There’s nothing quite like a Sunday in the South. Some of my favorite memories from childhood Sundays are covered-dish lunches at my grandmother’s house. Our table would be covered with a variety of delicious recipes, each in its own colorful dish. I remember as a little girl being especially intrigued by the deviled egg plates. These plates have always caught my eye, and I’m constantly on the lookout for unique styles when I’m in my local antique store. I love the oval shaped cups in the plate that hold the eggs. Why in the South, no household can run properly without egg plates. I think I have at least two in my cabinet!
While deviled egg plates are unique to the United States, deviled eggs originated in ancient Rome. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Romans served boiled eggs with spices as a first course, while the first instances of stuffed eggs occurred in Spain in the 13th century. Early recipes instructed women to pound the boiled egg yolks with spices and then stuff the mixture back into the egg whites.
Although deviled eggs have been around for centuries, the term “devil” was not coined until the late 1700s. British cookbooks used the word “devil” to refer to spicy dishes or dishes that were broiled or fried. The term may be British in origin, but we Southerners have made deviled eggs completely our own. This is especially evident through the uniqueness of deviled egg plates.
The classic deviled egg plate, as we know it today, peaked in popularity during the 1950s. Many Southern families pass these plates down as family heirlooms. The women in my family always had a deviled egg plate for every holiday or occasion. Every time I make deviled eggs, I’m transported back to my childhood Sundays and the simple joys of meals with the people I love.
Here is my recipe for Deviled Eggs. This is written giving much freedom in the ingredients. I don’t put onions in mine, and that might violate a southern rule, who knows.
- 6 large eggs
- 2 Tbs. Mayonnaise
- 1 Tsp. Mustard, you just need a small taste
- 1 heaping spoonful Pickle Relish (Sweet or Dill, your choice)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring eggs and cold water to cover to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Drain saucepan, and fill with ice and cold water. Let stand until eggs are cool. Tap eggs firmly on counter until shell is cracked all over. Gently peel under cool running water. Halve eggs lengthwise, separating yolks and whites. In a medium bowl mash the yolks (I use a fork), mayonnaise, mustard, and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon egg yolk mixture into egg white halves, and sprinkle with paprika. Chill and serve.
- You can also add finely chopped onions, chives, or anything you like. Make it your own. Your family will love these.
Do you have a treasured deviled egg plate?