My friend Julie was right: The blue, green, white and freckled brown shells slipped off the eggs like little socks. I’d called to ask if she had any eggs more than 3 weeks old because, any fresher, and you can’t remove the shells after you hard-boil them.
Julie’s got something like 70 chickens, roaming freely about her Miracle Point Farm in Harmony, NC, and they’re laying eggs all over the place. Sure enough, she had two dozen washed and tucked away in her bakery fridge. All different colors and all different sizes, but just right for the church picnic.
To hard-cook eggs, put a clean dish towel in the bottom of a stainless steel kettle, followed by the eggs in a single layer and then cold water to cover. Bring water to a boil, let it bubble heartily for a few minutes and then turn off the heat. Leave the eggs in the hot water until it’s completely cooled.
Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Pop out the yolks — as bright as buttercups in these eggs from mamas eating bugs every daylight hour — into a separate bowl. Mash yolks, reduced-fat mayonnaise (Duke’s if you live in the South), enough of last summer’s chutney to make the yolks and mayo more gold than yellow and some salt and pepper. Fill the whites, and be very careful about keeping your deviled eggs refrigerated.
That’s all there is to it. Chutney will give your deviled eggs a slightly sweet-spicy taste and you needn’t worry about measurements. Just play around with the mayo and chutney until you have the desired consistency.
And then when you’re exhausted from working at a horse show for five hours, shoveling mulch, freezing strawberries, making strawberry pretzel dessert squares and those eggs, go to bed. Do not sit in front of some television rot you don’t care about, thinking about the salted, roasted almonds in the kitchen cupboard. Because if you do that long enough (which I, unfortunately, did), you will fall face forward into the almonds and undo all the moderate eating of the day.
It takes energy to forcefully remind yourself that you don’t need anything else, that very few people starve to death in their sleep because they didn’t add those nighttime snacking calories to the day’s total. I reminded myself, but I was too tired to listen. And like a robot junkie, I sat here at the computer and shoveled those unneeded calories into my mouth. Which is why I’m up at 5 a.m. this morning to go for a bike ride.