Questions you no doubt have also pondered. No? Well, okay, then here's your chance to get answers without even having to ask yourself the question. Lucky that you clicked on this blog link today, hm?
Rather than do what's become everyday behavior for people with InQuiring Minds, which is turn to the Internet and a search engine to get the answer to questions, I opened my Joy Of Cooking cookbook, a 1976 edition given to me by my mother as a Christmas present, paged back to the index, found the Ds and searched for deviled whatever recipes. I thought I might find a brief explanation about the naming of these recipes but there was none. There were, however, four recipes with Deviled in their title:
~ Butter, for seafood ~ Crab
~ Eggs; in sauce ~ Ham sandwich & cheese
~ Crab and Shrimp ~ Sausage ~ Tomatoes
and the Gator Country Cooks has four Deviled Crab recipes, one Deviled Ham (appetizer) and Deviled Peas.
So now I'm more than curious about this Deviling of food. We've got eggs, crustaceans, do-not-want-to-know-what-the-byproducts stuffed in tubular animal intestines are (that would be the sausage), a sandwich and two veggies. Oh, and don't forget that cake. Apart from sharing a word in their title, what do all of these have in common?
"Cookery: to prepare (food, usually minced) with hot or savory seasoning; to devil eggs."
Aha! Well that made sense. Devil=A crazed being living in Heated Climes=Fiery=Flaming hot.
The 'minced' part seemed odd. Hard to mince the boiled yolk of an egg. And the adjectives "Savory" and "Hot" didn't equate to a Deviled egg, but who am I to question the wisdom of master lexicographer, Daniel Webster, (1782-1852) and the legions who followed in his footsteps and fingerprints?
So the dictionary definition partially answered this Devilish question but not enough to quell my curiosity. At this stage - by now the eggs have been boiled and are cooling - I have to give into saying hello to the Internet and my favorite site for looking into the history of everything from a single day to obscure matters, ie, the history of deviled eggs: www.history.com. Not surprising there are several lengthy paragraphs about preparing eggs this way but for the sake of brevity and you not needing a second cup of coffee to get through this post, I'll share the basics.
What those of us in the United States know as a deviled egg has origins all the way back to ancient Rome, (is there anything that doesn't originate with the Romans??) where eggs were boiled, seasoned with spicy sauces and served at the beginning of a meal to wealthy patricians. So common a custom it had it's own saying; “ab ova usque ad mala”—literally from eggs to apples, or from the beginning of a meal to the end.
Recipes from those early Roman times have boiled eggs seasoned with oil, wine or broth and served with pepper and herbs, and poached eggs spruced up with pine nuts, parsley, pepper, honey, vinegar and broth. Jumping all the way to the 13th century in Andalusia, what is now Spain, the world has its first "stuffed" egg. Cooked yolks were seasoned with cilantro, onion juice, pepper and coriander then bathed in murri, (a sauce made of fermented barley or fish. Yum!) Add a little oil and salt, stuff the mixture into the hollowed egg whites, fasten the halves together with a small stick and sprinkle them with pepper.(WAY more effort than whipping those yolks up with our modern day white and yellow condiments).
Two centuries later the stuffed egg is a European favorite. It wasn't uncommon to find cheese and raisins in the stuffing (thus the first photo in this post),or fry them in oil then slather them with tart sauces made from unripe fruits. Want a desert stuffed egg? Sprinkle with sugar and serve hot. I don't know about you, but I'd have to be in desperate need for a sweet fix to eat one of those.
Makes me wonder if sugared eggs led to chocolate candy eggs...
A lot of history behind the deal with Deviled this and that sorts of food, but none of it answered my question about the cake, er, Food Cake. If you know how Devil's Food Cake got its name, please share!