Today we celebrate the deviled egg, a very popular dish at family gatherings here in the States, though recipes can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Various versions as well as names for this culinary treat exist across Europe. If you’re in France, for example, you’ll find them referred to as œuf mimosa. Other names given to this treat include stuffed eggs, Russian eggs, dressed eggs, picnic eggs, and angel eggs, which is quite the opposite of deviled really. The term “deviled” actually came from the British in the late 18th century, an attribution they began to give to zesty or spicy foods, since these little snacks contain mustard and vinegar. But, despite the rather common recipe used at various family gatherings, deviled eggs still manage to taste very differently depending on who makes them. People often like to add their own ideas for additional spices ranging from delicious to downright weird.
I remember at one family gathering someone had decided that there needed to be more dill in the eggs. By more, I mean they pumped it so full of the stuff it became less of an egg and more of a creamy pickle. It was rather grotesque. I much preferred the simplest version of this treat and though I’m definitely a proponent of encouraging experimentation, sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone. Several other such experimental eggs arrived at future gatherings and eventually people began to catch on. In the end, I’d hear an aunt or uncle happily start by saying things like, “Oh yum! Deviled eggs! Who brought those?” This was not so they could immediately thank the kind soul, but a way to know whether or not they were actually going to be safe to eat.
I’m a huge fan of potluck dinners where everyone brings something different. Even the strange experiments ultimately make me smile, though it can be challenging to politely avoid them. Any time people come together to share whatever food they felt like making, it’s a truly wonderful occasion. Food can the make the moments you spend with others so much more memorable. Whether it’s truly amazing, definitively horrid or falling quietly somewhere in between. It’s something beautiful. And a plate full of deviled eggs is a sure sign that fun times are ahead. Even if they end up tasting like a creamy pickle.