Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Egg Salad Paradox

I run into the same problem every time I try to make egg salad. Let me first say that I love egg salad. I’ve never ordered an egg salad sandwich, egg salad wrap, or egg salad salad and regretted it. Eggs are tasty, versatile, and filling. The “salad” part makes it sound healthy while actually just adding mayonnaise. Other than the smell, there’s really no downside.

Except for one teeny, tiny, crippling neurosis.

Eggs are great in part because they go with so many things. Steak and eggs, bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, eggy-in-the-basket, eggs on toast, eggs benedict, eggs with cheese, eggs with veggies, five bagillion kinds of omlettes, eggs with hot sauce. They make cakes and cookies and custards. They even go in drinks like egg nog or Rocky’s power-protein shakes. Pretty much the only thing they don’t go with is chicken, which kind of makes sense since that would be like chicken-wrapped chicken. Even for a dedicated consumer of animal flesh, it seems a bit much to eat the baby and its mother at the same time, in the same dish.

Because of the versatility of eggs, every time I plan an egg salad feels like a wild adventure. Will I use red onion or green? Will there be garlic or pickle relish in the mix? Mayonnaise or salad dressing? Which of the dozen or so mustards in my fridge will make the cut? Will I top it off with some subtle spices or go crazy with the hot sauce? What wild card ingredient will get thrown in at the last second?

Every concoction is unique, enticing, and unerringly delicious, and yet, when the preparation is complete and the time for consumption at hand, something stops my fork and seals my lips tight. My entire body becomes physically incapable of ingesting eggs in any form whatsoever. It’s like some mental switch, moments ago set to “If you don’t give me egg salad right now, I will murder your family,” is now set to “If I so much as look at an egg, I will lie down on the floor and vomit until I die.”

For a long time, I assumed this was happening because my egg salads went horribly wrong at the last minute somehow. That isn’t the case, though, because if I wait a day or two before eating it, after my anti-egg psychosis has faded, I discover that what I made is in fact incredibly delicious. The problem, though, aside from having to find something else to eat after my brain decides eggs are unacceptable, is that egg salad keeps for about 3 days. If my egg madness sticks around for 3 or 4 days, I’m out 3 or so perfectly good meals.

I don’t really expect anyone to find this story interesting, but I haven’t written in a while so I can’t afford to be picky here. Also I figured there’s some chance that I’m suffering from some documented egg-phobia condition. Maybe someone else has had this problem and can point me to some support groups or “How to Eat Eggs” self-help books. Or maybe Plato was right: maybe you can only desire a thing when you haven’t attained it yet.

At least when that thing is egg salad.

Love and sulfur-scented kisses,

S. Misanthrope

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