Easter Egg Coloring at Home: the DIY Old-Fashioned Way
Easter Egg Coloring
I miss the old-fashioned way my family made Easter eggs. Although I understand why safer methods evolve (can we say hot coffee from MacDonald’s?), I assert that something is lost in the process. Perhaps two somethings: connection to my grandparents and family by participating in a familiar ritual, and excitement.
Some of our deepest emotion-memories are connected to the sense of smell. For me, there are specific aromas necessary to Easter egg coloring. The most important is the strong, astringent scent of vinegar. Why? Because hard-boiled egg coloring required it. This was kitchen chemistry lab and one of the few times that kids would be bothered with pure vinegar. It was the one time of the year that a strong vinegar stink at Grandma Wilzbach’s kitchen table signaled something good happening.
I’ll acknowledge that new-fangled egg dyeing processes do not remove creativity from the coloring. Kids are kids. Give them artistic freedom and will they turn each egg into a visual masterpiece. We baby boomers remember this, too.
The specialized tool that we saw only at Easter was definitely part of the magic. It was the egg holder-lifter-whatchamacallit thing. Obviously, it was not an expensive item to manufacture, for it was contained in every child’s egg-coloring kit. Of course, my family saved them from year to year so that every busy pair of hands could be engaged at once. I think the collection is part of the heritage of family “stuff” and memories.
We baby boomers lived with danger regularly as children. There were no car seats, no seat belt laws, no lead aprons for dental X-rays… We were bombarded with radiation, lead in paint covering our homes, and many fewer childhood immunizations. We called it life. Thus, it was not considered inappropriate for us to engage in an annual egg dyeing ritual which included. . . .
* * * Boiling Water * * *
Believe it or not, most of us avoided scalding ourselves.
We had respect for what boiling water could do to us and do for our Easter eggs.
All the above elements combined to the excitement for dyeing Easter eggs. Certainly, if eggs were being colored, all the many other great things about the holiday would not be far behind.
The WAY of the BABY BOOMER Easter Egg
Start with hard-boiled eggs with shells in good condition.
Assemble white vinegar, food coloring, boiling water, a teaspoon (the measure, not the cutlery), a liquid half-cup measure such as a Pyrex-brand cup, several small bowls or teacups, and the egg gadget.
Down to the NITTY-GRITTY Directions
Mix 1/2 cup of BOILING water, 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 10 to 20 drops of food coloring in a teacup. Dip the hard-boiled eggs into the cup and let sit for 5 minutes or longer. The longer an egg remains in the dye, the deeper the color will be. Refrigerate immediately after dyeing. (I actually let the eggs dry a bit in an empty cardboard egg carton on the tabletop while I dye the entire batch, but - hey - I grew up living in danger...lol )
Colored drops may be experimentally combined (another kids' kitchen chemistry lab or art lab) to produce wild and unusual colors. Or, a patient kid can hold the egg just halfway down in the cup to get half one color. Then flip the egg and repeat in a different cup.
This method of dying is simple, all things considered. It just requires a little foresight to obtain all the ingredients. I found it to be a special adult and kid bonding activity. Enjoy!
Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E Morgan
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