Thursday, September 20, 2012


by Sarah Walton 

The “Grandad Omelet” lives! Long live the Grandad Omelet!

Not only is the Grandad Omelet alive and well, currently exhibiting itself in the northern Golan Heights of Israel, but its fame has now spread over 9,000 miles!

The epicurean spread of this egg creation began several decades ago, when our New York-based family was vacationing with my mom and dad on Puget Sound in Washington State.

One Sunday morning my Dad was at the stove stirring chopped onions, potatoes in a huge cast iron fry pan. A multitude of eggs sat beside a large bowl and a small bowl, on the counter.

“What’s this?” I asked Dad, as he asked me to separate egg yolk and egg whites into the two bowls.

“Well, Margy’s kids call this a ‘Grandad Omelet’,” he replied, stirring onions and potatoes briskly, while adding a pat of butter to the mix. (Margy is my older sister.)

“Yum!” I exclaimed, as I began separating yolks from whites; I love virtually anything made with eggs -- especially omelets. Soon I was whipping the whites into stiff peaks, then slowly folding the seasoned yolks into the frothy whites.

The egg mixture was added to the pan, a lid placed over the whole thing, and gradually the mixture, now smelling wonderfully of onion and potato, began to rise and set.

When my dad considered the eggs done enough, and before they began to fall, he placed grated cheddar cheese over the top and placed the pan in a 350 (F)-degree oven, for the whole thing to melt then brown.

The Grandad Omelet then moved to California, Oregon and New York. Finally it jumped the Atlantic and Mediterranean to France and Israel. 

I made one this morning, for  two guests visiting the kibbutz, my husband and our three grandchildren. As we sat there, with murmurings of “mashu, mashu” (“good, good,”, although literally translated “mashu” means “something!”) floating around the table, I thought about the mileage and cultural changes my dad’s omelet had undergone.

What had begun as a souffle-like variation of an American Western omelet had now been transposed into a Middle Eastern version one third of the planet away from it’s birth!

Sometimes Grandad’s Omelet is served here with hummus,  baba ganoush or avocado on the side or on top. Occasionally peppers are added to the potato/onion mix, and often the spices vary -- garlic out and zatar added. 

The possiblities are numerous -- as long as I don’t allow my husband to do the cooking: he’s been “retired” since he served me scrambled eggs with grapefruit sections in them!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every difference, problem, misunderstanding or misplaced viewpoint could be solved, resolved or even erased with the simple addition or removal of an ingredient?

I’d love to see the concept of peace or true democracy travel as well -- and as far -- as my late father’s omelet has!

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