Women kick into high gear for salad luncheon

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 9, 2005

Dinosaur eggs they ain’t. Not even from the devil. But they are deviled eggs-and taste, well, devilish good.

When Evelyn Hovland hears the date for the salad luncheon put on by the Grace Lutheran Church Women, she thinks one thing: deviled eggs. And kicks into high gear.

High gear means a production that will end with around 380 deviled eggs for the eager diners at Grace Lutheran’s 29th annual salad luncheon.

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Evelyn will begin with around 16 dozen eggs and spend the better part of two days boiling the eggs and peeling each of them by hand. Then they are sliced and the yokes removed and blended with special spices to make the decorative center fillings. The filling is then scooped into pastry bags which Hovland uses to make the flower and leaf shaped centers in attractive fall -colored oranges and reds and yellows.

When they are all finished, the 380 eggs are carefully placed into trays, and, Evelyn said, &8221;We make a slow, real slow, trip over to church, so we don’t spill them all.”

“Yeah,” added husband Richard, “she makes sure I don’t turn any fast corners!”

During the 10 years that Hovland has taken on this task, she has turned out nearly 4,000 eggs, and it’s taken a toll. &8221;I’ve plumb worn out my food processor and had to get another one,” she said.

All that work has earned her nickname of “The Egg Lady.” But that moniker isn’t exactly new to her. She was schooled in this art by German-trained chefs at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz., and, she said, “Sometimes we had to turn out as many as 7,000 deviled eggs at one time for big events.” Her artistic eggs will again be featured at this year’s salad luncheon at Grace Lutheran.

For Dorothy Baldwin and Delores Ost, thoughts of the salad luncheon turn in a different direction. They start thinking mints.

For the first 15 years, Baldwin and Ost chaired the luncheon and also made the candy mints each year. Since then, they have continued making the prized dessert mints. Asked how many they make each year, Delores replied, “Between 900 and 1,000.”

Working together they spend around six to eight hours each.

Dorothy added, “We have to make each one by hand, so we have time to talk a little, and have a few laughs too.”

Each batch of 100 starts with a batch of ingredients the size of a large grapefruit. From this they pick out a grape-sized piece of the soft confection and press it into leaf-shaped rubber molds, one at a time.

“We make two flavors,” Delores said. “Tan ones are maple flavored, and the rust, brown, avocado, green, gold and yellow ones are all mint-flavored.”

“A batch of each color makes around 150 mints,” Dorothy added, “so we need a few laughs to get to 1,000!”

This year again, Ost and Baldwin are teaming up with Pat Arends to chair the luncheon.

As usual, the mints will grace the salad luncheon tables for all to enjoy on Friday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church.