It was a group party event – one of the several that dominated her life as the mother of 2 elementary school children – birthdays, school pot lucks, general gatherings and of course just lunch at home with friends. This recipe worked really well – it seemed to still retain a touch of novelty, got done in a hurry, did not bother the little palates too much and actually met all the alergy restriction and got done in somewhat small order – the recipe being her tested and tried egg salad with zip! Usually she toned up or down ingredients, like the onions, green chilies depending on her crowd, but overall stuck to the same formula.
Today was no different, she boiled her dozen eggs, cooled and shelled them, carefully reserving the shells for the compost when her daughter Maya rushed in and hugged her. With her hands on her hips, she demanded -, :”Lana told me your egg salad is different, is that true?”
She looked at the child and smiled and said, “Well, anything I make for you is different, since you are special…” Mentally, she thought, “Please, dont create troubles with this one…”
Maya happily informed her, “Lana told me they all love it, but its different, did your mother teach you how to make it?”
This question caught her by surprise and threw her back to a time almost a decade and a half ago, a time she had forgotten, a time when life was different.
She remember the little graduate apartment, in Cambridge, the one unknown to anyone she knew today, the one she shared with Nick – her first love, the one who got away. It was her first year away from home, away from that sheltered quite life in Cal, where everything seemed so secure, predictable and without trouble. She came to college for graduate studies and in the two years also grew up and learnt more about life that she had ever expected.
Two months, into college, she was paired with Nick for a class assignment with Nick – for reasons she could not explain, they fell in love. Theirs was a deep and passionate love, and yet full of laughter, intense and heady. It stayed that away for 2 years until it was time for them to make serious decisions. Then somehow, she just could not just follow her heart, she left amidst tears, without too many words carrying the image of his shocked pained expression with her in the deep recesses of her secret self.
She allowed herself few regrets – life just did not allow that. That time in life, with its unfulfilled promise left her, taking some of herself with it.
Over time, she went to work in NYC, in time through appropriate connections and introductions met Anil – an amiable and suitable boy. Life was not unhappy, Anil travelled and worked hard as did she. In time, their life had settled into a busy predictable pace, particularly after Maya. It was very rarely, on late nights when the house settled down after everyone went to sleep, she could not help wondering about what might have been had she been braver – would life have been different?
Maya’s question reminded her of the origins of this infamous salad – a summer picnic at Nick’s sisters house, when they wanted something Indian. Her sparse pantry had very few “Indian” ingredients but nonetheless this salad emerged as an “Indian” egg salad and stayed that way even when “they” were done.
“Ma, you look sad?” the girl asked quietly… She looked at her daughter and quietly hugged her and proceeded to chop the eggs.
Zippy Egg Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes 1.5 cups of egg salad
1 dozen hard boiled eggs, shelled
1/3 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup mild mustard
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Method of Preparation
1. Place the eggs in a mixing bowl and mash coarsely.
2. Mix in the mayonaise, mustard and tomatoe ketchup.
3. Mix in the onion, cilantro, pepper, salt and sugar.
4. Use for sandwiches.
I release this post from its shadows from my drafts, with some trepidation, for an interest event called Chalks and chopstickes, started by Aqua, making a second edition appearance at Sandeepa’s blog.
Well, the story might not be good, the salad is actually pretty tasty…