When we have holiday celebrations or visitors over, you
can pretty well be sure that devilled eggs will be gone pretty quickly. (This is also how
Easter Eggs often end up at our place!)
Boil about a dozen eggs then run - the egg, silly, not you
- under cold water, and let cool. (Never boil your eggs over 10 minutes, though - if
you do the yolks will discolor to the point of becoming a greenish color. This is a
chemical change that I can't remember the explanation for, but, believe me, it's true.)
Peel and cut in half.
Remove the yolks.
Mash yolks with a potato masher until they are smooth and creamy.
Add some mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and your other favorite seasonings to
Spoon fillings into the whites' shells.
Garnish with olives, paprika, etc.
Eat the leftover filling.
Serve the ones you manage to save or rescue from the hungry
hordes supposedly helping you in the kitchen onto a nice platter.
Clean up the mess once your helpers leave. Enjoy.
EASTERS AND EGG ROLLING
Egg recipes make me think of the Easters we
have celebrated in our families. Scotland is a 'cold, cold country' as my Mother would
say. Easter, to my remembrance, always seemed to come in the early Spring which, although
cold, was also very colorful. I remember a favorite place to go for a picnic was to
Balmerino, over in Fife.
We would take the train over the Tay, and I
was always nervous going over that long bridge, even as an adult. You see, around the
beginning of the century on a very wild, stormy night, the worst in history as a matter of
fact. the event occurred which became known as 'The Tay Bridge Disaster. ' Apparently, the
bridge then was not as sturdy as needed to withstand what must have been almost hurricane
force winds. The bridge shook and waved over the wide river, the rain beat down, and the
wind howled as the train to Dundee left Tayport to cross the bridge.
Just as the train with its full complement of
passengers, (men, women, children, the train driver, the porter - everybody coming home to
Dundee or perhaps going on to Aberdeen, Perth or other points north and west and
possibly looking forward to meeting their loved ones, enjoying shortbread and biscuits and
hot tea as a little supper in front of their cheerful and warm firesides before going on
to bed), was approaching the middle of their crossing, the bridge totally collapsed. The
bridge crumbled, the train went down into the wild river, and all souls were lost.
The alarm was raised when the train did not
arrive at Tay Bridge Station and a futile search and rescue was attempted. There was great
mourning the next day, I think it was a Sunday, and the River Tay was never again
considered simply a peaceful river flowing at its firth (or bay) there in Dundee into the
I think this story meant so much to me
because, besides my Granny imprinting the stories of Scotland deep into my heart and
character, there was a sweet, little, old lady (named Miss Laurie) who lived in the close
(or entryway) into our tenement who was a little girl, I think aged about 9, when The
Disaster took place. Miss Laurie must have been in her 80's and 90's as I was growing up
there at 7 Hill Street. She, too, told me this story in all its bleak reality and sadness.
So, even though a new, stronger bridge was built very shortly after (which still stands
today) the foundations of the Old Tay Bridge remained alongside the New Bridge as a stark
reminder of that night's dark events. I couldn't help but be reminded (and, believe me, I
was nervous) that the Tay could be treacherous. I was always happy to get to the other
Anyhow, back to Balmerino. Balmerino was a
little town outside of Wormit with a wonderful woodland full of snowdrops, crocuses and
ferns. We would go there, picnic probably on cold pies, bridies, biscuits and fruit and
orangeade and I would roll my eggs. (I don't remember the Easter Bunny coming to Scotland
and hiding eggs or presents - this must be an American thing - or a German thing which
came to America because I remember the 'Oster Hasse' being really big when we lived there
when your Daddy was in the Navy, along with branches decorated with painted egg shells.)
But I do remember my grandmother making a
special pot of tea just to color my boiled eggs in. I remember, year after year, thinking
that those were the most beautiful brown eggs I ever saw. And I knew, thanks to what I had
been taught primarily by my mother and grandmother because we didn't go to Church much,
that I was rolling these eggs in remembrance of the stone that was rolled away from Jesus'
tomb that first Easter morning.
Actually, we went on our picnics on Saturdays
because my grandmother (remember she was raised by her very Protestant grandmother, Jessie
Halkett Beat) insisted that the Catholic Easter was on Sunday and forbid that we have
anything to do with Catholic practices!
Anyhow, after the picnic my Granny would get
out her trowel and her old newspapers and big bag she had brought especially for this
purpose, and start to dig up a nice collection of the flowers and the ferns - she really
loved these green, wavy ferns - the bigger the better. Carefully loaded into her bag in
the damp newspaper to protect their tender roots and bulbs, my Granny would transport
these back to our tenement where she (amazingly to me) would successfully transplant them
into the little flower plot she had at the foot of our tenement stairs.
My Granny certainly had a green thumb. She
could make anything bloom. I don't remember anything growing inside the house but
geraniums. We had two bedroom windows and she really kept those full of geraniums. They
are a beautiful plant but they always seemed a little dusty in our home. My poor mother
had allergies and I remember her sneezing all over the place when those flowers were in
their blooming phase. Geraniums are pretty much an outdoor plant here in Phoenix.
Everytime l see them I'm reminded of life at 7 Hill Street.
As far as Easter in this country is
concerned, we've always celebrated it on a Sunday. But I'm afraid it's become too easy to
focus on that imaginary rabbit. I remember one year driving home from Church and I guess I
was a little annoyed about the emphasis on candy and gifts and hop, hop, hop. There was a
dead rabbit on 39th Avenue, close to the police station. For one thing, that was a
surprise because around 1989 the cotton fields in our neighborhood were being concreted
over into homes and ASU West (and I am glad the university is close by) and thus
destroying the habitat of the coyotes and rabbits which were still here when we came in
1987. Anyhow, I saw the dead rabbit and said to my car load of children, "Oh, too
bad. I think I just killed the Easter Bunny." I think it was Adriana who was
tremendously upset (correct me, Xochitl, if it was you) that the Easter Bunny in
particular was the poor dead creature. Alys, Elisabeth, Stephanie and I had to work really
hard that Sunday to convince the little ones that the Easter Bunny was resurrected that
very Sunday and would be back in full force with eggs and baskets and bunny trails by next
Every year, City Angus (my elocution and speech and drama
teacher) would put on a big recital by all her students. I always had a solo performance
and was also one of her principal voices in her verse speaking choir. This was one of the
early pieces we performed. I must have been around nine or ten, and remember how excited I
was to be wearing "stage makeup" ah, the smell of the greasepaint, the
roar of the crowd! I especially loved the red dots the makeup lady put on the inside of
our eyes to make them look bigger, performing under the lights, and having to use
Ponds cold cream to remove the makeup before going to bed I remember I
insisted on wearing the makeup all the way home on the bus both nights of the recital!
I wish I was a little egg,
Way up in a tree;
A-sittin in my little nest,
As rotten as could be.
I wish that you would come along
And stand beneath that tree;
And I would up and bust myself
And cover thee with me.
Two little Easter celebrants, Xochitl and
Adriana, Phoenix, Arizona about 1989