Living anywhere new inevitably leads to discoveries and recognition that the world is larger and more interesting than you might have thought,
As mentioned, I'm here in Switzerland for four months. Even though I've been here before many times, the extended time period of living in one distinctly different place is proving to be eye-opening.
But as a person who's relatively new to life in Zürich, I've found a few things that are charming and puzzling at the same time. Can you help me figure out what's going on in each of these cases?
1. Why are these eggs colored orange/yellow? I bought them in the local grocery store where they were sitting out on the shelf, unrefrigerated. The label on the container says Schweizer Eier (Swiss eggs). I've seen many different colored eggs from friends who have chickens (blue, green, brown, some with spots), still, this is extraordinary color. But what's the story here? What kind of chicken would produce these eggs?
|Photo by Justin Pius, NRCS|
So I was prepared to think that maybe Swiss chickens are simply more colorful!
2. While on a hike in the Alps (near Rigi Scheidegg, if that helps), I came across this flag--and I have no idea what kind of a flag this is. What does it represent? (It might help to know that the Swiss are a little flag-crazy. There is traditional Swiss flag-tossing (a kind of bucolic, even serene sport... watch the video), and flags seem to abound. Given the level of vexillological interest here, it must signify something, but what?
I even made a fairly high-resolution image of the flag and tried to Google Lens (and Bing, and Tineye) this:
- a car company, Autoclover:
Which is the closest Swiss 4-lobed clover-like bit of iconography I can find. (Later I went back and looked deeper in my search-by-image results and found the Swisslos logo. Always go deeper.)
3. I've seen some interesting vegetables before in farmer's markets before, but this one seems very Seussian to me. What ARE these things? How would I eat one?
This one was easy: looks like a weird cabbage, smells like a cabbage, so my query was:
[ cone shaped cabbage ]
Which rapidly told me that this cabbage has a number of names: conehead, pointed, arrowhead, and sweetheart cabbage. It's described as having "... leaves, with variations of pea green colorings, are thin, broad, deeply veined, tightly enveloped lengthwise and bluntly pointed. The flavor of Conehead cabbage is mild and remarkably sweet, void of that bold cruciferous flavor that is most reminiscent of cabbage."
Naturally, I bought one for research purposes and ate it for most of the week. It is, indeed, sweetly flavored and is a lovely thing to have on your plate. (I just sautéed/steamed mine with a little olive oil, garlic, and salt. Yum!)
1. Mind your assumptions! In the colored egg Challenge I had assumed that the eggs in question were naturally colored like that. I was prepared to learn that Swiss chickens are some interesting breed that lay technicolor eggs. It took me a while to undo that assumption and figure out that they're dyed eggs.
2. Even unreliable sources can be useful. I found that Reddit post about hard-boiled Swiss eggs to crack the case (so to speak), but I know that Reddit can be unreliable. So when I checked, I was pleased to find MANY sources confirming that colored eggs are hardboiled, just like this detective.
3. Read the fine print. I skipped the fine print on the package partly because it was small and partly because it was in German, and while I can read lots of German, I didn't know what Aus Freilandhaltung meant, so I stopped reading. FWIW, I know what gekocht and gefärbt mean... but I'd stopped reading too early.
4. Some Challenges don't come easily. The identity of the flag has not yet been cracked! It's an open case. Sometimes, that's the way it goes.