Chickens & Violins

In 2007, concert violinist Joshua Bell played several Bach pieces on a multi-million dollar violin to disinterested passerby at the DC Metro in the United States. The event was part of a social experiment conducted by The Washington Post and was documented in Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer Prize-winning article, “Pearls Before Breakfast.”

If Bell’s playing was the unnoticed pearl, this would’ve most certainly been the breakfast. Simple, overlooked, had a million times before yet never quite like this. Given my usual breakfast experiences, it would be hard not to be impressed, but I still insist it was better than the ordinary (well-cooked) fare.

The breakfast was part of a bread baking workshop weekend I attended at Boschendal, a wine estate that found its start more than than 300 years ago.

In 1685 King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, leading to the persecution of Protestants in France. A fleeing, Huguenot family founded Boschendal in the Drakenstein area, which eventually settled into the multipurpose farm and cozy vacation spot it is today, with cute cottages named after fruit.

My cottage for the weekend had a rather promiscuous-looking pear hanging above the fireplace. It reminded me a lot of Man Ray’s famous photograph, Le Violon d’Ingres, so it seemed violins were turning into the theme for the weekend.

Their rooster also seemed to have caught the musical motif; he stood at the Deli’s door and crowed for a solid five minutes during breakfast. I didn’t mind it much. They say the writer Laura Ingalls Wilder got her start as a poultry columnist. Perhaps chickens have good book vibes. They most certainly had good eggs.