James was introducing his new boyfriend to his cousins visiting from Kentucky, and wanted moral support so he invited a group of relative-appropriate friends to come along to the bar and be on their best behavior.
Well it turned out the cousins were charm personified. They’d been living it up in the city, visiting the Met, the Guggenheim, MOMA, riding on an open topped bus, sailing to Staten Island and taking in not one but two Broadway shows. They were as enthusiastic and jolly as we could have hoped for. They prefaced all girls’ names with the word “Miss”.
And it would have been a lovely evening but for James’s new boyfriend who got stuck into tequila and put his head down into his phone, looking as disgruntled and bored as it’s possible for a person playing Angry Birds to look.
At first James was concerned. Had he had a bad day? Had he heard bad news? Was he feeling sick?
The answer was no.
So he tried to make a joke out of it, hinting strongly that this might not be the ideal time to do some casual facebook surfing. The new boyfriend didn’t laugh. Instead he sulked and continued to check his messages under the table. This fooled no-one.
Eventually James confronted him in his best Dr Phil manner requesting that the phone be put away for the night. That worked. For less than a minute.
They say that the devil makes work for idle hands.
About an hour later James sent him a text message breaking things off.
Then we all ordered another round of beers.
Deviled eggs (serves 4)
I’m all about eggs at Easter – who isn’t? But as the cousin from Kentucky wondered, is a “deviled” egg entirely appropriate?
The “deviled” moinker actually refers to the spice in the yolk mixture – most usually mustard, and it’s been attached to the dish since the late 17th century. I conceed “spiced eggs” might have been more Easter appropriate.
The cousin’s mother apparently used to make them for functions all the time – she was quite famous for her deviled eggs in fact – and that was fine for street parties, and birthdays and BBQs, but at church functions they were always called “Salad Eggs”. In fact, the cousin revealed, until her late teens, she’d actually assumed they were two different foods entirely.
I discovered deviled eggs when I first came to the States, and bought a deviled egg plate at Housing Works. It was covered in pictures of fluffy yellow chicks and simpering baby rabbits, and I wanted it as part of my Easter decorations. So I had the plate before I had the recipe, and the recipe owes a lot to the fabulous Ina Garten. She uses smoked salmon and caviar in hers, I use bacon in mine, she doesn’t add mustard, I do, but everything else is to her blueprint.4 large eggs 1/4 cup sour cream 1 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature 1 tablespoons good mayonnaise 2 tsp French mustard 2 tsp tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoons fresh chives 4 rashers of bacon Salt and pepper
- Take the eggs out of the fridge and place them in a pot of cold water. I put a match stick in with the water too – I do it because my Grandma does it – the idea being, I think, that should the eggs crack, the matchstick will magically keep the whites from leaking out. It sounds unlikely, I agree, but I do it slavishly
- Bring the water to a rolling boil over a high heat, then clamp on a lid, turn off the heat and set a timer – the eggs will be ready in 15 mins
- Chop the bacon into very small slices and fry until crisp. Dab off excess fat with kitchen towel and set aside
- Peel the eggs – I do this as soon as they’re cooked by draining them and running cold water over them while peeling, though you can wait until they cool naturally if you have the patience
- Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, scoop out the yolks carefully and add to a mixing bowl
- Season the yolks and add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, most of the chopped chives and most of the bacon bits then season well. Mix until combined – it’s easy work with an electric whisk or in a mixer, though not exactly arduous by hand
- Season the egg whites, the fill the yolk holes with the yolk mixture. Chill for half an hour for the flavors to combine. Garnish with the remaining chopped chives and bacon bits and serve