WILSON — A staple of the South and a favorite side dish at potlucks and family dinners, the deviled egg has long remained a delicacy of goodness.
It’s only fitting that Nov. 2 is dubbed National Deviled Egg Day — a day in which we’re given the opportunity to pay homage to this egg-cellent dish.
The first time “deviled” appeared in the culture of cuisine dates back to 1786. “Deviled” came to be the term used when referring to spicy or zesty food which includes an egg prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity. Henceforth, the deviled egg was born.
The flavor profile of deviled eggs is vast. The egg yolk is mixed with mustard or mayonnaise, then splashed with paprika, bacon or chives for garnish. And voila, you have a humble egg turned fancy.
One of the best deviled eggs around can be found down at the Sugar Plum Shoppe in Wilson. The Sugar Plum is famous in its own rite for it’s made-from-scratch menu and take-out lunchboxes of chicken or pimento cheese sandwiches, chips, dessert of choice (chocolate cheesecake or carrot cake, to name a few), a pickle and, of course, the deviled egg.
“We are a light, old-fashioned Southern lunch spot where you get the meals your grandmother makes,” said manager Chuck Pruden.
Twelve dozen deviled eggs are made every morning starting at 3 a.m. with the mixture of their egg yolk remaining a secret. The unspoken rules of the eggs used to be that customers couldn’t purchase extra and there was no trading (I’ll give you back the pickle for an extra egg.) This lasted for close to three decades until this year, when the purchasing of extras could be had, for 50 cents a piece.
Everything in the Sugar Plum is made fresh daily. Cooking begins at 2 a.m. with the cutting of chicken salad, cooking of drummettes and baking of desserts. Fresh bread arrives each morning.
“The chicken is cut up with scissors just like your grandmother would do,” said Pruden. “The lunchboxes were designed so the working man or woman could swing by, grab a box to go and continue working.”
It’s a small family business run by Pruden’s wife, Leigh Ann, and her mother, Betty Jean Davis. Most of the recipes have been passed down from the family of Davis, now 82, who purchased the Shoppe back in the mid-1980s and turned it from a bakery into a local tradition where customers begin lining up at 9 a.m. to pick up lunch.
Lunch boxes are $6.50 with tax included. It’s a take-out not eat-in place, with two locations including the Brentwood Shopping Center and Nash Street in Wilson, and very much worth the trip to town.