While I am loathe to admit it, I inherited the procrastination habit from my dad. I dawdled too long and missed Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2) and National Agriculture Day (March 24). You may be wondering how these two events go together, but I assure you they do!
Reading “Green Eggs and Ham” is a great way to celebrate the beloved author’s birthday and understand the role of agriculture in our lives. Many of us are sheltering in place as recommended by Gov. DeWine, so why not add some excitement to your day by reading this classic book and whipping up an egg and ham dish (while solving the what-to-have-for-dinner conundrum)?
Ohio ranks seventh highest in the U.S. in population, but the food and agriculture industry is still the largest industry in the state. One out of every eight Ohioans has a job involving agriculture! Spread over 14 million acres, Ohio’s 75,462 farms range from small hobby farms to large family farms, all contributing to the Buckeye State’s economy. Eggs and ham are a few of the pillars of our agricultural strength.
When it comes to eggs, Ohio is one of the top 10 states for egg production, and one laying hen produces anywhere from 250 to 300 eggs each year. Whether you like them hard-boiled, scrambled, sunny-side up, or in omelets or frittatas, one large egg is full of protein and packed with 13 essential vitamins and minerals, all for 70 calories. Can Dr. Seuss’ Sam-I-Am convince you, and your family members, that green eggs are a savory delicacy? A pinch of blue food coloring will do the trick. Or you can try accessorizing your eggs by slipping in some green items (also known as vegetables). Chopped green onions, broccoli, and spinach are delicious additions. Other green accents include herbs such as parsley, basil, and oregano.
In the book, Dr. Seuss’ Sam continually brandishes his platter while cajoling his unnamed rival to try his green eggs and ham. Believe it or not, pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, and Ohio farmers produce 997 million pounds of pork annually. A female hog averages about 10 to 11 pigs per litter. Ham typically refers to meat from the hind leg that has been cured and is often smoked, but pork is available as chops, ribs, roasts, sausage, bacon, and more.
Making green ham, to go with your green eggs, is as simple as swishing the deli sliced ham in a dish with some green food coloring, then flipping it to get the other side equally as green. Or if you wish to warm up a ham steak in a frying pan, you can give a squirt of green then.
For those of you home with kids, cooking engages them in reading, science, math, social studies, and art, and if you make it fun, they will never know. If Sam is unable to convince you and yours to try green eggs and ham in honor of Dr. Seuss, here are some websites to spark your culinary creativity to commemorate National Ag Day:
• American Egg Board at Incredibleegg.org
• Ohio Department of Agriculture at Growing-Ohio.com
• Ohio-made and grown products at OhioProud.org
• National Pork Board at pork.org
Stay safe, and we encourage you to visit our website and Facebook page for the latest news in conservation.
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to https://soilandwater.co.delaware.oh.us/.