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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #105

Updated on October 6, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

I Wouldn't Have Lasted 5 Minutes

A few weeks ago my family and I took a much-needed vacation to the State of Oregon. One of our stops along the way was a visit to the history museum in the city of Bend.

The building that houses the museum was originally the school for the region. One of the exhibit rooms still has in it the old potbelly stove, a teacher's desk, student desks, slates, and books. And, there was this notice posted near the entryway:

Which Just Goes to Prove That . . .

God puts us exactly where we need to be, at the proper time and place. (Mine certainly was not 104 years ago in a brick school in central Oregon.)

I'm much more effective wearing a tee shirt and blue jeans and answering your questions about food. Let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Vegan "Egg" Salad Sandwich Recipe

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to construct a good sandwich. Denise McGill (you know her as Paintdrips) left this comment:

This is good information. I make some vegan egg salad with chickpeas but it is so mushy it squishes out of the bread. I hate that. I must be using the wrong bread.

Denise, I have a pretty good faux tuna salad but I've never attempted egg salad. Would you like me to experiment with that? I'll ask my younger daughter too.

Yes, thank you. That would be so helpful. I have one with medium tofu and one with chickpeas but both and too squishy to put in a sandwich. I like the flavor but hate that it's so loose that I can't keep it between slices of bread. Thanks.


So I donned my super-sleuth hat and found what I think will be the perfect recipe for Denise. The creator of this vegan egg salad uses tofu, but a very specific type of tofu. Make sure to use medium—not silken, not firm, and certainly not extra-firm. You want a block of tofu that will have the same feel as the white of a hard-cooked egg.

There's another secret too. As one might expect, if you combine tofu and homemade vegan mayonnaise and toss in some turmeric for color, you'll have something that certainly looks like egg salad, but it will still taste like nothing more than tofu with mayo. Ugh! The secret to getting that eggy taste is black salt, also known as Kala Namak; it has a sulfur-like taste just like cooked eggs. What a deal!

You should be able to find Kala Namak at your local Asian market or (if all else fails) on the internet from the nameless world-known biggest retailer on the planet. (By the way, black salt isn't really black.)

And then, I received a question from Mary Wickison (Blond Logic).

British Condiments

While we are on the pickle relish subject, in the UK they had two mainly that I used to eat, Piccalilli and Branston pickle. Do you have any copy cat recipes for these? One was a mustard base and the other was brown (no idea what made it brown).

Picalilli | Source

Hoo boy, I had to dig deep into the archives for these.

Branston is a chutney of veggies with tomato, vinegar, and dates. I’m betting that long ago they used tamarind instead of dates. The first link provides a recipe that uses ingredients that most people have in their pantries—the author says it tastes just like Branston, but I have my doubts since there is no cauliflower, no dates, she used dried cranberries and even tossed in some Dijon. I think the next one (No. 2) is closer to the real deal. By the way, I’m pretty sure that the brown hue comes from the tamarind.

Piccalilli has many of the same components of Branston but is the puckery version. The yellow color, of course, is from turmeric. This recipe from the BBC is about as authentic as they come.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.


Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Ooh, Lawrence, that sounds wonderful. Yes, that's what it's all about--the flavors play off of each other and the textures contrast. Creamy and crunchy, sour and salty and tangy and . . . oh goodness, you've made me hungry.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Oh how times have changed, but thankfully Branston pickle hasn't!!

      Next time you have a cheese platter, just put a touch of it on the side and use it like a dip, you'll be amazed how much it brings out the flavour of the cheese, especially a good cheddar.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Denise I have lots of chickpea recipes. Stay tuned.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks for the egg salad recipe. I will be trying that soon. I have another question for you. I have quite a few cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. What can I do with them without just tossing them onto my salads or in soup? Is there a vegan recipe or two I use these up with? Just wondering what you may have in the archives.



    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Cynthia, good morning. It's good to see you here again. I don't have any experience with spelt flour, but I will check it out this week and have an answer for you next Monday. I'm on it.

      Thanks for a great question.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      13 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      MMmm... I like the looks of the faux egg salad for a sandwich!

      I picked up some organic sprouted spelt flour. What do I bake with it? Is it more like whole wheat (it says 'whole grain') or can it pass for a sort of unbleached white flour?

      Enjoy this column! Good work!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I've just put the finishing touches on an entire article on "British Condiments." Will publish it next week.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      You always have so many gems on your pages.

      Those rules, gracious!

      Thank you for those links to the condiments. It's funny the things you miss, when they aren't readily available.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Miz, I've puzzled over that "drying in the pillowcase" statement. The only thing I can figure out is that they didn't want those petticoats to be too poofy (how scandalous!).

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      13 months ago from Beautiful South

      My mother and others in my Ozark area made a relish they called "piccalilli", but it wasn't at all like that. It was just a pickle relish with onions and bell peppers added, and I notice that term isn't used anymore around here.

      I have so many food allergies that I eat whatever my body allows, so gimme a real egg salad. LOL

      “Teachers will wear two petticoats.” Heck back when the girls were wearing three to six can cans, we were so poor that I only owned two, so I wore jeans

      on washday. And drying them in a pillowcase! No rules about drying their bloomers, what gives? My maternal grandfather taught in a one-room school 104 years ago, so I guess he only put up with part of that BS. I wouldn't have even accepted the job! Gee, how much we women have progressed.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA


    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda we are not always born of love. But we find a path by others who love us. You are an epitome of love.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, that's a REALLY good question and I honestly don't know without giving it some serious thought. I will do that. I think you're helping me write the intro to my next Q&A.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda this is great. Now this is a question about cooking but not recipes. I have this friend who has gotten me into the "Joy of Cooking". Now I do not follow her directions to the T. But I get inspired by her and she has brought good joy into my life.

      Who inspired you?

      And by the way that friend is you. (Julia Childs reference intentional)

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I'm trying to not imagine you wearing petticoats (LOL). I need the rain here--for a very long time. I need to start assembling a king-size quilt.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Isn't it odd Sha that a profession that started as "male only" became "women's work" but what was expected of the female teachers was much more restrictive than anything imposed on the men I'm quite certain.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, each of these takes, at a minimum, 4 hours so yes I do research the heck out of them, and I'm having great fun doing it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I would have lasted about one week as a teacher under those rules. I was pretty much a free spirit in the classroom. Got me in trouble a few times but oh well. :)

      Rain coming my friend. It's a good day for indoor pursuits. Have a great one!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      13 months ago from Central Florida

      Great Q and A this week, Linda. I found the tofu egg salad quite interesting. I think I'll pass the recipe on to a vegan co-worker of mine.

      Boy am I glad I didn't live 104 years ago as a teacher! Holy Moly! Those rules and restrictions are ridiculous!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      13 months ago from USA

      You really do the research for these requests. Well done! I hope you are enjoying your October and milder temperatures.


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