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I always begin by sorting the eggs I might use .I like to have them close to the same size. When I’ve chosen the ones I’ll use (and an extra or two, usually), I leave them out for a bit so that they will reach room temperature. Peeling hard-boiled fresh eggs can be “devilishly difficult,” and bringing them to room temperature before cooking is one way to make peeling easier. If you are in a hurry, running warm water over the eggs is another way to warm them up.
Once the eggs are peeled, cut them in half length-wise, and slip out the yolk. Mash the yolks with (for 6 eggs) a shake or two of salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of yellow mustard and 2 tablespoons of salad dressing—just enough to moisten the filling. Scoop the filling back into the hollow of the egg white, shake a little paprika on top (or maybe some diced chives), and refrigerate the eggs until you are ready to serve them.
When I arrange the eggs, I think of Miss Anna Crandall. Miss Crandall was an older lady in our community when I was a young girl. She was a retired school teacher, part-time librarian, church clerk—everyone knew her. When I married, my husband was in the service, I was a college student and we needed everything: sheets, towels, kitchen utensils and appliances. Miss Crandall gave us a deviled egg plate. When we moved into our first tiny home, the egg plate stayed packed up; it wasn’t until some years later that I unpacked it and began to use it. By then, I had forgotten who had given us which of the household furnishings—but I remembered who had given us the egg plate. It’s not something that I use everyday—but it’s something I use every time I make deviled eggs—and I think of Miss Crandall each time: I remember her when I fill the platter.
My mother has a deviled egg platter, too. I remember seeing it at the church and family functions for years; it was a wedding gift to her (in 1941) from Miss Anna Crandall.
I think of these things as I mash the eggs, make the filling, and arrange the eggs just so. I have received invitations to a couple of summer weddings: I hope the newlyweds have the same fond memories of me 40 years from now when they are making deviled eggs for a gathering and placing them on the plate they’ve received for a wedding gift.