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Pickled Eggs and Salad Dressing

July 2, 2010

Grandma Katy passed away two years ago, and though I’ve tried I haven’t been able to write about her before now. We were very close, and she was such an important person in my life, and it was just a little too hard. I think about her a lot. I have a card that I bought to send her in the hospital that never made it to her. The quote on the card is from Tennyson, “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever.” It’s as true today as the day I bought it. Now that some time has passed, and the pain of her loss isn’t so sharp, I find myself thinking about her more and more.
My aunt and cousin recently sent me copies of some of Grandma Katy’s recipes that I didn’t have. Grandma was a fantastic cook and these copies of stained cards, typed and with handwritten notes bring back so many memories. Birthdays (when she didn’t splurge on a cake from the bakery) meant a Texas sheet cake, or an Italian cream cake. Christmas meant cheese balls, “chicken feed” – aka chex mix, and an assortment of cookies. Thanksgiving was oyster dressing (and the no-oyster version), and green beans canned over the summer.

This pickled egg recipe was made once a year, like so many recipes, this one a week or two before Easter. On Easter Sunday most of us snuck into the fridge and the giant jar of beet-red eggs swimming with the beets that colored them in the pickling liquid. Once the table was set a tray of halved eggs and beets joined Aunt Beth’s famous deviled eggs and the rest of the smorgasbord of food. I think pickled eggs in general are something you either love or hate. For me I love them – once a year, when they’re pickled with beets. The sweet and vinegary taste, the firm white (yes, almost rubbery, but in a good way…), the creamy hard-cooked yolk. My brother was especially excited to hear this recipe wasn’t lost with Grandma, though I doubt they’ll ever taste quite the same.

Grandma’s salad dressing, on the other hand, made regular appearances with dinner. Grandma mixed it fresh, right before serving dinner, and tossed it in her big wooden salad bowl with chopped iceburg lettuce, tomato wedges, sliced radishes, and peeled and sliced cucumbers. For some reason it was the best salad – the perfect amount of flavor added to the fresh, crisp veggies.

Note: I’ve edited this post, which I know is a big no-no in internet-land. I decided that, although I don’t mind sharing a lot of my personal thoughts, part of this particular post still makes me uncomfortable, even a year later. Even more so than when I wrote it, because of things that have happened to me personally since then. So, internet-land, please forgive me.

  1. July 2, 2010 5:37 am

    This post actually hit close to home for me. My grandmother passed away a little over a year ago… sometimes family members say things that are harsh. I know she never meant to hurt my feelings, but when topics like weight come up — it’s just too sensitive of a topic for a lot of people. They always mean well and only want what’s best for us. 🙂 Now I think about her every time I have pot roast, and I wish I had her recipe!

    I’m going to try that salad dressing! It sounds so easy & makes me wonder why I always bought the bottled stuff instead of making it fresh. Thanks for sharing!

  2. July 2, 2010 9:58 pm

    Thank you – I’m glad I brought up some good memories. Families are complicated, that’s for sure. I loved my grandmother so much! She wasn’t perfect, but no one is. And yes, she did want the best for me. I hope you enjoy the salad dressing!

  3. S. Murray permalink
    July 3, 2010 8:08 pm

    grammaw katy had a lot of love for her family, especially you! you were the first grandchild, so you were very special. our family has always been blessed with lots of good cooks! food is a wonderful catalyst for good fellowship. while I too miss my little mom, and also think about her every day, I’m glad that a bunch of her love lives on in each of us, especially in you. thanks for being YOU !

  4. July 4, 2010 11:10 pm

    Thank you Dad, I consider that quite the compliment. She was a pretty great woman. I have a lot of respect for the woman she was, and the way she’s influenced all of us.

  5. Hope permalink
    July 6, 2010 7:14 pm

    What a lovely and appropriately complicated post. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Family can say harsh things but for those of us with wonderful loving families, these harsh things are usually an attempt at ‘tough love’ or something along these lines…
    Best of luck with the weight loss. But I am very happy to hear the motive and to know that you know your value as a person is not connected to the weight of your body!

  6. July 8, 2010 12:27 am

    Thanks Hope, glad you approve 🙂

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