Few things remind you just how far away from home you are than holidays. Even long after you decide that the basis for said holiday doesn’t entirely jive with your life and philosophy as it stands now, holidays are this visceral reminder of times spent with family and friends. When you are separated by an ocean and a few thousand miles, it can be pretty hard not to feel bittersweet about those memories.
Easter was a relaxing holiday in my family. My mom would roast a ham and we’d just chill as a family while engaging in egg-centric activities. (See what I did there?) There was egg dying, egg hunts in the backyard, and egg fights. There was also a lot of chocolate and jelly beans. Everyone agreed that the very best treat to get in your basket were Cadbury Cream Eggs. I remember one particularly brutal battle I fought with my brother over the last Cream Egg. It ended with him pelting it at me. I may have suffered a large bruise, but I was victorious.
Later, after undergrad, my friend Erika and I developed a tradition of getting together on Good Friday, watching Jesus Christ Superstar, and dying eggs. We’d experiment with odd egg dying techniques usually thanks to Pinterest searches. Last year, we tried using silk ties and were surprised when it actually worked pretty well. Years where we couldn’t get together, we would eggs-change (sorry couldn’t resist another pun) Jesus Christ Superstar memes on Facebook.
I’ve spent this Easter in the UK though Jeremy had to work and I have been a bit worse for wear. The truth is, we had a very trying Easter week. Jeremy’s bike was stolen from our property one night and two nights later I went to the hospital with chest pains. It turned out to be nothing terribly serious (basically a mild case of pleurisy), but taken all together, we’ve been a bit preoccupied.
We did manage to exchange chocolate eggs (mine was gone in about a day) and we had a lovely Easter dinner last night. Today though, I really wanted to feel a connection to home. I wanted to dye some eggs. The first thing I should say is that people in the UK don’t dye eggs at Easter. I mean, they don’t dye eggs at any other time of the year either. In the UK, an Easter egg is a chocolate egg. So it’s not the easiest thing to dye eggs here. It’s not like in the US where the supermarket shelves are lined with a million different egg dying kits. You either need to improvise or import egg dying materials.
So, in the interest of cultural exchange, here’s how to dye Easter eggs in Britain.
What you’ll need:
- Eggs. If you can find them, white eggs are the best. I couldn’t find any white eggs. Well, let me rephrase that, I couldn’t find any cheap white eggs. If you are okay spending a lot of extra dough on fancy duck eggs, then go for it. If not, you’ll have to make due as I did with brown eggs.
- White vinegar. Not the kind for fish and chips.
- Food colouring. I got gel food colouring as it’s stronger and would show up better with the brown eggs.
- Now grab a bunch of mugs (I know those aren’t in short supply here) and spoons.
What you do:
1. Hard boil as many eggs as you’d like to dye and leave them to cool.
2. Set out mugs. You’ll need one mug for each colour.
3. Put 1 tsp of white vinegar into each mug and then 10-20 drops of food colouring. Next add 118 mL of boiling water to each mug. (You might need to add a bit more so the mixture covers the egg completely.) Now stir until the food colouring is nicely distributed.
5. Take your hard boiled eggs and put them in the mugs. The longer you leave them in, the darker and more vibrant the colour. For brown eggs, you’ll need to leave them for quite a bit of time. Use the spoons to fish them out of the mugs and let them dry when you are happy with the colour. You can experiment with dipping the eggs in different colours (half in one colour the other half in a different one). Go wild!
6. Admire your beautiful artwork.
When you’re done, the eggs should keep for as long as hard boiled eggs normally keep and they are absolutely safe to eat.