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Don't Screw With My Devilled Eggs

Updated on November 8, 2011

As a person who suffers from an assortment of food allergies, the worst thing that can happen when I'm eating is for someone else to ask, "Can you taste what the surprise ingredient is?" The thought of everything it could be alone is enough to send me into hives. Adding insult to injury is the fact that I'm a picky eater. Not only am I picky about the type of foods I eat, but I'm also picky about the way it's prepared. While this proves challenging for anyone trying to cook for a gathering that includes me in the list of guests, I appreciate the extra effort made by people in the past to accommodate my unique palate. However, some people like to be creative with their recipes. Listed below are some of my less than successful taste-testing adventures.

Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

While enjoying a new steakhouse in a neighboring town, I decided to counter my greasy, fat-laden burger with an order of healthier, baked sweet potato fries. The menu said nothing about what spices seasoned the potatoes and other restaurants always served up the dish with a taste of salt and pepper -- or at most, a bit of seasoned salt.

Two-thirds of the way through the sweet and salty side dish a tingling sensation began in the roof of my mouth. Then it hit me -- a healthy dose of cinnamon and sugar accompanied the fries! The ketchup smothering them disguised the taste so that I ate a good amount before realizing it. Fortunately the reaction was mild and we could purchase Benadryl in a pharmacy located just across the street.

Secret Ingredient - Oysters

If only my husband would have informed his family about my allergies before they invited us for that fated first Thanksgiving. My late sister-in-law’s ex-husband encouraged me to sample a bit of his stuffing. Anyone who knows me knows that stuffing is my weakness at Thanksgiving. It works as a side dish, as a stand-alone meal, as crust on turkey potpie, and as a sandwich ingredient. Stuffing is by far the most versatile of all food items in a traditional turkey-day spread.

So imagine my surprise when, in the middle of swallowing the sampling of his stuffing, he informed me that the secret ingredient was...oyster! We immediately left to go out and find a store that was both open and stocked Benadryl on Thanksgiving day. More than a decade later, one of my other sister-in-laws still complains about that one holiday when I made their brother leave the family gathering before anyone ate lunch.

Mystery-Ingredient Devilled Eggs

This is more of a pet-peeve than an allergy issue, but devilled eggs have a few basic ingredients: hard-boiled eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Maybe a dash of paprika. Sometimes my mom adds a pinch of sugar, and that’s okay. She’s from the south and they add either sugar or grease to just about everything. Marriage can expose people to another culture, whether the couple hails from two separate countries or just two different regions in the same country. Devilled eggs are a near-perfect food, and I really see no reason to mess with perfection.

More than once while dining with my husband’s family, I’ve bitten into a devilled egg and (while wondering what that weird flavor is) heard, “I bet you didn’t even know you liked them with (mystery ingredient) mixed in!” Have you ever had devilled eggs made with horseradish? Ranch dressing? Pickled beets? Crab meat? Cheddar and bacon? Okay, I’m just teasing on the last one but there is a recipe for it. (Please, don’t tell my in-laws.)

Experimenting with different foods can yield delicious results, but for the sake of those with unique tastes or allergy issues please don’t use unsuspecting family members as test subjects! Take those dishes to group events like community picnics and church potlucks where total strangers and other acquaintances can decide the success of your creation.

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