In my world, eggs have three uses; they’re good for scrambling, dyeing or throwing. Which is why every Easter I’m faced with same dilemma: what to do with the three-dozen hardboiled eggs I painstakingly dyed with my daughter?
Mom suggested deviled eggs.
You can’t eat an egg that’s been sitting on freshly fertilized grass, steaming under the Savannah sun for three hours after some runny-nosed kid drops it into a basket that’s been collecting dust in an attic for twelve months. I am, after all, the girl who puts liquid hand sanitizer at every entrance into my home (my daughter calls it “magic soap” but my husband calls it “paper cut finder”). Which is why we dye three-dozen eggs, but hide plastic ones for the Easter egg hunt. Let’s face it, there’s no incentive to find hardboiled eggs. No kid wants to crack open an egg and suck down a warm, pasty ball of yolk. But you fill your yard with hermetically sealed plastic eggs holding individually wrapped Tootsie Rolls and you have yourself a salmonella-free cage fight.
Even if you aren’t concerned about the salmonella factor, you may question the old schoolishness of deviled eggs. Like shag carpet and green bean casserole (yes, the one topped with tater tots), deviled eggs are so 1970s. The urbanites who bring crostini and prosciutto-wrapped melon to the cocktail parties snicker at my mom’s potlucky deviled eggs. But while their crostini stales and prosciutto dries, Mom’s empty egg plate spins like a 45.
So I take Mom’s advice and pull up Paula’s recipe for Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs, which only calls for six ingredients and takes 15 minutes to prepare. With my eggs already hardboiled, I’m halfway there.
That is, until I realize that Brad and Angelina could buy five more kids in the time it takes me to peel 36 eggs.
One hour and 48 minutes later (I timed it) my hands are so torn up from peeling that I can barely mash the yolks. Then comes my first deviled-egg dilemma: Miracle Whip or mayonnaise? Where you stand on this issue says as much about you as your political affiliation. I converted to Miracle Whip when I got married, but my parents have remained staunch followers of mayonnaise. When they came to visit, they purchased a squeezable off-brand vat of the stuff and it has remained untouched in my fridge ever since. I’m a practical girl, so I opt to make my army of eggs from the cast-off mayo.
Not counting the nearly two-hour Peelapalooza, the recipe comes together quite nicely. I invite my husband—a lover of all things retro, such as Wham! and Carrie Fisher—to take the first bite.
“Holy hell that’s hot!” he says.
Surely he’s mistaken. I try a bite and my mouth nearly ignites.
But why would Paula do me wrong?
I go back over the ingredients one by one. When I pull the off-brand mayo from the fridge, I discover my error. This mayo is horseradish sauce. Who would buy a 55-gallon drum of horseradish sauce and leave it in my fridge? My parents.
We eat up all 36 eggs with the help of some friends and a big glass of milk to cut the burn. If Paula’s eggs are traditionally deviled, mine are downright satanic.