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Archive for November 2nd, 2008

November 2nd is National Deviled Egg Day; the humble little creamy filled hand held appetizer. So what makes it devilish?

Also called Eggs Mimosa, the deviled egg is a common dish in the USA, France and Hungary, and is known as Russian Eggs in Germany, but the origin claims to be from Ancient Rome. After the Romans domesticated fowl, they used the eggs in many applications, including hard cooking them and covering them with spices. While the technique comes from 13th century Andalusia, the name is strictly 18th century American.

The first recipes found come from ancient Medieval texts, are referred to as Stuffed Eggs, and the filling included raisins, cheese and sweet spices. One difference in this technique was that once the eggs were stuffed, they were fried in oil and served hot. The name ‘Deviled’ didn’t appear until around 18th century England when the practice of ‘deviling’ was first introduced and meant ‘a highly seasoned broiled or fried dish’. The earliest use of the term was loosely associated with kidneys and other meats, not with stuffing eggs. Deviled dishes were popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially for seafood options and appetizers. Those of us old enough to remember the Underwood Devil and the can of spicy ham have seen where the term was taken. It was around this time that Deviled Eggs, possibly including some of that chopped spicy ham, firmly took hold in the culinary world.

Earliest renditions of Deviled Eggs had cayenne and/or spicy mustard in the filling. The recipe has evolved so much over time that there is no clear idea of what goes into the filling; it’s each cook to their own taste. Some recipes in the past have deep fried the final results, others show to spread the yolk mixture in a baking dish, arrange the whites on top and cover with bread crumbs, broiling until crispy and then sprinkling with cheese. Some recipes contain meat, other have capers and vinegar, pickles, fresh herbs, chopped celery or onion, olives and anchovies. Although it’s not stuffed, the fried version makes me think of Scotch Eggs, my absolute favorite egg-eating option- a hard cooked egg wrapped in spicy sausage and fried, then dipped in sweet mustard. Oh dear, now I want a Scotch Egg!

For Griffin’s Deviled Eggs, shown above, he simply mixes in a little Miracle Whip, spicy brown mustard and salt and pepper. He loves the little orbs, and it’s a simple and easy snack for him to prepare.

{information for this post was found at The Food Timeline for all your food history. Watch yourself if you visit this website, it’s addictive and really informative. You might get happily lost for a long time.}

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