Deviled eggs, loaded with flavor matched exotic spices, used to be a specialty of mine. This was however the last batch I made, for probably a long long time.
The process to make the perfect deviled eggs starts with feeding chicken a properly balanced diet.
I’m a fairly good cook and given enough time, I can put something nice and special on the table. Not that it makes any difference in relationship to deviled eggs, but I just wanted you to know that I know my way around a kitchen.
So when I was recruited to make the deviled eggs and the meatballs for our daughter’s Baby Shower last Saturday at the Amelia Hotel at the Beach, I timely prepared and bought 3 dozen eggs Friday afternoon and some spices and herbs I use in my particular recipe.
Now the boiling process for perfect hard boiled eggs requires a little hands on attention. You can not just dump them in the water and walk away for 15 minutes. As the water is slowly getting to the boiling point you need to constantly roll the eggs in the water in order for the yolk to harden pretty much in the center of the eggs. Nothing is worse than a boiled egg that has a half inch wall of white on one side and has the yolk shine through on the other side. That’s a no-no.
After 9 minutes of boiling I take the pot off the stove, get rid of the scalding water and poor ice cold water over the eggs to shock the egg loose from the shell. It’s what I learned when I was 8 years old and it has always worked to perfection for me; softly break the shell and peel it off without a problem. I may have done a million eggs in that same manner since those early days. Never a problem.
Yet in recent years I have noticed increasingly that the simple task of peeling hardboiled eggs is not simple anymore. An increasing number of shells just don’t want to be peeled off and instead of leaving a smooth, soft, whole surface on the egg, they look like moon craters coming home from a rough Saturday night at the neighborhood’s biker bar.
Now I know that we’re living in an era, where half of the things we new when we were twenty have become extinct by the age of forty, and half of the things we know at forty did not exist when we were twenty, but boiling eggs should not be one of those things. I should not have to re-learn how to boil and peel hardboiled eggs!
Now I grew up on 10 acres on the outskirts of town and we had a couple of dozen free roaming chicken at any given time. That does not make me an expert on eggs, but I know a thing or two about the basics. My grandfather, who was the real expert on chickens told me to feed them some greens every day because the chicken need some honest food to turn eggs into perfect balls of protein. And with the right food intake the eggs come out with a reasonably hard outer shell and a thin sliver of inner coating.
If that is the case than peeling a hard boiled egg is a matter of 5-10 seconds.
Imagine my irritation when it takes 3-4 minutes per egg as I peel minuscule parts off and the inner skin keeps sticking to the egg white. In my days if you needed 5 to 6 minutes to peel 3 dozen eggs you were slow and out of a job (yes we did contests!).
Now Imagine 1 hour and 12 minutes… and you understand why this was the last time for a long while, that I make deviled eggs.
While looking at the bowl of deformed little eggs sitting next to the now two dozen good eggs, I also realized that I should be more aware of what I learned about taste, quality and health aspects of food when I was young. I know I don’t have much of a choice, nor time in these day to spend hours looking at the small print on cans and boxes, but if the outer shell of an egg becomes thinner than the inner coat, I think it may be time to be a bit more cautious with what I put in my mouth.