If this week has made me realize anything, it’s that life is unexpected. When I wrote my last blog post, I never imagined that Hurricane Sandy would reach such catastrophic proportions. Even with all the warnings and precautions that were being taken, I thought they were overdoing it.
At first, the destruction and devastation didn’t sink in. I was busy with my kids, trying to keep house and home without my cleaning help and dealing with a strep-ridden toddler. Still, I couldn’t ignore the pictures, the posts and the pain all around me. The unfathomable loss and despair in the aftermath of the storm was inescapable.
As the stories of pain and loss began to emerge, I couldn’t imagine putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and writing a blog post. How could I be so trivial at such a desperate time? How could I go on blogging about recipes when people were without power, and many had lost their homes?
“Food makes people feel good,” I reasoned to myself. “It’ll take their mind off of things,” I rationalized. “I’d better dream up some real comfort food,” I challenged myself. Instead, here I am talking about eggs.
In Judaism, so much of what we do revolves around symbolism. Even the foods that we eat. On Rosh Hashanah, we dip apples in honey for a sweet new year and eat pomegranates so that our merits should be abundant like their seeds. On Chanukah we eat fried foods like donuts and latkes, reminiscent of the miracle of the oil. Purim is notorious for hamantaschen, a reminder of Haman’s 3-cornered hat. You get the idea.
What am I getting at? Well, when a Jew sits shiva, (seven days of formal mourning for the dead), it is customary to eat foods that are round like eggs, bread and lentils. They symbolize the cyclical nature of life – death and birth. On a deeper level, the circular foods are meant to impress upon the mourner that although things seem at their worst, life has it’s cycle. Just as there is loss and pain, there is also joy and happiness, and there will be again. Eggs are also eaten to symbolize that just as they are round without a “mouth”, we are also without words at a time of loss.
The unexpected horrors that occurred this week are truly beyond words. Seeing houses sink under rising flood waters, watching neighborhoods go dark without power, cars crushed under fallen trees, chaos at every gas station in town. It almost feels as if life was turned on it’s head. And yet, just like the round egg, life edges forward. We pick ourselves up, we soldier on, and we rebuild. Such is the power of the human spirit.
And so, without further adieu, I present my UnEGGSpected Egg Salad, a delicious recipe with an unEGGSpected ingredient. Make some for your family, or better yet, prepare sandwiches for a friend who is stranded without power, a relative who has lost their home, or the volunteers at your local firehouse.
If you’d like to volunteer in the relief effort for Hurricane Sandy Victims, visit the UJA site or Occupy Sandy website for opportunities. You can also donate to synagogues, Chabad houses and other organizations that are helping with the relief effort.
UnEGGSpected Egg Salad
5 hard-boiled eggs (how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs)
2 tbsp mayo
1-2 tbsp horseradish sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1 scallion (green parts only) or 3 chives, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Chop or mash eggs (depending how you like it). Add mayo, horseradish sauce, paprika and scallions. Season with salt and pepper.
Variation: If horseradish sauce is too strong for your taste, substitute with spicy or regular mustard.
1 year ago: persimmon yogurt smoothie