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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pot Luck Triumph: Egg Salad

What an unlikely triumph. How ridiculous.

I received an email asking me to PLEASE bring something to a large pot luck buffet. By the time I got around to opening it, I discovered that this year, you had to choose your dish from a list. That's a good idea as anyone who's ever gone to a pot luck with all one thing can attest.

Naturally, being of the frugal mindset, I perused the list ready to weigh cost vs ease. As it happened, the cheapest AND easiest dish still had several slots open: egg salad.

I made egg salad in the usual way. I boiled 14 eggs using the Julia Child method. Put eggs in pot of cold water, bring to boil, turn off heat, cover. Let sit for 17 minutes and then peel after submerging in cold water.

She does the eggs in From Julia Child's Kitchen.

When the eggs were peeled, I mashed them with a potato masher, added mayo (Kraft, nothing fancy), and salt and pepper.

I must confess that, because of many failures and much rejection over the years, I have pot luck trepidation. I made a wonderful couscous salad once with no takers. (Overheard: "This looks weird, but it's good!"). Let's not even talk about Michele Urvater's bulgur wheat salad. (A lesson here on grain salads?)

Last year, I was so nervous that I made Mr. FS do his one pot luck dish: his wonderful coleslaw. Even that was rejected, I think because it was in a pink-for-breast-cancer mixing bowl.

So, this time I made sure to use a nice dish: a white souffle dish from France. I put my egg salad on the table. I took a hefty portion for myself so it wouldn't look totally rejected.

I scanned the other offerings and wandered away from the buffet table. Then the BUZZ: "Did you make the GOOD egg salad?" "The egg salad is gone!" "Who made the wonderful egg salad?" "I heard your egg salad was great!"

After the crowds diminished, I checked out the leftovers. I saw the other two egg salads, which were in TINY bowls, and largely uneaten. I asked MR. FS why mine was gobbled up. He suggested, "The other ones were mashed in a blender. Yours was chunky."

Then I tasted one of the others: the distinct flavor of Miraclewhip! Ahha! I used real mayo, albeit from a jar.

Then I thought about it: 1. mashed up homogenous consistency, 2. small styrofoam serving bowl, 3. Miraclewhip.

Lord Peter Wimsy to the rescue.

The other offerings were purchased at the nearby grocery deli counter en route to the event. Mine was the only home made egg salad.

The secret to pot luck popularity egg salad division? Use a nice bowl. Leave it chunky. Use real mayo.

10 comments:

Mary said...

hahaha. The whole idea of pot luck triumph is so funny and yet so true. We put so much into our dishes and then put them out there. Hoping ours will be the most popular, the most loved, the most talked about. We shouldn't care but we do! Thanks for a laugh this morning and congrats on your excellent egg salad!

metscan said...

Good for you, finally! This egg salad, do you eat it as such, or do you use it as a butter?

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I usually take stuffed eggs on a vintage glass egg dish and they are gobbled up...frugal pretty and tasty.
I agree with your offering here!

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

That's too funny :) You must have felt amazing hearing those wonderful comments and seeing it disappear like hotcakes!!!

Gayle Ann Berg said...

I really enjoyed reading this post! Very amusing writing! Congratulations on your successful pot luck offering...

Terri said...

I would go for an egg salad in a fancy bowl, and I always appreciate a good deviled egg at a potluck too.

Duchesse said...

Boneless BBQ's chicken thighs, every time- because no one brings chunks of meat to a potluck. I buy them in those big party packs so they are pretty reasonable, but really, my potluck philanthropy outweighs frugality. Potlucks, says Le Duc are full of cheap food and cumin, and he refuses to go or only eats dessert.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Mary--Thanks for understanding! I read your blog last night and will return more often. Love it.

@metscan--With on bread or crackers or by itself. I'm sure you don't have Miraclewhip in Finland, but it is vile faux mayonnaise.

@hostess--Pretty! I wish I had one of those egg things. Last time I brought deviled eggs somewhere, so did 5 other people. That's why the list was good this time.

@FB-Yes, but you're only as good as your last pot luck dish.

@Gayle Ann--Thanks for the compliment. It was fun to write.

@Terri--It is amazing how the simplest things taste the best--sometimes.

@Duchesse--No chicken allowed--this was a vegetarian plus tuna fish potluck. I picked from a list. Last pot luck I attended had had FIVe beef dishes. When I arrived with an Asian pasta and vegetable salad, it was mobbed (my other triumph, now that I think of it).

Duchesse said...

I say this with both a smile and horror, what kind of potluck is this? If they allow tuna fish, why not other fish, or seafood.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--"kosher-style"--not kosher--which is full of contradictions. Meat: no. Tuna and other fish: yes. Cheese etc: yes. Shellfish: no.