I'm in a cranky mood, because it's hot and work doesn't give me much time to do the things I like (like blog about food), so I'm going to blast this NYTimes Blog Post, Do Backyard Chickens Lay Run-of-the-Mill Eggs, and the accompanying stupid Washington Post article it refers to: Backyard Eggs vs Store-bought: They Taste the Same.
I find it absolutely bizarre and insultingly stupid that the question that the authors are asking is: does the environment in which the chickens are raised affect the taste of their eggs?
That is like asking: does the size of my kitchen affect the taste of cookies I bake?
The more pressing questions are more: what are you feeding the chickens and how are you measuring their health? (What ingredients are you putting into the cookies and what are the steps in your recipe?)
And yes, I recognize the moral aspect of wanting to treat chickens more humanely; hell, I buy cage-free eggs when I can. But the above articles just seem to confuse the issues. Buy cage-free eggs, because you feel it is ethically right to treat chickens decently. They may also very well taste better, because the farmers may have put more care into how they feed the chickens and how healthy they are keeping the chickens.
But to buy cage-free eggs purely because they taste better, well, that just misses the point.