Column Date 2007-05-13

How to make an egg salad sandwich

First, buy your eggs.

This is not as easy as it sounds.

To start with, my supermarket gave me a choice  of brown eggs or white eggs. I never figured there was any difference, so this was a no-brainer.

But then it got tricky:

Should I buy All Natural eggs (2% less saturated fat)? Or eggs that have been “pasteurized for my safety”? Or Omega-3 eggs “with 300 mg of Omega-3”?

How about Vegetarian eggs, from hens who were strict vegetarians, I suppose, and had ingested no hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products?

Or what about eggs that were laid by cage-free hens? Wouldn’t a cage-free hen be a happy hen -- and lay better tasting eggs?

Then again, I also needed to consider eggs with Zero Trans-Fats. As well as the eggs, next to them, that contained both Lutein and Choline.

Getting impatient and tired, I picked up a carton at random.

The next thing I needed for my egg salad sandwich was bread.

I like multi-grain bread. But how many grains did I want?

On the shelf, there was a 7-grain bread, a 12-grain bread, and a 15-grain bread. Were more grains better? Or should I buy a different bread that guaranteed me 24 grams of whole grain per slice?

And did I want my bread Stone Ground? If not, why not?

I had no idea. So, again, I grabbed a package at random.

On to the Mayo.

This was easier, since I only had to choose between Real Mayonaisse, Light Mayonaisse, Fat-free Mayonaisse, Reduced Fat Mayonaisse, Hot ‘n Spicy Mayonaisse, and Mayonaisse made with Canola oil, which said it was naturally rich in Omega-3 (in case I bought the wrong eggs, I guess).

I picked the Real Mayo (if you can’t believe food labels, what can you believe these days?), and went get some lettuce for my sandwich.

There was Iceberg, Leaf, Romaine and Boston lettuce on display. They each came in organic or non-organic forms.

Easy choice, I thought -- until I noticed some more lettuce, in a plastic container labeled “hydroponic.” I’m not exactly sure what hydroponic is – something to do with being grown in water instead of in the ground – but that was the last straw.

I picked up the nearest lettuce and dashed for the checkout.

Wait a minute!  I had forgotten to buy milk, which I like to have with my sandwich. There were at least 23 different kinds of milk in the refrigerated case.

And I needed a new milk glass, too – but only from a country where the workers received a fair wage and don’t work in a milk glass sweatshop.

At this point, I decided that making an egg salad sandwich was much too complicated.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

Studies have shown that when presented with too many choices, most consumers are simply overwhelmed -- they just walk away without making any decision at all.

Which is exactly what I did.

I decided to forget about egg salad and make a simple peanut butter sandwich instead.

But then there’s regular peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, organic peanut butter, low fat...

©2007 Peter Tannen