History of the Deviled Egg - Why do we call them that?
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard
of or eaten deviled eggs. And, if you’re like me,
you absolutely love the taste of deviled eggs. (That's why
I have even made a website about them!) But, what you may
not know is the history behind deviled eggs. Well, I thought
it would be fun to discuss the history of the term “deviled
egg” for the curious and scholarly.
The origin of deviled eggs can't be pinned down to any one
specific person, date or place. It is a culinary amalgamation
of history and taste. The actual concept of deviled eggs begins
with Ancient Rome. Spicy stuffed eggs were known in 13th century
Andalusia. The name is an 18th century invention.
According to many historic cookbooks, the practice of boiling
eggs, removing the yolks, combining the yolks with spices
(such as mustard and cayenne pepper) and then refilling the
shells with that mixture was common by the end of the 16th
century and was the "norm" by the 17th century.
But what does the term "deviled" actually mean?
The word “deviled” first appeared in print in
1786 and was used to describe highly seasoned fried or boiled
dishes. By the 1800's, the term "deviled" evolved
and was often used as a culinary term to describe fiery hot
spiced dishes or condiments. The use of the word was presumably
adopted due to the symbolism of the devil and the excessive
heat of, well, you know where. In the 19th century, the word
deviled continued to be used to describe hot seasonings, more
specifically cayenne or mustard, and again brought with it
the connotation of that "hot spot down under"—something
hot and spicy.
In modern language, however, the word deviled has a borader
meaning and is typically defined as a food that is dark, rich,
chocolate, spicily piquant or stimulating item and contains
heavy seasoning. The term is deviled is used to describe eggs,
crab, cakes, and many other dishes.
So, as you can see, the term "deviled" in the context
of cooking has been in use for hundreds of years. Now that
we’ve had a brief discussion of this term, try out my
great deviled egg recipes!