I am a foodie. I don’t mean that I’m a food snob who only eats at restaurants where presentation trumps taste, or that I spend hours in the kitchen cooking everything from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Although I did rewatch the end of Julie and Julia last night.)
No, I just like food. I like comfort food, fancy food, junk food, unusual food, easy food, complicated food, pretty much anything. I have a few “hard limits” (let the zombies have the brains), and I have low tolerance for (spicy) heat, but for the most part, I’ll try anything once, and I’ll probably like it.
I come from a long line of excellent cooks. Not fancy chefs, but down-home, Southern cooks, women who cook three meals a day for much of their lives and men who live for backyard barbecues. I’m very much a seat-of-my-pants kind of cook, and that mostly works out very well. (I take after my dad in that regard, but he’s more likely to pull something completely out of left field and have it fail.) I can also follow a recipe when necessary, though, which means I’m actually a pretty good baker too.
I know this is a writing journal and not a food journal, but I write cooking into my stories pretty often. I like characters who cook! I have some recipes from stories that I’ll share in this space, but I thought I’d start with an old family favorite. I’ve never seen anything like it turn up anywhere else, and it is very, very good. Even if you don’t care for eggs, it’s worth trying, because there’s not much egg taste to it.
Smoked Egg Dip
12 hard-boiled eggs
1 tablespoon liquid hickory smoke flavoring
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)
½ to ¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Chop up the eggs (fairly coarsely); a potato masher works well. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate (preferably overnight) and then stir before serving. Serve with raw vegetables, pita chips, toast rounds, or similar items for dipping.
Notes: This is probably enough for 25 people or so, but it’s a pretty easy recipe to double or halve. We normally serve with any or all of these: carrot sticks or baby carrots; celery sticks; turnip sticks (turnip root, peeled and cut up — my favorite); bell pepper, cut into chunks; broccoli; cauliflower; radishes; cherry tomatoes. A potato masher usually works well for chopping the eggs, but a fork works, too. You can add the mayo after everything else, a tablespoon or so at a time; it’s best to judge the exact amount by texture. You can also add more Tabasco or leave it out entirely if you like. I like a little more smoke flavoring but no Tabasco.