The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Simple plate turned family treasure


January 18, 2018

We were working our way through a mountain of dirty dishes in my kitchen after a branding several years ago.

Fixing a meal for 50 or 60 people takes pretty much every dish in the house. A group effort was underway to get everything cleaned up and put away.

A shirt-tail relative 30 years my senior was on dish towel duty when she stopped suddenly and exclaimed, “Why, that’s Aunt Lucy’s egg plate!”

An egg plate, for the uninitiated, is a platter molded for one purpose and one purpose only: To nestle deviled eggs, each in its own crystal depression.

This particular one holds 15 egg halves around the edge of the plate, and then has room for presumably another nine in the middle, so an ambitious deviler (if that is an accurate job title) could boil and split an even dozen eggs to fill the plate.

“Aunt Lucy” was my grandmother — Lucy Betty Williamson, a woman I never knew.

She was known as “Ma” in our family. We failed, I fear, when it came to endearing names for loved ones. Her husband, Asa, you may have already guessed, was called “Pa.”

They were older parents to my father, and my father was an older parent to me, so while we did our part to slow the growth of world population, it meant that Ma died before I was born, and I was too young to remember Pa, even though both had long lives.

I don’t harbor many regrets, but I have had one most of my life: How I wish I had known my grandparents.

Deviled eggs at our house only happen once or twice a year, and the egg plate is pulled out even less than that — maybe every few years.

That long ago day when a decorative platter became “Aunt Lucy’s egg plate” has stuck with me.

I remember holding the egg plate and looking at it with new eyes. I imagined my grandmother piping filling into egg halves before adding a sprinkle of paprika. I pictured her hands cradling this dish, washing and drying it carefully because it was special, and she never had many treasures.

I tend to be no-nonsense when it comes to kitchen gadgets — they should earn their keep.

But that was the day I learned my egg plate could do so much more than hold eggs. It could tie me, in one small way, to a grandmother I’m told I would have liked.

That’s worth some space in my cabinet.

Betty Williamson is hard-boiling eggs. You may reach her at:


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