Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hard Boiled

April 7

Thursday I hard boiled eight eggs. Yesterday I dyed them.

Don't ask me why; I suppose the only answer is that old habits die hard. Hard boiled eggs certainly do. The weather has been beautiful; Easter is upon us; I was in the mood to create some Easter eggs. Now, without any grandchildren in the immediate neighborhood, what am I to do with them?

When I lived in Geneva, I was the head honcho of an American theatre company that was frequently seeking out bars to quench the thirst worked up by our frenzied rehearsals. During Easter season, these bars had little bowls of dyed eggs where in the States we would have found peanuts. Aside from this inventive use, what do I do with eight boiled eggs after Easter has come and gone?

Everybody knows egg salad. This I make in a very traditional way, with a bit of mayonnaise, mustard, and dill pickle relish. Luckily I love it, and the remains of my Easter bounty will find themselves there. Also, I have a ham which I will prepare today and eat all weekend. And I have the breast meat of one of those roast chickens now ubiquitous in every supermarket. Ham salad and chicken salad are greatly enhanced with chopped hard boiled egg. The basic recipe is always the same, some chopped celery, perhaps bell pepper, pimento-stuffed olives, chopped parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, and the meat of choice. When there is one on hand, as there is now, in goes the hard boiled egg. I could even simply add the egg salad.

The other recipe that belongs in this bunch is potato salad, essentially identical to the above, with the addition of more salt. In Geneva I used to blow the Americans away by producing this potato salad, while the locals made a lovely French pommes a l'huile which is simply potatoes to which a little chicken stock, a dash of vinegar, a few chopped scallions and parsley, and a generous splash of good olive oil is added while still warm. Americans went wild over my mayonnaise-y salad when I was in Geneva. In this country I serve the French style which has the advantage of being the only such on the table.

I don't worry that my hard boiled eggs may go to waste. In the meantime, there they sit on on the kitchen counter in their pastel, springlike glory, looking for all the world as if they were laid by a rabbit.

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