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BVC Eats: Hunter Nesbitt Spence’s smoky egg dip

Hunter teaching mask-making in the props shop of the Yale School of Drama.

Hunter. What can I say? Native of Culpepper, Virginia. Beloved prop man at the Yale School of Drama. He could cook like an angel. His chicken divan was divine. He kept generations of starving, orphaned grad students from suffering Christmas Dinner Withdrawal. He won competitions for cake decorating, and also for something which he (in Southern lingo) called “congealed salads,” which means, to Yankees, monster jello creations.

Once, on the Fourth of July, he served us a congealed salad three feet high, in the shape of a glistening big blue rocket, with yellow stars and red and white stripes around its nozzle, stiffened with asparagus spears, oh it was outrageous. That same Glorious Fourth we began in his back yard while he grilled an appetizer of jumbo shrimp, marinated in garlic and melted butter, to be dipped while still piping hot into fresh homemade guacamole. Then, when we had all stuffed ourselves on shrimp and guacamole, we went in the house to a full Fourth of July chicken divan dinner, complete with homemade baking powder biscuits, gravy, two kinds of potatoes, candied yams, three veg, two cakes, all the likker you could drink of course because this was Hunter’s house, and the aforementioned patriotic, rocket-shaped congealed salad. I could tell more Hunter stories, but I’m getting fat just telling this one.

12 eggs, hard boiled, peeled, and diced
1-1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2T softened butter
1T lemon juice or vinegar
8 to 12 drops of hot sauce
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine. Beat medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat again before serving, if it sits around before you serve it. Serve with crackers or breads.


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