Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 119

F L AV O R S

lox, Italian prosciutto, Spanish chorizo,
and even semi-sweet chocolate.
In our part of Appalachia, a
church supper without deviled eggs would be cause for
deep disappointment and
worry over the future of
the region's cuisine. At
our monthly church luncheons in Jonesborough,
Tennessee, there may be
some shards of meatloaf
left over or the green
bean casseroles may not
be completely cleaned
out, but those deviled egg
dishes are emptied every
time.
Billie Van Dyke, owner
of The Blue Willow Inn in
Social Circle, Georgia, says
"Protocol dictates that a true
southern lady owns several deviled egg dishes to properly display this southern favorite." At our
church, the dish is as closely identified
with the cook as the eggs themselves, be
that cook male or female. We know exactly
who tops her eggs with chopped dill, and we
know who is partial to caper brine.
Like a lot of Southern cooks, Billie adds sweet
pickle relish to her egg filling. Sometimes she'll
even double down, deviling eggs with deviled
ham. She pours white sauce over them, sprinkles
them with breadcrumbs, and runs them into the
oven for a few minutes.
Our mothers leaned toward the spartan side,
with the always-on-hand staples of mayonnaise,
mustard, and vinegar. We often used to upset the
symmetry of their crystal deviled egg dishes with
early samplings hours before mealtime.
We've had no issues with the term "deviled,"
but some fundamentalist churches refuse to use
it, opting instead for the word "stuffed." The parents of singer Katy Perry, both Pentecostal ministers, insisted that she call them "angeled eggs."
The term "deviled" hearkens back to the time
when hot pepper and other potent spices and seasonings were used in the filling. The hot pepper
largely disappeared, in favor of ubiquitous sprinklings of sweet paprika. We bring the hot pepper
back, though, in a southwestern version of deviled eggs we've developed. If you do use paprika,
be sure to buy a good Hungarian brand. It should
be bright red-orange.

Southwestern Deviled Eggs
6 large eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large whole pickled jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon brine from the pickled jalapeños
¹/8 teaspoon ground red chilies
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh cilantro
Boil eggs and peel. Cut eggs in half and place cooked yolks in a small bowl.
Mash yolks with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, cumin, jalapeño, and brine.
Mix thoroughly. Fill egg white halves and garnish with ground chilies and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate.

Even in the South, deviled eggs are harder to
find on restaurant menus than one might think.
They're especially scarce at blue-collar restaurants, strangely. Cafeteria lines still feature them,
but if we're looking for restaurant deviled eggs,
our best bets are usually the more upscale places.
Knox Mason in Knoxville, Tennessee, stuffs them
with Tennessee chow-chow. At the Husk restaurants, run by Wise, Virginia, native Sean Brock,
deviled eggs are prepared with smoked trout. Sam
Beall, the late owner of Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, often insisted on adding freshly
foraged mountain ramps to his restaurant's deviled eggs.
Food stylist Rick Ellis, who grew up in Virginia
and North Carolina and whose clients range from
Burger King to the film The Age of Innocence,
offers some good advice to deviled egg makers of any skill level. "Be a little bold here," he
says. "The flavors dull slightly when the eggs are
chilled." To his recipe for a dozen medium eggs,
he adds a half stick of butter.
Using a fork to eat a deviled egg seems somehow
stilted when they're perfect for the fingers.

These deviled eggs
are reminiscent of the
American Southwest.
They get their flavor and
character from ground
cumin, pickled jalapeños,
and fresh cilantro. Ground
red chilies replace paprika.

Fred and Jill Sauceman study and celebrate the
foodways of Appalachia and the South from their
home in Johnson City, Tennessee.

JULY/AUGUST 2018

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 3
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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