Pickled Eggs and Salad Dressing
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.