Slays & Resurrects

Deviled Egg BluesFirst you boil the eggs. I like to avoid the outside of the yolk turning green which I vaguely recall comes from an over long cooking time. Then you stand at the sink and peel the eggs, simultaneously trying to keep the egg in one piece and not get one of those painful slivers of shell under a finger nail. Put the eggs on a paper towel and let them dry.

I learned what I know about making deviled eggs from my mother, Doty. We had deviled eggs at Easter with the baked ham, at Thanksgiving with the roasted turkey, and at Christmas with the pork shoulder. They were also a staple at the many picnics our cash strapped family enjoyed in lieu of restaurant meals when traveling. Pulling off the road we set up at a picnic area and ate our sandwiches, the eggs, and some store bought cookies. Then we ran into the bushes to pee and piled back into the car, never realizing that other folks ate in restaurants and stayed in hotels when traveling. We only visited family, sleeping in the floor or piling 4 or 5 kids into a saggy double bed.

After the eggs dry, cut them in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and put them into a small bowl. They require Duke’s mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and my family, in what can be called an act of sedition, likes a dash of horseradish. Doty would not approve.

In 2003 my mama visited us for the last time. The occasion was the birth of my first grandchild, her first great grandchild, a much ballyhooed event. Those big family meals at holidays had moved to my house years before and when she was here she loved to join in the preparations.  Until that day I had pretended that everything was fine. She was just anxious and too worried over trivialities. That was all.

I handed her the bowl of eggs and I watched her struggle to peel them. I was not going to offer to help and take away her participation in the preparations. I wanted her to have something on that table that she got all the ahhhs for.

Finally she asked me how it was done claiming that it had just been too long since she made a deviled egg. The darkest cloud I had ever known lowered over my head. Something real bad was coming toward us and I feared how it would end.

Mix the yolks with the other ingredients until well blended. My mama used her hand mixer to make an eggy fluff that over filled each egg. Hers were always generously sprinkled with McCormick paprika from the little red and white can. I like to top them with a slice of olive or pickled okra. I was always rebellious.

These days I can’t seem to make deviled eggs without recalling that foreboding and sadness when I got a glimpse of the darkness that was bearing down on us. I call it the deviled egg blues and like a good blues tune the memory both slays me and resurrects me.

Deviled Egg Image: licensed on fotolia © JJAVA #11315822 - then turned blue by the dew.
Nancy Melton

Nancy Melton

Nancy Melton has recently added "writer" to her biography. She works in the health insurance industry which has somehow become public enemy number one these days. She is proudest of her role as a wife, mother and grandmother (although writer comes dang close) and wishes she could still claim to be someone's daughter.

  1. Nancy — oh, my. It started off so simple and then, it hit hard. I am looking forward to more from you!

    1. Nancy Melton

      Thank you so very much! I was so nervous about submitting I had to do it first thing in the morning before I lost my nerve. Now I will have to get up nerve to send another. It is great to know you will be watching out for it!

      1. I know the feeling, about submitting something. I’ve had about 10-12 pieces ready for now… oh, a few years. A couple are absolutely ready. But it takes some kind of courage I don’t seem to have. I remember one grandmother putting the butter on the back of the stove, but the hot coffee pot went into the fridge. I was a child, thought it was so funny! Not quite as funny now…

  2. Frank Povah

    Nancy, I feel the same way whenever I make tomato and onion goop

  3. Looking back, it was when she put the lettuce in the freezer. Your piece really hits home. I like your style.

    1. Nancy Melton

      Thanks so much. We also had a Thanksgiving when all were gathered and the oven had never been turned on. Hardees is pretty good in a fix.

    1. Nancy Melton

      Thanks so much for you comments! This is the first thing I have shared outside my family so I really appreciate your positive remarks.

  4. Really a great article!
    You’re a writer, Nancy.

    The story has quite a few parallels with my mother’s saga. Not too long ago she was still preparing
    meals for my father and whoever else happened to be in the vicinity when it
    came time to eat. I was in that group
    fairly often.

    Her cornbread was the specialty of the house. It was the flat, lacy kind that you could see
    through around the edges. I’ve never
    seen it in a restaurant. Momma tried to
    show me how to make it but it just didn’t work.

    Then about five years ago, she started burning the cornbread. Not too long after that she was cooking
    butterbeans in the pressure cooker and it blew up. It made a pretty good mess and we retired her
    from the kitchen.

    I enjoyed your article very much and look forward to reading
    more of your stuff.

    1. Nancy Melton

      Thanks so much ep. I wish I had that cornbread recipe.

  5. Tears overflowing…many say a fireplace is the heart of a home but for me it’s the kitchen (oh, you lucky folk who have both in the same space). Beautiful essay, evokes memories of time spent at my grandmother’s elbow as she worked her culinary magic. It’s especially touching though, as it heralds my future. Thank you for this sweet thing.

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