The term "deviled eggs" first appeared in 1786, according to "The Oxford English Dictionary." "Deviled" in a recipe means it has a hot ingredient - hot as in Satan's fire.
Here's the real reason for the label "deviled eggs." The day before Easter, I boiled 21 eggs. Yes, I followed all tips for easy peeling. Buy old eggs - not rotten, but old enough to be suspect. Place eggs in pan with cold water. Bring water to boil and boil one minute; then set pan off heat and cover for 15 or 20 minutes. Next, cover eggs with ice water. When eggs are cool, pour out water and shake pan vigorously until you've shaken the devil out of the eggs. Eggs should be cracked all over. Peel eggs under running water, and the shell will slide right off.
One egg out of 10 might peel easily, but the devil's still in the shell, which clings tenaciously to the egg. The eggs are all cracked, but the peeler is now half-cracked and might be prone to say a few nasty words as 1,000 tiny pieces of eggshell clog the sink drain. To peel one egg requires about 10 minutes. You do the math for 21 eggs of agony.
Sue Elmore, my neighbor, is a kitchen magician. Every Easter, she makes for us two melt-in-your-mouth chocolate eggs filled with a heavenly peanut-butter concoction. No more tormented eggs for me.
The chicken came before the egg, and whenever I've read chicken-breast recipes, I've noticed each offers the same advice. The chicken is done when the juices run clear. If you can find juice in a chicken breast before, during or after cooking, you're a kitchen magician. The first author offering the clear-juice tip must have been sipping too much wine during meal preparation. More like sheep than foxes, we humans follow the leader, so other writers copied the same juicy tip. Ignore it.
Chicken breasts need skillets, so when I purchase another Teflon skillet that according to some experts can emit deadly fumes, the pan soon begins to shed pieces of concentrated poison. I replace the skillet. My last Teflon baby was expensive, but it quickly warped over low heat. It began to rock to and fro even when I fried eggs. It was time to shop again for the perfect skillet.
Later, standing beside an elderly lady as we both looked at a display of pans, I said, "If I can lift that iron skillet, I'll buy it and see if it works better than Teflon. My family makes fun of me each time I bring another skillet home."
She said, "Honey, I love my iron skillet, but you must season it." I could do that, and the large red, white and blue label with the words "Made in U.S.A." did the trick. Following directions, I greased the skillet with shortening and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.
The next morning, I fried bacon in my iron skillet. It stuck - big time. I scraped the bottom with a plastic spatula, greased the pan again and fried eggs. Half the eggs remained in the skillet. I haven't even mentioned how iron can rust. It's no wonder my husband, Bill, and I are regulars at Diehl's restaurant in Nitro.
Contact kitchen magician Dolly Withrow at ritew...@aol.com.