Friday, March 28, 2008

Incredible, edible

If I could have only one food for the rest of my life, I'd be hard pressed to pick anything I enjoy more than eggs. Always smooth, satisfying, and creamy, eggs speak to me of home cooking, food prepared for everyday and special occasions alike. Eggs mean abundance -- they always come in batches. They're the perfect opportunity for spice and condiments like black pepper, sour cream, paprika, hot sauce.

I like eggs just about any way -- poached, scrambled, sunny-side-up, in an omelette. (I really like poached eggs, since my family rarely ate them at home and I associate them with hotels.) But my favorite way to have eggs is deviled. Hard-cooked eggs in and of themselves are nearly perfect; I could lunch every day on crusty bread, hard cheese, tart apples, peanut butter and hard boiled eggs with just a little salt. But when you mix the yolks with dijon mustard and mayonnaise and spoon them back into the perfect half-globe cups formed by the split whites, there's nothing I want more. You can put a little sweet pickle relish in if you want -- that additional crunch and salty brininess is welcome, in small doses.

I can't handle hard-cooked eggs without thinking of my mother's potato salad, which she sometimes let me help make. I see a brown stoneware bowl heaped high with boiled potatoes and white hard-cooked eggs, and my childhood self perched on a stool peeling the eggs one by one, then peeling and dicing the potatoes.

After Easter there are always hard-cooked eggs on hand, which provides the perfect excuse for breaking out deviled eggs, the perfect picnic food, a little ahead of season. Tonight I had Archer and Cady Gray doing their best approximation of an East Lawn egg roll in our hallway to warm up the eggs from the refrigerator and keep them out from underfoot while I peeled. A few days ago when I made our first post-Easter deviled eggs, I used four eggs, two halves for each of us, reasoning that I'd give Cady Gray and Archer one half each and then eat their other half myself. But they foiled me by buying the deviled egg hype I'd been building and demanding the other half. So this time I over-deviled in order to be sure to have plenty for me.


Doc Thelma said...

My father was a great egg poacher and always made them for me when I was sick. To this day, when I feel under the weather, I get this urge to boil some salted water, make a whirlpool with a slotted spoon and drop a couple in.

the secret knitter said...

I don't think I've ever eaten eggs prepared in any of those ways. I'm not sure how I developed this egg avoidance--nobody else in my family has it. I was probably forced to try scrambled eggs when I was young, but that's the extent of my experience with them. I guess I don't know what I'm missing.