We grandmothers of today are much different than the grandmothers of past generations. I know. I've been GrandMel for eight years, and, when I look around my kitchen, I see a sea of countertop appliances that make my work a whole lot easier: grind my coffee beans, blend my smoothies, chop my vegetables, mix my cake batters, steam my rice, make my pasta, bake my bread, press my sandwiches, fry my fritters and freeze my ice cream. The list goes on. By the time I was born in 1955, my grandmother had acquired a toaster, and, a fancy-schmancy Sunbeam stand mixer. Past those, she relied 100% on the basic cooking skills she learned from her mother and grandmother to get meals on the family table in an efficient, timely manner.
My grandmother almost always had a few hard-cooked eggs on hand in her refrigerator. Hard-cooking eggs was a great way to extend the shelf life of her farm-fresh eggs and an inexpensive source of protein for her family -- she chopped and used them in her egg, tuna and potato salad. If friends or family dropped by, in less than 5 minutes, she would slice, mash and concoct, then, place a plate of deviled eggs on the table to offer as a snack. Back then, deviled eggs were simple and basic: they were good food for good people sharing good conversation and a good time (plus a few good drinks or cocktails too).
GrandMa's deviled eggs weren't fancy, they were simply delicious!
Deviled eggs have come a very long way baby. They aren't just a quick snack for impromptu get-togethers, backyard barbecues and neighborhood picnics. This humble, rustic, cold appetizer or side-dish has been elevated to near celebrity status. Fine chefs and gutsy gourmets are adding everything from ancho chili pepper to wasabi paste to them. Elegant looking and divine tasting, deviled eggs are making appearances in upscale restaurants, as pub grub in microbreweries, at fancy caterings and elegant dinner parties. They can be quite pricey too -- depending upon the ingredients, $7.00 - $8.00 for a small plate of 3-4 egg halves in a restaurant, or, $1.75 - $2.00 per piece for a catering. If that surprises you, elegant-looking, meticulously-garnished deviled eggs are labor intensive.
For those of you who never encountered or experienced the humble, classic deviled egg:
As far back as the 18th century, the term deviled was used to describe spicy food in general, more specifically: cooked eggs whose yolks were mashed together with mustard, pepper and a few other flavorful additions including fresh or dried herbs, then returned to the yolk cavities, which were used as portion-sized serving vessels. Culinarily, the verb "devil" means: to combine any food with hot or spicy seasonings such as pepper, red pepper, dry or prepared mustard, Worcestershire or cayenne pepper-type sauces, resulting in a "devilish" dish.
Extra-large eggs, 6 eggs, taken right from the refrigerator hard-cooked, peeled and sliced in half (Note: Click on the Related Article link below, ~ A Little Thing Called: How to Hard-Cook an Egg ~, to get my detailed instructions, helpful tips and eggs-act egg-timing chart.)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus a little extra, if necessary, enough to make the mixture creamy-dreamy and 'dollopable'
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish or minced sweet onion, your choice but not both
1/4 teaspoon each: celery seed, coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt
a sprinkling of paprika and/or a few parsley sprigs, for garnish
~ Step 1. Using a fork, vigorously mash and stir egg yolks with all ingredients until combined. Mixture will be creamy with tiny bits and pieces of yolk and relish (or onion) throughout. Dollop into yolk cavities, garnish and serve.
Simple, straightforward old-fashioned Summertime goodness!
Special Equipment List: 2-quart sauce pan (for hard-cooking eggs; cutting board; paring knife; table fork; ordinary tablespoon
Cook's Note: Something else my grandmother made with hard-cooked eggs, always for Easter and a few other special occasions too, was her ~ Pretty in Pink: Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Eggs ~, and, from those, she made ~ Pretty in Pink: Devilied Eggs ~. Just click into Categories 1, 4 or 12 to get my recipe for this ethnic family favorite. No one I know can eat just one of these hot little devils!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015