Where Does "Deviled" Come From?

Where Does "Deviled" Come From?

We all love deviled eggs, but where does the term "deviled" originate? Did Satan himself invent deviled eggs? Oh, goodness, no. The truth is far less interesting.

The first sighting of "devil" in print as relating to food occurred in the 18th century. At that point, it was a noun signifying a spicy dish. Speculation is that the word somehow grew from a connection between hot food and the mythological hotness of Hell.

From the 1786 Oxford English Dictionary:
"Devil...A name for various highly-seasoned broiled or fried dishes, also for hot ingredients."

By the 1800s, devil became a verb meaning to make food with spicy ingredients, from curry to mustard to cayenne. Despite the scary sounding name, though, deviled dishes were really popular! Sounds like folks were a bunch of spice-eatin' heathens.

Deviled ham (and other meat products) seem to have been the original deviled products, with deviled eggs only becoming "a thing" in the late 19th century. Cayenne or mustard were the standard egg-deviling spices. Paprika only appears in published recipes in the early 1900s.

Today's standard egg recipe is less spicy and devilish than the original, but the concept of adding a creamy filling to the inside of a hard-boiled egg remains the current idea of deviled eggs.

For more devilish history: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodeggs.html

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