Sunday, April 03, 2011

Eggless Easter

Decorating Easter eggs has always been a giant exercise in patience and paranoia for me.  As a kid, my mom would have one of the neighbors boil eggs in their house - so as to avoid the high potential for an asthma attack for me.  Once the eggs were safely boiled and cooled, they were returned to our dining room table... where we would line up the identical set of coffee mugs (which I swear we only used for this purpose) filled the appropriate amount of vinegar, plopped the little sweet-tart looking discs in, and went to work transforming the evil little ovals of death into brightly colored holiday decorations.

My efforts were generally hindered by wearing my mother's rubber dish washing gloves and attempting to balance these fragile beasts on the end of the flimsy bent wire "egg holder" that came with the decorating kit.  More often than not, I simply gave up trying to handle them myself and directed my dad to plunk them into the various colors.  I participated for the traditional family gathering aspect of it, I wasn't going to have anything more to do with them anyway... the eggs were turned into snacks and egg salad for the rest of the family, and come Easter morning, the kid's egg hunt was for the plastic sort that had prizes and candy hidden inside.

I'm not sure if I've grown even more paranoid as the years go on, or if I've just decided that life is to frackin' short to be actively adding potential health hazards to it, but either way I believe I have entirely given up on the traditional real-egg-dying baloney.  I've tried to stick with it out of some sense of loyalty to the past, some years combining the precarious-egg-dying with the far more enjoyable wooden-egg-painting... but really, when it comes down to it, what's the point?

I don't want hard boiled eggs in my house.  The smell makes my stomach turn over, the sight of them in my fridge makes my hand instinctively recoil as I reach for my coffee creamer, and as incredibly careful and cautious as both D and G are when handling the little devils... I spend my days feverishly scrubbing down counters to avoid breaking out in hives and secretly plotting out ways I can "accidentally" throw out what's left and just be done with the whole stinkin' holiday.  (Now take that paranoia and multiply it a thousand times over when someone who is not as careful as D comes over and starts cracking one open on my kitchen counter.  *shudder*)

My alternative tradition is to decorate fake eggs.

Last year I picked up several bags of paper mache eggs, and G and I had a lovely time sitting and painting the little guys.  She found it far more interesting to be able to paint designs rather than plunk them in a cup and just... watch.  Also, she enjoys not having to be afraid of dropping them.  This makes me feel satisfied that my allergy is not depriving my child of our own holiday family tradition.

This year I saw an article in Family Circle magazine about ways to decorate plastic eggs.  When I took a trip to Michael's last week I picked up some of their new, brightly colored paper mache eggs, a few packs of origami paper, and tonight G and I sat down and experimented with a few designs (as well as breaking out the pastel paints for the leftover paper mache eggs from last year)

The result of tonight's efforts:

What I also love about this project - besides being able to save them as decorations for future Easters, is that it can be an ongoing project all the way up to Easter, which gives us more than just an afternoon of sitting around smelling vinegar.

Edit on Sunday: Today's Egg Adventures


Gino said...

hey, those are nice eggs.

you are far more 'giving' than i. i would have never allowed an egg in my house at all, for any reason.

besides, chocolate eggs are far better anyway. and its hard to argue against a chocolate egg.

Brightdreamer said...

Cool! I keep looking at those fake eggs in Michael's, thinking I ought to be able to justify buying one to play with... haven't been able to come up with an excuse that gets past my internal budget hawks (sharp-eyed buggers that they are...)

As a kid, my sister and I sometimes dyed eggs, but we never cared for the taste of hard-boiled eggs; Dad was left to devour them alone. It was one of those "traditions" that died out without much fuss after a few years. We always preferred the Easter Bunny's candy. (Except for cheap hollow chocolate bunnies. Those always felt like a rip-off.)

Jade said...

Gino - I'd say our house is entirely egg free 98% of the time. Generally D gets his egg breakfasts from a local cafe on his way to business meetings, and that seems to work out well. He is painfully careful, but having to take that much care is a hassle... and then nobody else we know is nearly as cautious - which is where we run into issues.
Last summer when we went camping he declared our entire campsite an egg free zone... due to how inconvenient a potential hospital run would have been from up the mountain. (and the friends that went camping with us went so far as to buy themselves vegan mayo for their sandwiches... because they rock)

I have nothing against chocolate in any shape, as long as I can eat it. :)

BD - The Michael's eggs are pretty fun to play with. Ben Franklin also has the brown sort of paper mache eggs (which I discovered are plastic on the inside)

We always had our baskets from the Easter bunny, then the plastic egg hunt was set up by my folks. If we were lucky we'd get to go to the park and participate in their egg hunt, which was just running across the soccer field and picking up those foil covered Hershey's eggs... that I think about it, my parents let us eat candy that had been sitting on a slimy duck pond field? What the hell were they thinking?

deputydog said...

great idea good looking eggs.

the little brother in me wants to send you anonymous pictures of eggs in the mail, as some elaborate weirdo plan, but i digress

Jade said...

Do you mean like collages of egg images cut out from magazines and news papers like some kind of bizarre egg ransom note?
That would be totally creepy... but then now I'd know who to blame if it happens. :)

C.S. said...

A new product on the market developed specifically for kids with egg allergies is Eggnots.
Easter With Egg Allergies: The Eggnots Story
Several years ago, my niece was diagnosed with food allergies, with eggs among the list of items she is highly allergic to. Her parents quickly learned how to read ingredients on food labels to identify foods safe for her to eat or even touch. This education is an ongoing process for our entire family.
I've always enjoyed gathering with my seven nieces and nephews for seasonal activities and holiday celebrations. For years, one thing we could never do was dye Easter eggs. My heart broke to hear that while her classmates in school, church and scouts were coloring eggs, my niece was separated from the other children and the activity.
I researched for other options, but found there was no allergy-free product on the market that could serve as an Easter egg alternative.
Thus, Eggnots was born! I created a dyeable ceramic product that allows my niece and her little sister to have the experience of coloring Easter Eggs. Watching these two children enjoy coloring Eggnots was, and continues to be, an emotional experience.
It is my hope that other families will be able to enjoy this same experience.