Welcome to November 2nd, and today is…
Devilled Egg Day
‘A culinary tradition that started with the ancient Romans, this variation got its name in the 18th century when “devil” started to mean something spicy or zesty. If you haven’t tried them, this is the best day to start.’
So just what is a devilled egg? Yes, I know you can’t contain your excitement. Well, devilled eggs are hard-boiled eggs, shelled, cut in half, and filled with the hard-boiled egg's yolk mixed with other stuff like mayonnaise and mustard, curry powder, paprika, chilli or just about any other ingredient you fancy. Devilled eggs are usually served cold as a side or appetiser, or as a cold main course with salad and is a very common food at some parties – particularly at Abigail’s. Yes, devilled eggs (along with cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks, twiglets, and prawn cocktail) are one of those seminal seventies foods we all love to poke fun at.
Devilled eggs were one of Fanny Craddock’s specialities. She made them in the usual way, but then added green food colouring to her eggs to make them just that little bit more devilish. Graham Kerr, the galloping gourmet, added a mashed anchovy to his devilled eggs and Keith Floyd added whisky (but then he added whisky to everything). Perhaps it was the anchovy that made the gourmet gallop.
Personally I can take them or leave them but it seems that Pope Gregory IX loved them so much that he forbade the eating of the delicacy to all but the Inquisition and any other poor soul eating them was tried as a heretic. Now who would have expected that? Not the Inquisition I’m sure. Of course it is rumoured that Pope Gregory (or ‘il Papa uovo’ as he became known) was in league with the devil and constantly surround by a miasma of sulfurous odours. Of course it could always have been the devilled eggs as they make you fart.
Perhaps the most devilish of devilled eggs, eggs at their most satanic, were created by Hieronymus Bosch and Breugel. There are eggs all over the place in their paintings and the eggs that they painted really were devilish, begging the question: ‘what came first the devil or the egg’? Was it the egg, or was it the devil? I’ll leave you to ponder that theological conundrum.
So there we have it: the devilled egg; favourite of Popes and painters, delight of egg mangling chefs, and guaranteed to give you the wind. Now rush to your kitchen and get those eggs boiling. After all, not every day is devilled egg day.