July marks my book club’s sixteenth anniversary. Every month we gather in one of our homes, ostensibly to discuss a book, but also to chat, catch up, drink a glass of wine and indulge in tasty snacks. I’ve never been much for groups, but I’ve loved being part of this gathering of women. The toddlers who wandered in and out of our meetings in our early days are in college or college-bound. Several of us were pregnant that first year, and now those babies are getting their driver’s licenses. Liz’s hair is still naturally red, but in recent years the rest of us have had to make the choice: Go gray or go to an excellent colorist?
We meet every month and we talk and we eat and drink. Every year we have a Christmas party, and every year Suzanne brings sugared pecans and something marvelous from the local bakery. Mary Beth makes meatballs and brings several bottles of good wine; my specialties are pimento cheese crackers and deviled eggs. We were sad when Danielle moved to Charlotte four years ago, and if we’re being honest about it, the loss of her Christmas party baked brie ranked high on the list of reasons why.
There’s an epidemic of loneliness in the U.S., which seems especially ironic in this age of hyper-connectivity. The only way to beat it? Gather together and take care of each other. Pass around the plate, feed one another and be fed. If you’re a quilter, join a guild or start a bee. I’ve always said quilting is the only sorority I’ve ever joined. There’s nothing like getting together with a bunch of people who love what you love and understand why you love it.
Below is my recipe for deviled eggs. Today I was working on a new Florence chapter for Friendship Album, 1933; in it, she tells a gentleman friend (and who might that be?) that she’d never had a deviled egg until she went on a picnic with Emmeline. Emmeline’s cook, Cora, made deviled eggs for the occasion, and Florence couldn’t get enough of them. That inspired me to post my deviled eggs recipe, so I’m giving the credit to Cora. Enjoy!
Cora’s Fourth of July Deviled Eggs
(Recipe Makes Twelve (if everything goes well))
- 6 extra large eggs, a little on the old side*
- 2-3 Tbs Mayonnaise (Duke’s Mayo for people who really care about mayo; light is okay, full fat is best. It is against the law to make deviled eggs with fat free mayonnaise)
- 2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Mustard
- ½ tsp Paprika (optional)
Hardboil the eggs. To do this, place six eggs in a pan and cover with water (eggs should be covered by at least an inch of water). Bring water to a full boil. Once boil is achieved, take the pan off heat and let sit for 13 minutes. Pour out the hot water and fill the pan with cold water, filling and refilling until the water stays cool. Peel the eggs and halve.
Place the yolks into a small bowl and put the egg halves on a plate or a platter. Mix the yolks, mayo, vinegar and mustard and beat until creamy. Add another tablespoon of mayo if need be. Fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture and sprinkle on some paprika to make the eggs pretty.
*I often buy a carton of eggs a week in advance—slightly older eggs are easier to peel. Another way to make it easy to get the shell off your hard-boiled egg is to put in two teaspoons of vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt into the water with the eggs before you put the heat on. Another tip: I usually I boil seven eggs and abandon the whites of one—this way I have plenty of filling.