Reading the Gourmet article on the dinner parties of the past ricocheted me back to my past when we were a group of friends; some married, some single and none with children, when Sunday mornings we rotated brunch. Every two or so weeks it was someone else’s turn to do the brunch and it was always the same:
Chopped Egg Salad
Chopped Salmon Salad
Bagels bought so early Sunday morning it was actually still Saturday night in our heads
Lox, of course
DO I REALLY HAVE TO TELL YOU?
Pots of coffee
Lots of laughs
Tremendous amounts of gossip among the girls
Once in a while Eggplant Salad
Sometimes a quiche
or a Loxshen Kugel served alongside sour cream
God forbid we step into our parents shoes of the nights they would have their ‘card game’ parties…no no, we did away with that. We were all too busy for fancy dinners; thrusting ourselves into work and school (yes some of us married while still in school because McGill was like 600.00 a semester with books and our parents paid for it); those were fun days.
Once in a while we invited friends who were not part of the pack and we always decided whose turn it was for the next brunch and what date it would be. Even though Sunday nights were always reserved for our parents to either go for ‘Chinese’ or to their house for a quick supper.
Formal dinner parties where the china came out, the sterling was set and two kinds of crystal water and wine glasses were put out was only standard for the Jewish Holidays. It is still like that in my head and my house.
Thousands of dollars worth of all of these sit in my Dining Room cabinets and are now practically never used. Oh well, they will go towards the inheritance like everything else.
Now some of us are Grandparents and some of us are in-laws; although I am neither and that is totally okay.
If we were really lazy and it was our turn we ran to The Brown Derby Delicatessen in the Van Horne Shopping Center (Noah Bernamoff’s folks will know of which I speak; even as Noah runs his own Mile End Deli which is getting rave reviews out of Brooklyn). I don’t know what foods the Brown Derby DID NOT carry that equates Jewish Food. They had everything and amazingly everything always tasted just like Bubbe made it.
For a tiny bit of time The Brown Derby came into the hands of a family member, but only when it was on its last breath, in an effort to save it. It died. Which is why when I read of Jeffrey Chodorow might try to re-open a restaurant in New York that smacks of the Kutshers Hotel in the style of the Catskill’s was exciting. I wish he would do it here because I am pretty confident that the current generation of Montreal clearly is need of a revival of the old-fashioned Delicatessen. The time is right; the economy is right; the demographics are right.
I wrote him. I told him that. No answer.
Chopped Egg Salad
12 large eggs hard boiled and peeled. Grate either on a box hand grater or the processor.
Then add to taste the following:
Mayonnaise, the real kind and not home made because it doesn’t work taste-wise. It has to be bought Mayonnaise.
Chopped scallions or as I have always known it: Shallots including the greens (pronounced sha-lots)
Salt to taste of course
Smoked Paprika to taste, of course
Once everything is gently mixed in and you like the taste, then place it on a platter and surround it with lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle more Paprika on top for an elegant look and serve.
When my sister had first moved to Chicago, Illinois her biggest complaint was that she couldn’t find a good old-fashioned Chopped Egg Salad Sandwich in any of the Delis surrounding her area.