Utilitarian birthday presents

Mr S and I have a favourite lunch when we go on picnics. Hard-boiled eggs, sliced, on fresh bread rolls, preferably damper or baps, with mayo, salt and lettuce.

We won’t have eggs mashed up. No. No way. Yuck. Too mushy. Too gluggy. Eggs have to be sliced. Why Aussies mash the eggs, I don’t know.

Our egg slicer died and we had difficulties finding a replacement. Cutting with a knife just isn’t the same, but we’d been making do for several years. Every time we’d pack for a picnic, we’d remember we wanted an egg slicer.

The day before my birthday last week, I asked Mr S if I had a small surprise to go with the big gift which I already knew about.

“Just you wait,” he said. Which told me there was a surprise.

Come the morning, my surprise was still in the box that it had been mailed in. And inside was the bubble wrap. And inside that was this:

An egg slicer. Made in Germany. Metal. Each strand individually tensioned.

I love it. I love that it shocks people when they ask what I was given.

So two questions:

  • Where do you stand on utilitarian gifts?
  • Do you slice or mash your eggs for egg rolls or sandwiches? And why?

20 thoughts on “Utilitarian birthday presents

  1. Not a fan of the sensible gift. Buy it at another time, not a birthday. So have not been thrilled by the time I received a wok and the time I received the leaf blower.
    Re the sliced eggs: I have used a similar slicer for eggs on toast. With butter and salt. The slicer has died but no, do not surprise me one day with another one.
    Re the mashed eggs: yes, this is acceptable when mixed with mayo and/or curry powder to make a nice little sandwich for a high tea. Or for devilled eggs.

  2. Here in England we always mash eggs for egg sandwiches, wouldn’t want it any other way! I expect that’s where you Aussies got the idea from! Love the idea of a utilitarian gift, especially now we are elderly and don’t want any more STUFF! I had a birthday last week and my husband bought me a lightweight Dyson to use upstairs as I can’t carry our other vacuum up and downstairs, far too heavy for me now. Our daughter was horrified and amazed that I was thrilled!

    • Yes, there are many things I think are the way to do it, the way everyone does it. Then I realise it is my German heritage and only we do it the right way. (Te he).

      I love the reaction of your daughter to the gift and to your reaction.

  3. I really do enjoy utilitarian gifts…(being a declutterer) as I don’t easily have space for “thinking of you” type gifts. I like purpose! I love the quality look of your egg-slicer. I can just imagine Mr Sans saying, “just you wait!” Mr D bought an egg-slicer a few years ago – which at the time, did not impress me (prospective kitchen clutter.) But I have learnt to love it. You can’t chop an egg cleanly with a knife! Maybe that’s why sandwiches were invented with mashed egg in the first place!

    • I think if people were really thinking of you, they’d buy something you want, when if they object to utilitarian gifts.

      I think mashing the egg makes it go further (not one egg per person) and makes the sandwich easier to make and stay together.

  4. Any present will do me – I have probably even had an iron before now! Mashed or sliced – love egg sandwiches, but never eat them out in cafes or buy them from supermarkets – have been ill too many times so I always use very fresh eggs and organic and make them myself.
    I have a strawberry slicer that works just like the egg slicer – someone bought it for my birthday – has been a pretty good and useful present.
    Happy slicing.
    PS Did I wish you Happy Birthday – if not belated Happy Birthday wishes Lucinda – if i knew your address i would have sent you a homemade card x

  5. I am a massive fan of the Useful Gift. My favourite one was a belt sander, which was followed closely by a cordless drill. I don’t wear much jewelry, I am particular about what perfume I wear, I’d rather have a tool I can use (like my KitchenAid mixer!) than some frippery I’ll say a heartfelt thank you for and leave in a drawer for eternity

    • I once bought Mr S a drill for a birthday gift. He was not amused. I like some fripperies but the problem is I am sensitive to many scents, so if people buy me candles, I may not be able to, or like to, use it.

  6. For the most part, I buy my own gifts (from DH). Saves us both a lot of anxiety–him from actually looking for something and me from trying to pretend I like whatever he found. 🙂

      • I send an email with links.

        And after a very non-specific pick something off this list leading to someone buying *everything* on the list… I now provide the chaps in my life with the list with links and acceptable price brackets, and the instruction to “select four or five things from this list that has many more things”

        Or I buy my own stuff.

  7. What a well-crafted gadget. I am not one for eating eggs cold (i.e. in sandwiches, devilled eggs, etc.) But I bet your device would slice avocados nicely. I like useful gifts. A cordless drill was one (from my dad) and I was very happy. I think part of the problem is that no one dares to buy me books or music, thinking I will be very particular, so they try useful things instead. For the past few years I have asked for consumable things – coffee, chocolate, wine, or any kind of food.

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