The Deviled Egg seems to only exist as a function of a pot luck dinner. It isn’t a side served with T-bone steak, it isn’t served with bacon and grits, it’s not even served as part of a fancy brunch. So, how did this method of preparing eggs, and the tradition of where they are served, come to be?
Archaeological evidence seems to indicate that there actually may never been a time when pot luck dinners didn’t include a plate of Deviled Eggs. A variety of halved stuffed eggs were discovered by archaeologists among the tragically frozen last moments of Pompeii; remnants of Deviled Eggs have been found, dating back to the 1300’s, inside what is believed to have been a Medieval knights’ feast, suddenly abandoned due to a spontaneous and gory attack; A form of Deviled Eggs were even discovered just outside of Egypt deep within The Great Pyramid of Ahmose I, which dates back to 1282 B.C. With Deviled Eggs logging so many occurrences across the past, and being such a long-standing tradition of time, it stands to reason that the next time your church has a pot luck dinner, those Deviled Eggs that Mrs. Parsons brings every year are much more than just a simple family recipe. They’re part of human history itself.
Of course, absolutely everything in that second paragraph is complete crap that I just made up. All except for the part about Mrs. Parsons. She will always bring Deviled Eggs. I’m sorry, but it’s just that foods such as these almost never have trackable histories, yet that never seems to stop countless bloggers and historians from trying to piece together pretend possibilities after prefacing that “the origin of this food is unknown.” I find it so exhausting that I just thought it would be nice if there was something else out there to read, something a little more substantial than a description of how the English used to prepare them in 1823.
I actually had never made Deviled Eggs before. They always seemed complex for some reason, I don’t know why. Now that I have made them, however, I find it a little bizarre that someone always brings them to a pot luck, like they’re this wonderful home-made thing. Sure they look pretty, but as far as the complexity of their design, they’re really nothing more than mini “Atkins friendly” egg salad sandwiches. You could just as easily bring home-made Chex Mix.
Still, it’s eggs with mayonnaise and mustard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The orange peppery stuff that’s always on top, it turns out, is paprika. I’m never sure it makes a difference, but I always add it when the recipe calls for it. Now, here’s a small tip when it comes to boiling eggs. Don’t put them in ice water like most people advise. It’s too tricky to gauge the inner temperature of the egg, and if it gets too cold, the shell will stick. When you pull them from the boiling water, just put them in some cool water from the tap. Once they get to just above room temperature, the shell practically falls right off.
So, happy Deviled Egg Day, Mrs. Parsons, and thank you for your historical contribution. Even though I now know that those things took you all of ten minutes to make (not including boiling time), I’ll always put one on my plate.
See you Sunday for National Candy Day.