Thursday, April 8, 2010
reverting to childhood
Sitting on my mom's screen porch on Saturday afternoon, delighting in the breeze and waiting for the Men's Club Picnic to start (mmmmm... bratwurst...) i suddenly wanted to dye Easter eggs. I mean, i reeeeeeally wanted to dye Easter eggs. As an adult with no children who lives alone there hasn't been much reason to dye them for the last few years, but when i suggested it to Mom she jumped at the idea. As she put eggs on to boil, i ran to the store to get dye. Do you use the Paas kit? We have always, always used the Paas kit. The year after it was introduced we tried the Dudley shaker kit as well, but we never bought it again. We are a Paas family. I wonder if they make anything else besides Easter dye kits... I was delighted to see that little had changed with the kit. There are the same characters on the box and the stickers. Every year they include some new, supposedly cool decoration for the eggs; this year it was shrinky plastic jackets for the eggs, which looked interesting, but seems to defeat the purpose of using the dye so i ignored them. There was also the tool we refer to in my family as the metal dippy thing For as long as i can remember each kit has come with this piece of wire. Who decided that octagonal was the right shape for an egg dipper? I hope they made a lot of money on a patent cause once you bend it up, it really IS perfect for egg dunking. Of course the box had to have its bottom punched out to become the drying rack. I think i love getting ready to dye the eggs as much as i love the actual dying. The process hasn't changed for years. Mom pulled out 6 coffee mugs and i added the vinegar with my Grandma's measuring spoons - i think they are older than i am and i look forward to inheriting them. The dye tablet is dropped into the mug effervescing like mad. I really love this part, watching the tablet bubble and color swirl out into the cup. Once the vinegar is uniformly colored and there are no bubbles, water gets added and it is time to dye! Except that the eggs were still hot... sigh... Once the eggs were cooled [yes, i did run cold water over them to speed up the process; i was too excited to wait] it was time to dye! Dontcha love how they look like tiny blank canvases, ready to paint? Look at them sitting in the dye, absorbing the color I can't explain it, but the little flash of egg that you can see when you swirl the darker colors (like in the left cup above) really amuses me - it is like you get a glimpse of surprise just waiting to be revealed. It will be no surprise to you, however, to find out that i am a bit of an unconventional egg colorist. I like to do multiple dips, vary the time in the dye and hold the eggs partway submerged to make color stripes Sometimes the experiments work really well and sometimes you get crazy, kinda ugly marbled things. I used some page protectors and scotch tape in an experiment that turned out pretty well. Some of our eggs had cracked in the pot but we just dyed them and then added the little cardboard stands included in the kit to give them little egg skirts Mom was a bit bummed out that there was no clear wax crayon in the kit to put names and messages on the eggs that appear once they've been dyed, but she made up for her disappointment with tons of stickers. All too soon there were no more white eggs and once they were completely dry we found a basket to nestle them in some fake grass. Not only was it fun and entertaining to take a journey into my childhood traditions, I found out that if you dye Easter eggs it attracts the Easter Bunny. He showed up in the night and left me a bunch of unexpected goodies. YIPPEE!