Deviled eggs.

March 10, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Article Archive

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. This is a story as American as apple pie and hay rides, although its roots go back to Ancient Rome. It’s a story that will remind you of your own youthful days when the livin’ was easy, and you had time enough to waste without a single regret.

It’s a story about people you haven’t thought about in too long… and places you miss the minute you think of them… it’s about the days when your energies were prodigal… and you were admonished to wipe your feet and wash those hands before sitting down and giving a blessing too short, perfunctory… because you didn’t know how blessed you were.

It’s a story of mom in the kitchen laboring, the lady of the house, a position which later ladies might disparage, but which she never did. It’s a story, too, of dad who organizes the whole shebang for the good of the family he’s proud of; saying little perhaps, but giving all.

This is the story of a little item that was a frequent guest… and a joy to eat… a thing eaten fast, never savored, gulped, acknowledged later with a belch you tried to quell but could not; your mother thereupon pointing a finger at you while saying, “I told you so.”

This is the story of deviled eggs… and you, like me, will be glad to have it… and, if you can find one today, glad to eat… for it is the most delicious time capsule of all… and you’ve been missing it without even knowing.

As the incidental music for this article, and this culinary staple of high summer, I have selected “In the Good Old Summertime.” It started as an American Tin Pan Alley song first published in 1902 with music by George Evans and lyrics by Ren Shields. It was the title song in the 1940 film starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Go now to any search engine and find the version you like. Then sing along, so you can work up an even better appetite for your ovoid treat.

Terrible cook, memorable deviled eggs.

My mother, bless her soul, was a terrible cook; I could therefore count on the fingers of a single hand the dishes she made which were actually good. One of these was her deviled eggs. They were not merely good; they were supreme, as if all the talents which might otherwise have gone into a dozen dishes or more had been concentrated in just one never-to-be-forgotten masterpiece.

Thus when I saw deviled eggs on the menu at the Cambridge Common Restaurant a couple months ago, I ordered them at once… and found myself impatient while waiting for them; (a thing I never thought I’d see on any menu hereabouts) . And I did to them what I did to their ancestors of fifty years and more ago: I gulped them down, for my brain, in some deep place of memory, knew that that was the way, the only way, to eat them… And so in an instant, with a single taste, I was no longer the senior citizen with burdens and obligations, but twelve or fourteen or so, happy, alive, immersed in joy, surrounded by love… and as many deviled eggs as the sustenance and prolongation of such a mood and condition might require.

Ingredients.

No two cooks, even if they scrupulously followed a common recipe, would produce their deviled eggs in the same way. That is because each, yes every single one, adds one top secret ingredient, an ingredient so important it was never discussed, and most assuredly never written down; for your mother was aware that every other housewife (no matter how honorable in other matters ) couldn’t possibly resist a little culinary espionage, regarding it as an essential aspect of her work. And if she found and employed this ingredient to improve what was wrought by her own fair hand, why that was her bounden duty and solemn obligation. After all, all’s fair in love…

Start here.

But before we get to the matter of those secret ingredients, let’s start with the basics, for in these most cooks are agreed.

A dozen hard boiled eggs, yolks extracted Mayo (generously mixed in) Mustard (only a little) salt & pepper a splash of Worcestershire sauce Add all ingredients above into bowl and hand mix or use hand blender Refill egg cavities with yolk mix Dust finished eggs with paprika Slice pimento-stuffed green olives and place a piece so the red center of the green olive is in the center of each deviled egg. Chill and serve.

This recipe works, of course, in the way all such recipes work. It does the job but just in prosaic, pedestrian manner. As such while it may be good enough for others (like Mrs. Anne down the road), it will never be good enough for you and yours. And so you go where lesser housewives do not venture; places that prove your ingenuity, skill and cunning… a condition of affairs which you relish and exult.

And so to Rome.

There isn’t a culture on earth that doesn’t have its version of deviled eggs; thus you are able to excel in your presentation by studying what is done far from your kitchen… by housewives as proud as you are. Each delights in her own secret: diced pickle or pickle relish, ground black pepper, powdered cayenne pepper or chipole, turmeric, vinegar, poppy seed, thyme, cilantro, minced onion, celery… and

… garlic, horseradish, wasabi, sliced Jalapeno pepper, cheese, chutney, salsa, hot sauce, ham, mushrooms, spinach, sour cream, caviar, smoked salmon … and many more…

Each a secret ingredient, and kept secret until the actual moment of use, the ingredient that spells mastery… and love… for each is the ingredient proving her family is the most loved and cared for of all, proven by a taste that forever means home…wherever you are, whenever you have it.

And, this summer, as in all the summers before, deviled eggs will be in attendance, waiting to perform their delicious function for you as they once did for the emperors of the seven hills of Rome and the wide world beyond….

“No trouble annoying, Each one is enjoying, The good old summer time”…

… and all the deviled eggs you could ever want.

*** We invite you to post your comments to this article.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Details at worldprofit.com

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