Sunday, February 10, 2008

Egg Drop Soup and Grinders

Where we come from, a long sandwich on a roll, such as those sold at Subway, are Grinders. Here, they call them "Hoagies". I don't even know what that means, or had no clue, until I watched something on either the History Channel or PBS about the Erie Canal through New York state. There I learned that local boys were hired to guide the canal boats through given sections, and these boys were called hoagies. I've since comforted myself that this is the origin of this odd name for grinders. Yes, I'm odd like that, everything must have an origin.

Thus, the origin for "my" recipe for Egg Drop Soup. We had a Chinese attorney about a quarter century ago. He may have been born here, but his mother, Dolly, was definitely China-born, as was his wife. We went to their house for dinner several times, and once they served Egg Drop Soup. It is simple and delicious. I asked them for the recipe, and they gave me a story instead. The best known Chinese soups are chicken broth based, so you have to start with a pan of good chicken broth, they said. Get it to a good boil, then put an egg or two in a measuring cup with a few drops of water. Whip the egg up very well with a fork, then start the chicken broth to spinning in the pan with a wooden spoon. Drizzle the egg into the spinning chicken broth, which will create those egg shreds, and keep stirring for no more than one minute. Serve immediately. Dolly ran a restaurant in NYC; we went there once with our first three red haired sons, then 2, 1 and newborn. I cannot tell you how many people came to see those children, and Dolly took the 2 year old around to visit many of her patrons, who were also friends. They babbled at him in Chinese, and he babbled right back in babyese. She was delightful, her food was astonishing, and her Egg Drop Soup is splendid.


1-1/2 cups water
6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil

Mix all ingredients together. Form into 3 foot long rolls or 6 half sized rolls. Brush the tops with egg yolk mixed with a few drops of water, let rise, and bake at 375 for 16 to 18 minutes. The oil makes them softer; omit it if you like chewier bread.

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