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22 May 2008

would you like some Tang with that?

egg salad with chive blossoms

The longer I am pregnant, the more immediate my food needs become.

If you have been reading this site for awhile, you know that I love playing with new flavors, tasting new foods, throwing ingredients together and inventing something that I have never made before. For the first year after I lived gluten-free, innovation was my constant watchword.

But after awhile, you slow down. And especially now, when my belly protrudes before me and strangers smile on the street, I just want to eat.

As I write, I can hear the roast chicken with lemon sizzling in the oven, the smell of the browning skin wafting toward me. Before I leave the house to pick up the Chef at the end of the night to celebrate (a four-day weekend begins this evening!), I'll throw some jasmine rice, a little lemongrass, kosher salt, and butter into the rice cooker. Roast chicken and rice is what we're having for dinner. And in bed, at nearly midnight, I know this food will taste damned good.

Of course, each day I still want something different, as simple as it might be. A handful of pistachios, some Pyrenees goat cheese with green peppercorns, pickled sea beans, five strawberries dipped in vanilla sugar -- each of these has been a snack this week. I want to give Little Bean as much variety as I can. (Did you know that little ones can start tasting the food that mothers eat in the seventh month? The amniotic fluid changes its flavor according to what I eat. Now there's a lovely responsibility -- giving Little Bean the start of a palate with the mouthfuls I choose.) I certainly haven't fallen into a rut.

However, the other day, a deep, old craving came over me. I needed an egg salad sandwich.

The summer I turned sixteen, I literally ate an egg salad sandwich for lunch every day. You may think I'm exaggerating, and perhaps I am. There might have been a tuna fish sandwich once in a while. But I remember a wooden table in a cool house -- the only respite from the pounding heat outside -- with a plate. A white-bread sandwich plump with thick-cut egg salad and a mound of wine-dark bing cherries. Alongside it, a glass of cold white milk. Between swimming sessions and time in my room reading books, this egg salad sandwich was the still point of my day. And each day, I anticipated the taste, with great elation.

I'm not sure where that single-minded fixation came from. As we were sharing one of these sandwiches the other day, I asked the Chef, "Why are these so good?"
"Eggs," he said, after a bite. "Eggs are good."
That's certainly true. And I do seem to remember that my brother, that summer, ate a lot of fried eggs and navel oranges. Eggs really are good.

But it had to be more than that. I think it came from Lisa Loopner.

You must remember Lisa Loopner. If you are anywhere near my age, you'll remember Gilda Radner dressed in a blue cardigan sweater, glasses perpetually falling down her nose, and a big wad of hair gathered into a lospided ponytail on the top of her head. She adored Marvin Hamlisch, and often in those sketches in Saturday Night Live, she played "Heart and Soul" with such physical gusto that I worried she would fall off the piano bench. Oh Gilda Radner, you were my hero then, and you still are. So damned funny, and smart. Unafraid to be an assertive creative woman in a boy's world. She, along with Lucille Ball, formed some deep part of me. They are still forming me.

But best of all was the relationship she had with Todd diLamuca, the erstwhile boyfriend who sat on her couch and teased her, the only physical affection between them the noogies he would spring on her. That image -- the two of them awkwardly laughing and snorting, he never kissing her but twisting his fingers into the top of her head -- was pretty much my vision of what my love life would be, back then. I was only eleven when those heyday years of the show appeared, so I didn't know about the backstage shenanigans or the amount of drugs those actors had to have taken to stay awake through it all. Simply, I just watched those two nerdy characters fumble around each other, some real affection shining through, and no hope of ever growing up to be hip. And the reaching-puberty me, with the Albert Brooks hair and the thick glasses, thought, "Well, that's going to be me. Maybe at least I'll find my Todd."

(Sometimes people talk to me about the love story I have with the Chef, and how they wish they had one too. And inside, I'm still thinking, "Don't you know I'm really just Lisa Loopner?")

Whenever I think of egg salad, I think of Lisa Loopner's mother, who always arrived, at some point in the sketch, to say, "Now who would like some egg salad and Tang?"

Lisa Loopner: Oh, egg salad, my favorite!

Mrs. Loopner: Egg salad for everyone! You know, your father - God rest his soul - used to say "Happiness is a Norge full of Tang and egg salad."

I never did develop a taste for Tang. But egg salad? Yes, please.

boiled eggs with cold water

I don't know what led me to think about these characters again, or why it is, late morning the other day, I turned to the Chef and said, "I'm going to go boil some eggs for later." But I knew, without a doubt, that I needed egg salad for lunch.

Here's a funny admission. I've never been entirely sure how to make good hard-boiled eggs. Do you boil then simmer? Boil then turn the water off? 17 minutes? 20? It seems such a rudimentary task that I should have known it by now. But I didn't, until that morning.

"Hey honey, how do you make boiled eggs?"

He didn't even look up from the paper. "Start with cold water, a splash of vinegar, six eggs. Bring it to a boil. Turn it off. Let it sit for 12 minutes. Run cold water over them. You're done."

Damned if he wasn't right. The vinegar helps keep the shells from sticking. (I don't why I hate, so much, the task of picking little particulates of egg shells from the boiled egg I want, but I do.) 12 minutes meant that the eggs were boiled, but not grey. Soon enough, I had eggs waiting in the refrigerator for an egg salad sandwich.

"Thanks, hon," I told him, happy that I can be dopey in front of him, and admit I don't know how to do something.

"Come here," he said, and drew me to him on the couch. He cuddled me, put his hand on my belly to say hello to Little Bean. But for a moment, I swear, I thought he was going to give me a noogie instead.

egg salad sandwich


I have to admit, I feel sort of silly even posting this as a recipe. Certainly, this isn't complicated. But I like being reminded of these simple pleasures, and perhaps you will be too. Besides, sometimes the meals with five ingredients are the best.

Make sure you have great eggs for this. If you have your own chickens, you are set. Try to find truly free range eggs, produced locally, if you can. Not only because those eggs will be fresher, but also because they will taste better. (Crack a factory egg and one that came from a chicken allowed to roam -- you'll see the difference in the yolk.)

Of course, there are endless variations here. I happened upon chive blossoms because the spindly chives survived the winter on our back porch, and bloomed into lavender flowers this week. Spontaneously, I yanked some off and shredded them into my eggs. Oh, yum.

Finally, of course, the bread. This particular sandwich was cut from a loaf made by the good folks at Haley's Corner Bakery, in nearby Kent. Even Marvin Hamlisch would want to write a song based on this sandwich bread. Sorry to those of you who don't live here, but you might want to make the trek if you do. Good, good, good.

4 hard-boiled eggs
a spoonful of Dijon mustard
a glug of mayonnaise
pinch and one more of kosher salt and cracked black pepper
six chive stems and purple blossoms

Chop up the eggs, roughly. Put them in a bowl. Add everything else, in whatever portions feel right to you. (I can't stand my egg salad too dry, but not gloppy wet either. You'll find your happy medium.) Stir. Taste. Exclaim something loudly, to show your appreciation.

Put between slices of bread, in a happy mound. Cut the sandwich in half. Sit down to eat and sigh.


At 9:18 PM, Blogger Cate said...

Even after pregnancy is gone, I still get cravings. And now at 12:17 am, I'm craving egg salad! Tomorrow, lunch, it is. But you're right ... sometimes it's all about the simple things, and it's always good to take a moment and remember that.

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! My Hubby and I frequently "argue" about the proper technique for boiling eggs. Enjoyed the story too!

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Hannah S-Q said...


Thanks...I will make egg salad tomorrow. I have some free range eggs that need to be used. I'll get some tapioca bread, too. I would make my own but I don't quite have the confidence to make it yet. I've done plenty of GF quickbreads from scratch--but I don't have time to experiment much with my toddler underfoot.

I have an overabundance of chives growing in the backyard, so that helps. :)

I love the contrast of the purple chive flowers with the egg salad. I always see things with an artist's eye.


Happy Egg-eating,


At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delicious memories of egg salad with sweet pickle relish... and it was usually served on rich, dark pumpernickel bread. Eggs got a bad rep for years- when cholesterol became a bad word and we stopped making egg salad. Too bad.

I loved egg salad as a kid. Still do... but I wish we could find great GF pumpernickel... Egg salad needs to make a come back.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yum! I love egg salad. I just can't figure out why my kids don't like it. Maybe I didn't eat enough of it when I was pregnant!

Shauna, have you signed up for your PEPS group yet (Program for Early Parent Support)? If you haven't, do it NOW. If you don't know about PEPS, go to It's a very special program that is completely unique to King County, and we are so very lucky to have it here. It is truly a lifesaver for new parents. But don't wait until after LB is born. Sign up now to get in a group.

Thanks for the posts and inspiration!

At 3:38 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Eggs . . . on the same list as beets (unless they are in a baked item). Sassy new hair cut, I like it!

At 4:27 AM, Blogger DweezelJazz said...

Thank you for your lovely posts and the photos are great too. I'm gonna make some egg salad this coming week! :)

At 5:18 AM, Blogger Gina Perry said...

Thank you for the egg boiling instructions! I scratch my head every time I have to make them, trying a new technique each time, and promptly forgetting it. My forgotten chives are just about to blossom here in NH and now I'll have a nice use for them. Yum!

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Adele said...

Great post! I have been wanting to watch your video of you on the food network, but I can't seem to get the link to work. I am not sure if the problem is my connection, or if its the link itself. Could you double check that the link is working.

Thank you!

At 5:45 AM, Blogger ccr in MA said...

I thank you for sharing the easy stuff as well as the more complex. I can't wait to try the Chef's egg-boiling method, since that's something I too have trouble with. And the egg salad really looks crave-worthy!

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I ate hard boiled eggs everyday. The choline is good for brain development.

Egg salad is underrated.

Thanks for the vinegar tip! Nowadays, I boil a dozen eggs at a time nearly everyday. Last night's batch saw the balls of yolk falling in the trash after my son came home from the gym.
Oh, we love the yolks, but I let my son eat as many extra egg whites as he desires.

By the way, have you noticed that the price of eggs has inflated? I read that is because farmers are getting so much more money for their corn from the ethanyl (sp) factories. Chickens are fed corn, and the price increase is being passed on to the eggs.

I don't care. I still buy lots of jumbo eggs every week. I love jumbo eggs, and I love finding the double yolks in them. Jumbo eggs are larger with more multiple yolks because the hens that lay them are older.


At 6:24 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

Mmmmm...I already had a long bike ride planned tomorrow to go to our local GF bakery, but now I know what I'm going to slather onto some beautiful fresh-baked bread! I just got some gorgeous eggs in my CSA box last night..and yes, I'll admit to frying an egg up at 9pm last night, just to get my first taste of the season of those gorgeous yolks! And egg salad they shall become!

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum! I found that my pregnancies didn't create "cravings", rather an extreme state of suggestability. And I agree with Cate, that doesn't go away! I'm still crazy for olives after your post months ago, and now I want egg! And probably won't get any for days, sadly.

My grandmother made "chopped eggs", done in an Oster food processor, so it looks different, but was never overly goopy/mayonnaisey. Two additional seasoning options from her recipe: chervil and celery seed. Lots of people chop celery into egg salad, but it gets wet sometimes, particularly if any is left over. Celery seed adds the bright flavor, no liquid.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I had a summer like that as was egg salad everyday! I need to make some soon...maybe this weekend.

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, very fresh eggs are not so great for boiling. Check out what the Food Network says about it:

"First, let's address the issue of eggs sticking to shells. To prevent this, use eggs that are a week to 10 days old. Older eggs have a different pH from new eggs, which researchers say affects peeling. We also find that cooling eggs immediately after cooking in an ice bath makes them easier to peel.",,FOOD_9796_1702229,00.html

Amazing, huh?! I'm with you- I love Food Network!

At 7:40 AM, Blogger achildoftheking said...

How funny... I hate eggs, but if I doctor them up with herbs and spices I'll eat them. One favorite thing I love with hard boiled eggs is to put the egg [shells off] into some left over dill pickle juice and let it stay there until you just feel like eating one; or using it in the salad. My husband craves egg salad sandwiches sometimes.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Jen said...

I love egg salad, this is a great post and I love the chive blossoms!!

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, thank you for your Lisa and Todd memories, and all the wonderful nuances in your posts. That's what keeps me coming back! I am a total fan. And yes, egg salad and simple foods can be pure pleasure. You know, your recipes and passion for food are amazing, but I have to say it's your writing and lifestyle that totally draws me in.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Milhan said...

I love a good egg salad sandwich...but it needs thick slices of tomato. Can't wait for Summer and all those wonderful Jersey tomatoes :)

Thanks for the egg boiling tip. I usually leave them for 15 minutes, and get that green ring around the yolk.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger ana said...

I discovered your blog recently. I'm 43, 13 weeks into my 1st pregnancy, and I just gave up gluten to get rid of horrible rosacea. After about 10 days so far, I can tell a HUGE difference in how I feel.

I loved egg salad as a kid too! I haven't felt like eating eggs, but egg salad sandwich sounds really good (on GF bread, of course!) And thanks for sharing the tip about boiling for 12 minutes. I hate the grey yolks!

You write so well. Thanks for sharing your recipes, and your story.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger momcan'tdance said...

Those immediate food needs are SO strong, it's just amazing! When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter there was a group of us that would get together for dinner once a month. They always said, "Suzi, you go first, you're eating for two". I'm not kidding you...I ate like a horse. I was still rail thin from my unknown friend, celiac disease, but boy could I put the food away! It made such an impression that, even today, when all of us girls get together, they say, "you go first". I laughingly have to remind them that I'm not pregnant, and my "little bird" is now twelve!

Thanks for the GREAT memories. You truly do have an amazing gift. Thanks also, to your chef for the tip on the boiled eggs with vinegar!

Smiling in Bend,

At 9:32 AM, Blogger liannallama said...

oh, I love eggs and especially a good egg salad sandwich! Sometimes I get to craving one but then I usually stop myself because I already had eggs for breakfast! Sometimes I give in though, not caring if I end up eating 1/2 dozen (or however many are in an egg burrito and a sandwich!) eggs in one day--yikes!~

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

That looks really good! And, I've got some chive blossoms (noticed 'em this morning when snipping chives for my omelet). Do you make your own mayo? Any tips on a good commercial one?

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Amy said...

That sounds like something I need for lunch today. Thanks for the idea.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Renee said...

I ran to the kitchen after reading this and made your egg salad for breakfast. I added a pinch or two of truffle salt. Yum!

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, yesterday my son wanted to hard boil eggs and I couldn't remember how to cook them! Should have read your blog, I let the eggs sit for 20 minutes and didn't use vinegar and the shell stuck terribly to the whites. I had to throw a lot of the white away because I couldn't get it off the shell! It was yucky and the yolk was too hard, bummer! But I did make an egg salad "sandwich" on a slightly warmed up corn tortilla,and rolled it up...YUM!

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Sus & co said...

that's so funny. when i was pregnant w/ my first i ate egg salad every day for lunch w/ a tall glass of milk. nobody else knew about my little guy in there yet and my job was 100% travel so i'd make my whole team seek out the infamous egg salad sandwich. it wasn't long before they understood the craving, but for a little while i swear they thought i was crazy.

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I thought this post was beautiful. As a narrative essay? Perfect -- especially that bit about the noogie at the end. Beautiful as a remembrance, too. I've been following your blog for a few months now, and I devoured your book a while back (I'm particularly fond of that cauliflower recipe...), and I think what you're doing is remarkable. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your love of food. You are utterly inspiring.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger warzy said...

egg salad - yummy! nothing says summer like an egg salad sandwich. i like to add slivers of best quality ham and minced green onions...

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Kristin - The Goat said...

I like the information that people give on the "common" things. It is the common stuff that gets so complicated.

Thanks for giving us all a look into how to make the common - but with a purple twist!

At 8:15 PM, Blogger EatPlayLove said...

I rarely delight myself in the treat of eggsalad. My husband doesn't care for it, so I guess I suppress my desires, how silly! Seems like I need to nourish that part of me, looks divine.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger the nibbling marmot said...

cute post!

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Allison said...

I imagine you plan to nurse LB, given the food issues you face yourself, but an added bonus is that your baby will also gain an appreciation for lots of different flavors through nursing!

Our three year old surprises everyone by relishing Thai food, curry and hot sauce and I know it's partly due what I ate. We also skipped mashed baby food and just fed him baby sized morsels of things we were eating, so that also played a part.

You may find it helpful to get some nursing support in place before the baby arrives. For most mommas and nurslings it's a cinch, but some babies need help at first with their latch. La Leche League is fabulous!

Gluten free in Birmingham, AL

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Allison said...

In addition to it nourishing them and protecting them in countless ways, mommas milk also helps babies develop a love for lots of different flavors.

Our son relishes curry and Mexican, due partly to his first tastes through nursing. He also had baby versions of our meals rather than baby food, so he's always eaten what we eat.

Gluten free in Birmingham, AL

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I LOVE egg salad! And when I was pregnant with my first, it was an egg salad sandwich on pumpernickel, lettuce, tomato, HEAVY on the pickles for lunch *every* day. Seriously, the guy at the deli would see me waddling in and start putting one together. Eggs ARE so good. Just about in the same way that bacon is so good! But for me, egg salad is naked without some form of pickle - sweet, sour, dill, bread & butter - doesn't matter, so long as there's pickle somewhere. And preferably a lot of it.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egg salad rocks. Even our company cafeteria, which frightens us on a regular basis with some of its concoctions, makes a smokin' egg salad sandwich. I like in wraps, actually, though I'm not above snarfing up what's left in the bowl AFTER I make the sandwich. I can't wait to find some chive blossoms and try it with those. Yum. I even like capers in it.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have AOL, I just read a fabulous segment on cooking spring vegetables.

First you helped me to be positive about a gluten-free diet. Then you helped me to appreciate the joys of locally grown fruits and vegetables in season. The segment was great, by the way. I was always wondering what a sunchoke was. I had no idea that they were called Jerusalem artichokes here in Virginia. I also had no clue that they were the tubers of the sunflower.

It makes me want to plant a sunflower garden, like I did when I was 19. Sunflowers are so easy to grow.


At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been pregnant, but your story is useful. This is my first visit here but the pictures of your cookings are so delicious they make me hungry. Great blog, and I'm so getting your book! :D

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I just found your blog. I am pregnant, gluten-free, and tested negative for Celiac (but I know what gluten does to me so I avoid it). There was a point somewhere...oh! Thank you for this blog. It is wonderful to see all the delicious food-I eat very well but forget about the simple things sometimes.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

I miss Gilda. She was fearless.

Thanks for posting how to hardboil and egg. I always use my rice cooker. It's good to have back-up in case my rice cooker breaks.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Dk's Wife said...

Darn you and egg salad! :) We do raise our own chickens. Orpingtons and New Hampshire Reds! Before we started our little chicken farm, I hated store bought eggs. They were very rubbery. Fresh eggs! All the difference in the world!

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello, shauna! i'm reading your book right now, and I can't read it fast enough! your story has been such a joy to read, and your journey so encouraging. xo

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Thank you thank you for the vinegar trick. How have I gotten this far in life and not known this?

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I love the addition of chive blossoms. Sometimes I pick them to put them in a vase but never in a sandwich...thanks for the idea! Egg Salad to me is such a simple pleasure...reminds me of lazy summer days when you dont want to turn on the oven...its the perfect warm weather meal.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, I wish I could try that bread with the egg salad- together it looks like a tasty meal. YUM!!!! I will have to hunt down some free range eggs first . . . :)


At 6:50 PM, Blogger Zoe said...

The vinegar also helps the eggs coagulate if they happen to crack in the pan.

Your salad sounds good... my green garlic is calling to me!

At 4:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a sign of how much we love the Loopners in my family that nearly 30 years later, my mother will say, in perfect pitch, "This calls for a Tang toast!" Jane Curtin was so very, very underrated. Gilda, of course, was magnificent, and I still miss her.

Of course you know how I feel about the whole egg issue. ;) I confess that my egg salad consumption is on the low side -- I'm more of a frittata girl, but Lloyd makes what is, to my palate, perfect egg salad. Maybe I'll ask him to make us some for the weekend.

Also, if you have some mad money lying about -- and if you don't already have this book -- you may want to take a look at Eggs by Michel Roux. The recipes are terrific, the photography is outstanding, and, really, you can't go wrong with the Roux brothers. :)

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love egg salad more than any other sandwich. I am glad little bean will be a fan too!


At 10:36 AM, Blogger .:The McGuire's:. said...

i'm new on here...what bread is used for this recipe? i've tried a few of the GF breds but can't seem to find one that doesn't remind me of cardboard :(

At 5:29 AM, Blogger The Diva said...

I love, love, love egg salad. I also loved Gilda Radner, and I'd forgotten about that character. Oh, how funny and sweet it was. I'm going to make some egg salad for lunch today inspired by you. I may make some Bob's Red Mill bread to go with it.

Thanks, dear girl.~~Dee


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