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Whether you like them simple or fancy, deviled eggs are always top candidates for star status on the buffet, particularly around Easter.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
We spend time in our kitchens boiling, cooling, peeling, slicing, smashing, stuffing and sprinkling, then carry our beautiful deviled eggs to a potluck, where the plate barely makes it to the table before it’s clean.
The passion that people have for this ultimate two-bite treat is one reason many of us make them for gatherings, particularly around Easter. But factor in how easy and inexpensive they are to make, and it’s clear that deviled eggs are always top candidates for star status on the buffet.
As a child, I fell in love with my grandmother’s version, which was always heavy on the tangy mustard. As an adult, I stick to the classic Southern recipe for this cookout staple: mayonnaise, yellow mustard, pickle relish, salt and pepper, with a pinch of sugar in the mix and a dash of paprika on top.
It turns out I’m not the only one who prefers this traditional style. When I conducted a poll on my blog recently, about 250 people voted and 74 percent said they like their deviled eggs the simple way. Twenty percent voted to “fancy up” deviled eggs with ingredients such as crab meat or pimiento cheese, while 6 percent said they don’t like deviled eggs no matter how you stuff them.
Those poor people.
While I was obsessing over deviled eggs in preparation for this column, I came upon some information that changed my understanding of the dish. According to “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst , to “devil” a food means to mix in spicy ingredients such as hot sauce or red pepper flakes (think deviled crab). Spicy mustard would qualify as a devilish ingredient, but eggs made with mild mustard are technically not deviled at all — they are simply stuffed.
Maybe that’ll make some folks feel better about eating such a sinful-sounding food on what is supposed to be a very holy holiday this weekend. If not, consider that eggs have a great deal of religious symbolism.
Since ancient times, eggs have represented fertility and rebirth. They were decorated long before Christianity came along, but have since been emblematic of Jesus’ rising from the tomb. These days, Easter eggs often have a little surprise inside, and I’d argue that you can regard the delicious filling of a deviled egg as a tasty surprise, as well.
If you want to crack the traditional mold and experiment a bit with your next batch of deviled eggs, consider some of these variations suggested by my blog readers:
For those readers who plan to make deviled eggs for Easter (or any upcoming event, for that matter) I’m going to sharing some tips, tricks and a few recipes to get the creativity flowing (see above).
But the most important tip I would offer is one I’ve learned from living with my husband: If you want to savor a few deviled eggs yourself, you had better stash them somewhere in the refrigerator where nobody else will find them.
I would suggest the vegetable drawer.
On the blog: Backstreets in Blacksburg is closed, but you’ll find some of the dessert recipes at blogs.roanoke.com/fridgemagnet.
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