Jim and I really have very traditional roles around the house. I’m not joking when I say I call him when he’s had a long day to ask which cocktail I can make him before he gets home. And when he gets home I greet him with his drink and, yes, I am usually wearing an apron. I clean the house. He does the yard work. I pack lunches. He takes out the trash. We both cook.
Continuing our tradition of taking it straight back to the 1950s our road trips involve stopping at rest stops. This started as a 'we'reself-employedandthisrecessioniskillingushowtomakeanickelscream' tactic. But it has become something Jim truly enjoys, for the break and the quaintness. We pull over, get the cooler out of the trunk and while the kids are blowing off some steam we set up lunch at the picnic tables. To make it even more Mayberry I wrap the sandwiches in wax paper, Jim loves that gesture. I don’t know why, but I’ll keep doing it. Our picnics usually consist of egg salad sandwiches, crab chips and cookies for everyone but me. It’s always an egg salad sandwich. I poll everyone the night before, I offer alternatives, none are accepted.
Before I started to write this blog I had no idea I felt so strongly about egg salad. But it turns out I have strong convictions on the matter. Much like our kids, it was my favorite sandwich to find in my lunchbox. And much like our kids, I didn’t care if it smelled like a toot, it tasted like perfection. I remember one time some mean little girl at school teased me about it in the truly evicerating way that only little kids can. She shamed me by telling me how awful it smelled and how gross it was; how could I eat that? Obviously I would be booger eating level gross and a playground leper if I ate it, duh. Now, I’m extremely sensitive, and I was certainly even more so as a kid. I looked at my sandwich, I really wanted to eat it. But this 8 year old future hen-pecker continuing her rant stood between me and lunchbox (Happy Days lunchbox to be exact) bliss. Luckily someone stood up for me, I wish I could remember who, telling little miss maladjusted third grader to shove it, therefore making it socially acceptable for me to go back to enjoying my lunch.
This particular egg salad sandwich was made by my main care giver, Ms. Mooney. Ms. Mooney was in her 70s, a former nurse and fairly strict. She lived across the street from me in a senior citizen apartment building. She made my lunches (and my dinners) and she made the world’s best egg salad. Now, I’ve screwed around in the past putting different things in my egg salad like Old Bay, dill or celery but the reality is I am a purist and I like my egg salad like Ms. Mooney used to make it for me. It should simply be: eggs, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper mashed up with a fork to a nice chunky consistency. I also feel adamant that egg salad should be served on white bread with crispy lettuce and ripe tomato, no onion, no pickle. And I feel very strongly about this. Another little trick I use when assembling any type ‘salad’ sandwich is to spread the salad, in this case the egg salad, on both pieces of bread, place the lettuce and tomato in the center, this way the egg salad acts like glue firmly holding the vegetables in place.
Egg salad feels as retro your grandparents living room. Why is that? I don't know, but when I eat it I can taste the 1940s. So that’s right, I’m giving you a sandwich recipe. But haven’t you missed it?
Egg Salad - Serves 2
5 extra large eggs
5 tablespoons of mayonnaise
5 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Place the eggs in a pot and fill with water until they are covered by an inch. Heat the eggs to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat and leave the eggs in the hot water, covered for 13 minutes. Remove and plunge the eggs in to an ice bath for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs. Place them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and using a dinner fork, mash and mix to a chunky consistency. Serve on white bread with lettuce and tomato.