Party with a purpose

Miss Mountain Aire with smoked trout and pickled ramps

Miss Mountain Aire with smoked trout and pickled ramps

What started as a party thrown by two Durham guys who love deviled eggs and having a good time has turned into an annual fundraiser for Urban Ministries of Durham – and draws an invited crowd of 40-some deviled egg lovers.

Emerson Beyer and Michael Bruno call it a Deviled Egg Pageant, where entries have names like Miss Southern Belle and winners receive sashes and deviled egg tiaras. Some of the 15 entries this year had a modernist architecture theme, appropriate since one of the judges was Durham architect Philip Freelon. The other judge was Colleen Minton, founder of TerraVita.

The judges selected special awards, but the truly coveted honor was the Audience Choice award. Guests earned one vote per donation of at least $25 to Urban Ministries. This is the second year that the pageant

deviled egg sliders

deviled egg sliders

has been a fundraiser, and it raised more than $2,000 for the organization.

Presentation counts, as does flavor and the required accompanying beverage. Casting my vote was tough. There was the detailed display of Durham, featuring a diorama including a railroad fashioned from cigarettes, by a group of history buffs (and their spicy deviled eggs). Miss Mountain Aire was a smoked North Carolina trout deviled egg topped with pickled ramps, coupled with a yellow tomato bloody mary spiked with moonshine. Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong had whites rolled in cracker crumbs and cheese for a crunchy texture with the pimiento cheese-stuffed filling.

Even after writing an entire cookbook on deviled eggs, I saw plenty of things I’d never thought to do with a deviled egg. Like the deviled egg sliders – interesting idea, but it didn’t say “deviled eggs” to me (and it was messy).

Audience Choice went to Miss Vierendeel, a beautiful curry-and-chutney deviled egg created by people from MdM Historical Consultants and Yellowbird Baking. The entry was named after a Dutch engineer, which proved that geekiness can be delicious.