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03/12/2022

~The History of Deviled in Deviled Eggs & Other Food~

IMG_4949Everyone knows what deviled eggs are, most folks know what deviled ham and deviled crab is, and, what's up with devil's food cake?  I always say that behind every recipe there is a story or a history, and, foods referred to as "deviled" are no exception.  While the origin of deviled eggs or any other deviled delight can't be pinned down to one person or one location, one thing food historians know for sure is:  the name emerged in the 18th century and evolved over time.

The word deviled first appeared in print in 1786 and was used to describe any highly-seasoned fried or boiled dish.  By the 1800s it had evolved to be the commonly-used culinary term for any fiery-hot-spiced fare or condiment.  The obvious use of the word deviled was in reference to the symbolism of the devil and the excessive heat of hell.  Into the 19th century, the word deviled began to infer hot seasonings, like cayenne pepper or mustard -- deviled = hot and spicy.

Th-1In the context of modern day marketing, the word deviled has a much broader meaning.  Deviled eggs aside, it is applied to a number of spicy dishes, with deviled ham being a popular one.  According to the Underwood company, in 1868, Underwood's sons began experimenting with a new product made from ground ham and special seasonings, dubbing the process for preparing the ham "deviling". The little red Underwood devil was born shortly afterward and in 1870 the Underwood Company was granted a patent on the logo, which is the oldest existing trademark still in use in the USA.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c78f918f970b 2As for the devil being in dark chocolate devil's food cake, that simply refers to the cake's sinfully delicious nature, or, quite possibly, because its dark color and heavy texture is the direct opposite of the white and light angel food cake. Food historians are quick to point out, however, that due to a chemical reaction between early varieties of cocoa powder (today's cooks use processed cocoa) and baking soda, the original cake was red in color, hence the devilish name.

Try GrandMa's Incredible Edible Defiled Eggs:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7a52749970bOr, my Jamaican Curried Deviled Eggs w/Mango Chutney:

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d12d650a970cOr, my Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs:

6a0120a8551282970b0282e1492434200bAnd, my Pretty-in-Pink Pickled & Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs

6a0120a8551282970b0282e1490ffe200b"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)

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