person can totally dislike something like a film yet another can love it – controversy is stimulating and keeps the art world fresh and vibrant.

There's one thing for sure, there's going to be stimulating entertainment nearer to home next week when Leesa Harker unleashes Maggie Muff on an unsuspecting public next Thursday night in the Opera House.

Interesting that actor Caroline Curran was rehearsing in Maggie's lycra leggings last week but she was rapidly coming to the boil in the heatwave and an urgent search party had to go into Belfast and source cotton tights! Somehow I can't see Maggie in Long Johns!


THERE'S a justifiable outcry about the state of our towns and cities, how people are drifting away from traditional shops in the high street, even the out-of-town centres aren't attracting the same number of shoppers these days.

Why? I guess on line shopping has to stand up and take a bow. Example, last week – I love the CD of Princess Diana's funeral service, the music is magnificent but my only copy started hiccuping in the middle of Elton John singing Candle in the Wind! So, rather than haul myself round town looking for a replacement, I went onto the internet, found a copy on Amazon, paid my £3.27 and it arrived in three days.

Flushed by success, I found what I was looking for again on Amazon; I ordered the DVD Shakespeare Live on Tuesday, it arrived Thursday; I was loaned a book, Healing Back Pain, but hadn't finished it by the time I had to return it so I went into my Kindle library and there it was and for £3.99 – I downloaded it in seconds.

Perhaps the most impressive was the new vacuum cleaner ordered on Tuesday at 11am and delivered on Wednesday at 10.30am. How could any high street compete with that?

But having said that, our local small shops must be supported – the likes of newsagent's, greengrocer's, butcher's and baker's are worth their weight in gold.


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