But honorable. One token Yankee, one Alabaman, one Georgian, and two Texans have blind taste-tested the Dew Deviled Egg recipes and selected a winner: Atlantan, Melinda Ennis-Roughton took first place in the Dew Deviled Eggstravaganza with her original horseradish-laced recipe. (She was eggcited, eggstatic, eggcetera.) Recipes submitted by Martha (Grace) Fagan and Kathy Trocheck, (AKA, Mary Kay Andrews) also of Atlanta, tied for second place. There was no fowl play. The test kitchen did not vote.

Melinda Ennis-Roughton is the winner

The Devil is in the Details and “To Taste”

Take it from the test kitchen: every submission was eggcellent. (Honorable mentions go to Pat Snyder of Nashville, Mary Civille, and Mary Lee, both of Atlanta.) Every deviled egg recipe was prepared precisely as provided, down to the specific brands indicated by the cook, but all were lacking the finely tuned palate of each provider on the most essential instruction: To Taste. In other words – I suspect, they were just shy of the unique “eggistential” experience. (This is a lesson for the “test” kitchen; next time, contributors must make the recipe themselves.)

Not surprisingly, there were similarities in the basic ingredients – the eggs, for instance, all of which were generously provided by Eggland’s Best in a time and frustration saving fashion: Eight dozen pre-boiled, pre-peeled, and pre-perfect eggs. Hallelujah! (Yes, ladies, Eggland sells them this way in tidy little packages in the egg section.) For the math challenged, eight dozen eggs yield 192 deviled eggs. Obvious other similarities included mayonnaise and mustard, yet there were nuances: Duke’s versus Hellman’s. Dry mustard, yellow mustard, Dijon, or both. Beyond these basics were the “details.” In other words, when each egg began to form its own personality with meaningful differences. Some recipes called for sweet relish, some dill. Chipolte peppers? Sure, Mary Lee. Celery seed? Yes, Kathy Trocheck. Homemade mayonnaise? (Begrudgingly, the test kitchen made homemade mayonnaise – thank you, Grace Fagan. It was worth it.) Anchovy paste? Accommodated, Pat Snyder. White wine vinegar? Yes, Mary Civille. Cider vinegar? Sure. All but one provider requested the ubiquitous paprika sprinkling over the lot.

Which Came First, and Other Egg Chronology

Dew test kitchen hostess, Terri Evans explains the rules to Kristie Macrakis and Chrys Graham, while Arthur Cater takes a taste rest.

“Yankee” judge, Kristie Macrakis of Boston, a Ph.D in history, and a professor at Georgia Tech, was fittingly compelled to pursue the history of deviled eggs and peppered judges and the test kitchen with questions: “Where do they come from?” she asked. “Chickens” was not a sufficient answer for her, nor was she dissuaded when the tables were turned by the mysterious question, “Which came first, the chicken, or…”

For Kristie and others, here’s some insight in to how deviled eggs were first hatched. “Stuffed” eggs date back to Ancient Rome, when they first filled with such ingredients as raisins and honey, which may explain the reputed vomitoriums. The deviling of such did not begin until the 18th century, at which time they became known as deviled eggs. “Deviled…Any variety of dishes prepared with hot seasonings, such as cayenne or mustard. The word derives from the association with the demon who dwells in hell. In culinary context the word first appears in print in 1786; by 1820 Washington Irving has used the word in his Sketchbook to describe a highly seasoned dish similar to a curry. Deviled dishes were very popular throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries, especially for seafood preparations and some appetizers.” —The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (pages 110-111)

Dewing Good and Being a Good Egg

Dew readers may recall Lee Leslie’s unfortunate account of homeless men who were “egged” in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, entitled “Lessons of War.” Recently, many of the same men received eggs in an altogether different style. This time, over 100 deviled eggs, in a variety of flavors were hand delivered to several hungry men. Lacking context of the contest, their unanimous response was, “Thank you, but you know, they all taste different.”

Who Needs to Be Egged On? Good Eggs who need encouragement:  Barack Obama comes to mind after finding his grown up voice during his recent healthcare speech before congress, and for being so cool under fire from Joe Wilson; Maine senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins could use some encouragement on the healthcare bill; Boyd Lewis for his recent, and brave Dew story, Southern to the Bone; Doug Cumming for his reasoned and personally revealing letter to his congressman; Bill Maher for asking Obama to stand up for the 70% of Americans who aren’t crazy, and deviled egg makers everywhere. Please add to the list. Who should be virtually egged? There are some obvious answers here. Joe Wilson still tops my own list. Some have suggested Sarah Palin still ranks there. Alabama Dew reader, Gita says her new “faux Democrat”congressman, Bobby Bright deserves a toss. Feel free to add to the list.

Melinda Ennis-Roughton is a LikeTheDew writer, reader, commenter, and all around good egg. Here’s her recipe:

The grand prize package included a dozen, dozen eggs for Melinda's nest egg.

Six boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half. Scoop out the yolks, and mash, then mix with:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoon Canola Mayo (may add a bit more if eggs appear to be dry–depends on the mayonnaise used)
  • 1 tablespoon Grainy Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard
  • 3 teaspoons Prepared Horseradish (add an extra 1/2 teaspoon if you want a stronger kick)
  • Finely chopped dill pickles or dill pickle relish to taste
  • Mix ingredients and stuff in eggs
  • Sprinkle top with paprika

Makes one dozen deviled eggs.

A note of thanks to Katie Trocheck Abel, and a share for Dew cooks: Katie says, “spoon the recipe into a large Ziploc bag and seal it. Cut off a very small piece of the bottom corner of the bag and use it as a pastry bag to fill the eggs.”

And from Susan Soper, assuming you’re not starting with pre-boiled, pre-peeled eggs: “Here’s the secret to perfectly boiled, easy-to-peel eggs every time — compliments of George M. Soper, who had a way at the stove. Put eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Put them on medium heat and when they boil, let them go for a few minutes then turn off the heat and let them sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and cool them, cover them with cold water and let them sit for another 10-15 minutes before putting them in the fridge. Seems to never fail; they peel like a dream, always so satisfying when the shells come right off in big chunks.”

Terri Evans

Terri Evans

Terri Evans is 25+year marketing communications professional, a partner at LeslieEvansCreative and Bcauz marketing (cause-related). She has been a food columnist for Atlanta Intown and Atlanta Buckhead newspapers, and a contributing writer for Georgia Magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and other publications. Evans was also a finalist in a Southern Living cooking competition. She is (and has long been) at work on a novel set in the South (of Georgia) and the South (of France). She's always cookin' up somethin'.