The Best Egg and Olive Sandwich in Town
You can’t be a Southerner unless you at least know someone who makes themselves an egg-and-olive sandwich.
I have no doubt that Clairee in Steel Magnolias probably had one wrapped in wax paper and tucked in her purse.
So these are the ingredients that make it such a delicacy:
Egg salad: boiled eggs, mayonnaise (BAMA brand), pinch of salt. That’s it! Mayo is the binding agent for the eggs! It’s the south–you can put mayo on cookies and it tastes good. I have a feeling my “Ode to Mayo” blog entry is coming soon…
What brand of mayonnaise do you like?
Sliced green olives: The olives bring a saltiness and meatiness to the sandwich.
Wheat bread: Two slices per sandwich and toasted, thank you
Lettuce: one piece of Bibb lettuce.
Tomato slice: Optional (I like mine without.)
Combine, and cut on the bias. Delicious!
One bite and I say, “Egg salad sandwich, I love you more than my luggage!”
Well not THAT much. But, that’s another story.
I actually make a pretty bad egg-and-olive sandwich. So I go to Gilchrist’s in Mountain Brook for the real thing. There is a lady who makes the egg salad fresh behind the counter every morning. If you like lunch at 10:00 you may get the egg salad still warm.
Goodness, I’m making myself hungry!
Imagine a soda shop where your grandparents met after school for a shared root beer float. They were courtin’, and sharing the same soda with separate straws was first base. Good thing they married-Gramma might have been called one of “those girls.” Back then, as far as they knew, sharing a float could get you in trouble.
I always have my sandwich to go. I can only handle about three minutes of the laughter, clatter of plates, and kids. I’m sure it’s just white noise for them, though. Southern charm!
Gilchrist’s has a great limeade, made to order. I get the extra-large in a Styrofoam cup. It’s a Southern version of the “Big Gulp” (with fewer calories). I get mine with one Equal. I rarely do anything “diet” but the full-octane version is too syrupy for me. Maybe that’s why those ladies are so sweet. Who am I kidding? Theirs have Sweet and Low. They’re saving those calories up for Thanksgiving day or tomato aspic. Yes, you heard me right–they still serve aspic there.
Now if you don’t know about Gilchrist’s, I’ll fill you in.
You open its door and you walk into a Southern past you only see in the movies.
Checkered floors, groups of tables and cafe chairs,and a long counter with fixed swivel seats.
Gilchrist’s is a mom-and-pop soda shop established in 1928. It was the first business in Mountain Brook, and began as a soda shop and drug store. I have heard from the owner that before the elementary school was opened, it was used as their cafeteria, School was held upstairs.
Lunch there is a mix of people. This is Mountain Brook, so think Southern old money mixed with, well, every one else: the workers on their lunch breaks, nannies with two or three toe-headed load kids in tow, and that lone old gentleman in a bow tie who says hey to everyone while reading the paper at the counter. You know the only thing left to do with his day after a long lunch is dinner at the Country Club, of course.
Ladies-who-lunch cackle in the corner. You know the type. They walk in with their diamonds and thousand-dollar purses and shoes to match, and order a $3 sandwich that they eat half of. I LOVE them!
Real Southern characters. You hear them say, “thank you” in their exaggerated Southern drawl and you think: “How can you make two words last more than 10 seconds?” I assume at age 12, while walking in the living room with the Bible on their heads. (Training for good posture. There’s nothing worst than dropping the Bible! So sit up straight, now!)