First, you need paprika.
Cold or hot, we collect Joe and Eddie. Joe is wearing a red jacket with a Union Jack sewn into the back. This jacket comes with a story involving San Francisco and a flat mate with zooshy clients, and a white version of the jacket. (There, Joey, in case you ever wondered if I really listen to you while you go on – and on.)
Every aspect of Joe has a story attached to it, sort of like a price tag or the washing instructions label. I swear if he were to sweep up his clipped fingernails, he’d deliver himself of ten epic histories, and then, there’d be the toenails to listen to.
C announces our tripartite Upper East Side plans. Eddie is delighted with the stores to be attended and Joe announces a need for deli food. I assure Joe that we will consume after we have consumed. We push through the door of our first stop, Waterworks, where it is our goal to examine shower faucets, heads and installations that have those extra jets that spew water at your sensitive regions. We are all four arrested by the sight of an immense and sloped copper freestanding tub priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. It is deep and coddling and obscene in its demand for space in a city where the placement of even a toothbrush must be weighed in terms of square inch efficiencies. We are however, attracted to a nearby tub of pure white resin. It looks like a shelled boiled egg cut in half the long way and with its yoke removed. Joe says, “I. Love. Deviled. Eggs.” Then, his hands go up in the air, and we all brace ourselves for the pronouncement that this always signals.
“I have never once eaten enough deviled eggs. Never once had enough of them. Same with shrimp. Put me at a buffet with all-you-can-eat shrimp, and I never leave without thinking I shoulda ate more of those.”
I agree with the shrimp part of this, and add that I always eat them with the shells on. Good fiber. I raise an examination of the concept of the deviled egg. Mom never made them, and I have a real fear of them. I avoid them entirely. Their coloration seems not to occur in nature. They arrive cradled by suspicious women with suspicious cellophane. They always need to visit a refrigerator for some secret fix before appearing on the holiday groaning board. They are evil. Eviled eggs. Joe overrides this and repeats the fact that he has never at any single meal had his fill of them.
“What goes into a deviled egg?” I wonder.
My comrades have no problem listing the basic ingredients and I begin to concoct a riff on the recipe that might involve the addition of garlic, lemon grass and perhaps a paper-thin membrane of peeled cucumber separating the white from the yoke. Also, I’d whip the yoke into something more chiffon-like. Lemonish. Meringuey. (OK, readers, I know you’re eager to share your deviled egg recipes, and, if we are lucky, maybe this gourmand will share his version of this American classic.
We leave Waterworks and head to The Container Store which mercifully presents itself before Joe can spot a deli.