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Bonus E Post – Egg Salad – It’s What’s for Dinner

I am on a quest to make as many home cooked dinners as i can.  I am approaching the two week mark since I started, and while some days were “cheater” days (we went out to lunch once and had left overs for dinner, and my parents took us out to dinner one night, and we had leftovers the night after), except for a Friday night pizza and a movie, I have been in the kitchen every night making something for dinner – even if it was just reheating those leftovers.

As a Catholic kid, Lent always meant no meat on Friday.  A lunch staple was egg salad.  I am not an egg fan.  I would never wake up in the morning and want eggs for breakfast if there are pancakes, blueberry muffins, or even Oreo cookies available instead.  My grandfather used to make my sister Bean and I hard boiled eggs for breakfast once in a while, but he would careful cut the top off, stuff the hard cooked egg with creamy butter, and sprinkle a healthy dose of salt on top.  It was  heaven in an egg cup.  But egg salad for lunch was just plain gross.  I hated Fridays during Lent.

But as an adult, I’ve come to terms with the place egg salad serves in my life.  It’s a quick, go to meal on a night when we need to go grocery shopping.  It is strangely comforting on a chilly day for lunch.  There are days, despite my dislike of eggs, I just crave egg salad.

Here’s the thing, though.  I can’t eat egg salad out.  No matter how appealing it sounds, the taste of egg salad in a restaurant or diner just always seems off – too much mayo, onion, celery – something to ruin the taste that I’m familiar with.  And I don’t want it paired with anything – no soup, no bed of lettuce, no weird side dish.  I might be okay if you toss a few chips next to the sandwich, but mostly, I just want it plain.

Worst of all – I cannot eat the egg salad that has fallen out of the bread during eating.  I know, weird, right?  I think it’s a textural thing.  There has to be either nice soft white bread around the salad, or their has to be warm toast.


So – here’s how I make my egg salad – check out the precision with which I prepare this.

6 hard boiled eggs, still warm from the pot, chopped finely

Mayonnaise – enough to moisten the eggs, but not enough to make it slimey (I use a big spoon, and it usually takes about 3 heaping spoonfuls – serving spoon size)

Mustard – usually about a tablespoon or two – just to add a slight “deviled egg” flavor in the background

Salt and Pepper

I prefer to serve it on toasted bread, and I prefer it cut into four triangles, which almost makes it seem like four tiny sandwiches, and makes me forget about the fact that there’s still some level of my being that dislikes egg salad.  No lettuce, no tomato, no celery, and definitely no avocado.  Blech.  I might get brave and try tossing in some chopped bacon someday.  Someday.

I’m such a weirdo.

The OTHER Problem with the Catholic Church

In recent years, there has been a lot said about what the scandal involving a handful of Catholic priests has done to congregations everywhere.  Fewer and fewer people attend Mass, and Catholic schools are closing left and right due to declining enrollment. 

But can we really put the blame on a few pervert priests?  Can we blame everything that’s wrong with the Catholic Church on the existence of some lecherous leaders?  Because if we’re honest, you’ll find that everywhere.  The Catholics don’t have the market cornered on creeps.

When we moved to New Jersey 10 years ago, we lived diagonally across from a defunct church.  Blissful were the days when we could park in front of our own home, pulling right up to the front door like we owned the place.  But soon after we moved here, another non-denominational congregation took up residence in the vacant building.  And a transformation occurred in our tranquil neighborhood.

There are people here practically every damn day!  They take up all the parking spaces, line the streets with cars and motorcycles, and spend all weekend and all kinds of time during the week just hanging out.

That’s right – they have become a real community. 

You know how us Catholics go to Church on Sunday, hope we get the priest that gives the three minute homily instead of the 10 minute one, and try to sneak out after we go up to Communion so we can get home in time for kick off?  Guess what the congregation across the street from me does?  They stay for a whole sermon, enjoy Sunday school, and then they gather to watch the game together.  They throw some hot dogs on the grill, have kids playing in the yard, and they sit down, talk, and have fun together.

Not a week goes past when some member of the church doesn’t come by and invite myself or a member of my family to a pasta dinner, a fish fry, some event for the kids to enjoy, or they simply come by to let us know they’re running a car wash, a bake sale, a flower sale.  They have a youth group, a women’s group, a men’s group.  And they are welcoming and inviting.

I’ve been a member of a variety of Catholic churches through the years, as we’ve moved with Jim’s job.  Yeah, there’s been the occasional bake sale, or a fund raising dinner now and again.  But the congregation across the street from me doesn’t charge for their pasta dinners.  Everyone pitches in, everyone enjoys, everyone cleans up.  They enjoy getting together, being together, and doing things as a community.  They aren’t there because they have an obligation to be there. 

I’ve had conversations with Catholic priests – pastors at their parishes – to ask about hosting an event on a Saturday.  I’ve been told that they don’t want the inconvenience of having to open the Church or watching over the parking lot.  They don’t want to be responsible for the bonding or camraderie that might take place on church property – especially if there is no financial windfall coming their way.

The best priest I have ever met?  The priest who performed my sister’s wedding ceremony.  He was from Africa, and very much into the whole community thing.  He said the one thing he missed about being here was how different we celebrated our Catholic faith here.  In Africa, it was all about community – everyone came out to celebrate weddings, baptisms, Sunday Mass.  There was a spirit of sharing – food was brought, wine was opened, people sang, children played.  During my sister’s wedding, he tried to get us all to sing as they were married.  We did not.

So yeah, there are people who left the Church because of the pervert priests.  But I think even those that left because of the priests who messed up probably left because they weren’t in a community strong enough to weather such a terrible tragedy.  That’s a sad fact in many Catholic communities.  Or should I say congregations.

Maybe we should try to get together for more than a 45 minute Mass where we don’t interact except to offer each other the sign of peace.  Well, unless it’s cold and flu season, in which case many parishes have opted out of the whole handshaking thing.  Let’s see each other more often than once a month at the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast. 

 The family that prays – and plays – together, stays together.

It’s the End of the World….Or Is It?

Thank you, Steve MacCall-Carter, for giving me something to think about this week besides my upcoming classes on Anatomy and Physiology, which I am surely going to struggle with.

Steve brought up the pending end of the world, making me think I should stop paying my bills, pack my bags for the best cruise I can book at the last minute, and forget the worries of A&P I and II – I won’t need to know where your thigh bone is connected to if the world truly does end.

So, there are a couple of theories floating around.  According to one source, we’re all going to be judged on May 21st, 2011 (what does one wear to a judgement, anyway?  Do you think Beatrice and Eugenie are lending out those fascinating fascinators they wore to the royal wedding?); and then five months later, God is going to destroy the planet Earth.

Another theory is giving us until December, 2012 to get our act together, get our affairs in order (although, with no one left behind to tend to those affairs, who the hell cares what you’re leaving me in your will?), and start living life as though you deserve to be one of the chosen few allowed through the pearly gates.

Keep in mind that I’m Catholic, and as such, there are no requirements to actually read the Bible in my religion – only that I sit quietly each Sunday and holy day and have the bits deemed important read to me.  So if I’m off on my basis in religious fact, well, sue me.

But doesn’t it say right there in the Bible

But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father alone.

Hmmm.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but it would seem that none of the Doomsday prophets are claiming to be God – which means that the chances of them having some sort of inside knowledge of the coming of the end of the earth would be somewhere between slim and none.

Here’s the deal, my friends.  Live life every day as if it were your last day.  That doesn’t mean spend the mortgage money on that new Jaguar convertible so you can tool around town with your broke ass self until the repo man comes and collects on the unpaid car loan.  That sets up the scenario where Mr. Wells Fargo will knock on your door and politely tell you that the house you love is his, and he wants it back.

What it means is be freakin’ nice to each other.  Whether you believe in God or not, learn to be tolerant, patient, and accepting of each other.  Know that just because I go to Church on THAT corner, it doesn’t make me any less your human sibling because you go to Church on the OTHER corner.  It doesn’t matter what happy bits the person I climb into bed with has – what matters is that when I get out of bed in the morning, I don’t walk all over someone who is down on their luck, begging for some spare change; and I don’t ridicule someone for their disability; and I don’t disassociate from someone I like because they don’t have the same religious beliefs that I do.  And yes, I did call them happy bits.

Just learn to get along.  It’s true – everything you DO need to know about life, you probably did learn in kindergarten.  Remember this one – When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.  It’s that stick together part that we all seem to have forgotten.

Maybe the Apocalypse predictors should take a lesson from kindergarten.  Now, more than ever, we need to learn to stick together.  All of us.  If it is the end of the world, we’ll be way less frightened if we’re holding hands and facing it together.  And if it’s not, we’ll all be a whole lot happier.