Waldorf salad is another one of those things that can just be kind of tossed all together according to the taste buds of the cook. And if you’re a really sweet, kind cook, you will take into consideration your family’s/guests’ taste buds also.
But what if the item to be served is not a matter of taste so much as it is texture??
This very thing has happened in Mrs. Hate’s family—a texture issue brought to the forefront by none other than her son-in-law.
Waldorf salad showed up on the dinner table on a fairly regular basis when I was growing up. Here’re the ingredients:
- apples (your preference of a tasty, crisp eating apple…back then apples were generally of the Red Delicious persuasion)
- mayonnaise (used to use Kraft until they completely lost their cool AND their mojo when they changed the recipe several years ago..I HATED that little corporate decision (ridiculous), but rallied and discovered Duke’s mayonnaise…really quite good)
- celery, diced
- pecans, diced
- marshmallows (why not use miniature)
And here’s how to put it all together!!
Peel or don’t peel your apples and cut in small chunks.
Add all other ingredients to your liking and proportion.
This must be the shortest Mrs. Hate recipe yet!!
But what about the rest of the recipe title…”fruit and mayonnaise and marshmallows and nuts all mixed together freak me out”?
Love that son-in-law, wouldn’t swap him for the world, he worships my daughter (she’s worship-worthy to the nth…a kumquat if there ever was one)…but his food quirks can be a challenge to the cook.
This is the type of son-in-law who throws his all into everything—intense, cheerful, thoughtful, curious, smart, talks a mile a minute, multitasks like Hydra in Greek mythology could have if cell phones and tablets and laptops and all such things had been around in myth time—but you put an innocent, harmless bowl of Waldorf salad in front of him and he says:
“WHAT IS THIS WITH ALL THIS FRUIT AND MAYONNAISE AND MARSHMALLOW AND NUTS IN IT? THINGS WITH FRUIT AND MAYONNAISE AND MARSHMALLOWS AND NUTS ALL MIXED TOGETHER FREAK ME OUT!!”
Well son, you are easily freaked out—a little high strung there it seems.
The poor thing kind of paled when we told him what it was and how much we loved it and could eat it by the bucketful.
Since he’s a big talker anyway, and my sisters and I were curious about just what was it about Waldorf salad that was so freakishly scary, we…asked him!!!
He started making his case for the fact that, individually, he LIKED all those ingredients and had no PROBLEM with them…individually.
But you mix them all together and the texture just…freaked him out.
We love him. He’s ours, all ours.
But Waldorf salad RULES, I don’t care who you are!!
HATE POINT: the new Kraft mayonnaise
LOVE POINT: that son-in-law
Mrs. Hate says “Yowza, baby” on that title!!
But truly, that is exactly what is deemed an important factor in delicious egg salad, according to The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition, 2nd Edition, pages 121-122.
I came to egg salad late in life, in that I’m not particularly what I’d call “wrapped up” in eating eggs. Deviled eggs are good most any time, every month or so an omelette, or maybe a fried egg, fried ’til it begs for the torture to end, with lots of mustard and cheese on Sunbeam bread and then grilled, is something I might have a craving for once every ten years, but other than that, I’m not an egg fiend.
One day last year, however, I thought “you know, why not be brave, get over the perceived eggy-ness of egg salad, and just make the stuff”.
Here’s what happened…I didn’t use a recipe because I thought it would be so easy to just add a little mayonnaise and some (yuk) sweet pickle relish (which I really pretty much loathe, but seems to be de rigeur in egg-type recipes in the South) and whatever else seemed appropriate and mash it all together.
No matter how many times I tried, the darn stuff never tasted worth a flip. I’m not even sure if some days it tasted better than others; the whole experience was just puzzling and nightmarish and therefore I’ve blocked it.
Salvation came the day I was flipping through The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition. The recipe called for capers, not sweet pickle relish (YES!!), some grainy mustard (yum), some other things I would leave out due to family peculiarities (Mrs. Hate…ever considerate), and this very important statement:
“Eggs diced into small cubes (just under 1/2″) gave the salad the full mouth feel we had been seeking.”
With apologies to a certain blogger (the throw-down here 🙂 )…oh shoot, might as well say it’s Toby at Plate Fodder…who said “The finer you get the eggs, the better your salad will be”, I respectfully disagree.
THIS was part of what had been missing for me…the mouth feel!! Makes perfect sense!! Not too big of a chunk, because then you might think of little baby chicks running around enjoying life and then you’d gag, but not too fine, because then it might coat your tongue like a cross between pureed baby/elder food and something the cat couldn’t digest.
I’ve made this egg salad plenty of times since The Discovery of the Perfect Egg Salad Recipe, Complete with Full Mouth Feel, and I’m not tired of it yet. Just keep in mind that my version uses only:
One day I’ll probably get around to adding a few of the things I leave out of the basic recipe, but that would be when the celery- and onion-haters in this household go somewhere for a day or two, and I’m not seeing that happening any time soon. Plus, I refuse to make separate little bowls for each according to his taste; I mean, isn’t celery innocuous enough so that if it were finely chopped into flea-sized pieces it could cause no harm?? The answer here from the other household members is No. Celery is an abomination.
And now, for your gustatory pleasure, the recipe.
CLASSIC EGG SALAD
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 TBLSP minced red onion
- 1 TBLSP minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 medium celery rib, chopped fine
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ground black pepper
**note: I add 2 TBLSP capers (1 of 4 recipe variations for egg salad in The New Best Recipe) and have never chopped or rinsed them as recipe states; I also salt to taste after mixing all together
Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Now I’m wondering…is there such a thing on WordPress as a definitive smack-down throw-down recipe contest for certain foods?? Where there’s an entry deadline and voting and comments and blahblahblah etc etc etc?? This is called “Mrs. Hate’s mind is wandering”, because I’m a believer in everybody has their own taste buds, what’s sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gander, one man’s jicama is another man’s bile, and so on and so forth. Therefore, contests are just one of those things that may exist in part to satisfy the gladiator urge in us to WIN!! Or, if we’re sitting on the sidelines all fat and happy (metaphorically speaking), we want to BACK a winner.
Whoa Nelly…I think it’s time to rein my wandering mind in and close with the famous statement by Rodney King: “can’t we just all get along?”.
Radishes and scallions and dill and curry and cilantro and anchovies and bacon and shallots and watercress. All getting along together in the four variations of Classic Egg Salad.
Hated not to share with folks what the other variations included, but “not ganna” type out all the combinations and permutations!! Unless someone requests!! Then I’ll be glad to do it!! Just writing these sentences to enjoy using exclamation points!!