The Bedeviler’s Eggs [Cookery Rhymes]

Bedevilers-EggsThe Bedeviler’s Eggs

By S. Zainab Williams

Above the burble of a babbling bank,
Beside a river where the sun never sank,
But danced and glittered, blithe and blind
To a nattering drama of the silliest kind,
Cluck-spat argument of land versus sea.

“My egg,” crowed Hen, “is far supreme,
All speckled in red instead of cream.”
“Who cares?” pouted Fish with kissy lips.
“The cast of the egg between your hips
Is but echo of feather and fluff.”

“My eggs,” spat Fish, “are plentiful,
Of numbers great and immeas’rable.”
“Your eggs are itsy breaky things
And your paltry progeny have no wings,”
The ruffled Hen buckawed.

When out from the shade of a gnarled oak
Stepped a twisted man in a heavy cloak.
“What is this?” he queried in broken falsetto.
“Do I hear a cry for the honest libretto
Of one unbiased and true?”

“Good sir,” both entreated with harried breath,
“Would you tell us in truth, on pain of death,
Whose eggs are the best of all?
We need to know the truth at last and it must rest on your call.”
The man fell in shadow. And smiled.

“Produce your eggs. Produce them now,”
The man commanded with uplifted brow,
“I will take them aside to consider their gifts
But before I can you must persist
In laying your scrumpt–lovely jewels.”

So Hen and Fish handed over their sires
And the man sulked off with the root of their ires
To examine these specimens with boiling pot,
With herbs and mustard and thickening plot,
When Fish snuck away from Hen.

“Ho there!” whispered Fish from the muddy shore,
“Are you ever deciding, are you ever more?
Would you whisper though I have no ear?”
O’er coal and flame scraped a frying pan, said the man, “Come near.
Come near.”

Hen waited.
And waited.
Till the sun bent its leg,
And no more did she see that red-speckled egg.
Or Fish.

Bedeviler’s Eggs

Deviled Egg Filling: Egg Yolk (one dozen eggs), Coleman’s Mustard, Mayo, Fresh Dill, Horseradish, Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper, White Vinegar, Smoked Paprika

Garnish: Fried Salmon Skin

Foraging in Los Angeles with Urban Outdoor Skills

Urban Outdoor Foraging Glove

I recently went on a foraging adventure with Urban Outdoor Skills, a Southern California organization that endeavors to connect people with nature.

Wait. Let me preface this account of my adventures in the wild with the admission that I spend altogether too much time developing Survivorman-flavored fantasies while staring at the straight borders of the lawn from my office window. My favorite scenes in every episode of said show are as follows:

  • Les Stroud perches a rock on a spindly stick and waits for a squirrel;
  • Les Stroud plucks and onion bulb from the soil and pops it right into his mouth;
  • Les Stroud stabs at the crystal clear waters of the tropical sea before settling for a dinner of sea snail boiled in a coconut.

Survival dining. It gets me every time.

I was Katniss before she was an itch in Suzanne Collins’ fingertips. In my mind…

I would emerge from the woods with a brace of rabbits and skin them without hesitation. I’d eat them with gusto and maybe a little salt. I’d hobble around under my pelt collage and the bleached bones adorning my fat-free hermit’s body would jangle like wind chimes as I crouched behind redwoods. Hikers would stop in their tracks and wonder at the sound but never see. Yeah I’d be a Jim Henson character but I would also catch salmon traveling upstream with nothing more than my bared teeth and the hunger strength in the springs of my knees.

While these visions persist for all the glitter in my brain, my true-to-life outdoor skill level has less in common with Survivorman than with, say…Troupe Beverly Hills.

With my woefully dubious visions of grandeur and podcast gossip about the glory of foraged foods, I struck out for the Foothills of Pasadena and for the Urban Outdoor Skills workshop on foraging and cooking wild foods.

Read the rest of the article on my foraging adventures over at my new website!