Monday, April 28, 2014


Just before Easter I came across an egg dying kit that had I picked up years ago at a yard sale.  There was a little time that I sewed together during Holy Week and I decided to try dying eggs.  I hadn’t really attempted to do this since I used to do it with Mom.


Let me take this opportunity to thank all mothers who make egg dying seem like effortless fun.  It was definitely not the relaxed, joyful experience I had when I was a kid.  Kids, don’t try this at home without professional around.
Full disclosure: it was not a typical egg dying kit.  It was some Ukrainian or some such place egg dying kit.  The directions were missing so I looked it up on line.  Everywhere it said, “Follow these direction eggsactly and precisely or you’ll regret it now and for the rest of your life.”  If it says, “for best results used distilled water,” do it.  Obey in all things.  Submit only to God more deeply.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Firstly I hadn’t boiled an egg in years.  But I got out my “Joy of Cooking” cookbook and that went Okay.  The Okay part ended there.


I was going to be SO INCREDIBLY CAREFUL that my incredibly careful mother would have been proud.


Not so the wicked, not so.


I should have known this beginning with the mixing of the dye.  I boiled water and poured it in what later turned out to be WAY too small dying cups and got ready to put in the powder.  I carefully cut the top off of the package, made an “O” of the top of the envelope and tilted it toward the mug.  It was not powder that came out but a non-waterproof inner package containing the dye.  (Who does that?)  So of course the package soaked through and as I am trying to retrieve it with my fingers in boiling water, dye is being spread out over the kitchen, remnants of which still pop up from time to time when a wet rag is passed over the counter.


Five minutes into it my fingers looked like this:


THAT was going to look great for Maundy Thursday Mass.  I learned that there is a reason it is called “DYE” and not “Temporary Coloring.”


Okay, so I wasn’t COMPLETELY obedient to the laws of egg dying.  The instructions said that the dying mixture must be room temperature.  Who has hours to wait for the water to cool?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I tell you:  The Ukrainian egg dying kit involves wax and guess what happens to wax when you put it in hot water.
So, cleverly I thought, the dye was put in the freezer for a spell to cool it down.  This is a great idea as long as you remember to put the ice cream back into the freezer that you supposedly took out temporarily to make room for the former boiling egg dye.
Giant mess #2.
While not great, things went decently after that, for a while.  One of the things that the instructions said was that all the colors would turn out great in the end because you were supposed to hold the egg over a candle and melt the wax off revealing the vivid colors beneath.
There is obviously a technique to this that they are not telling us.
The wax, instead of turning to liquid and flowing off gently, turned BLACK from the flame.  I tried to wipe it off with a towel and only succeeded in spreading its blackfulness over the whole egg.
And no matter how many times you wash your hands, there is dye on them and everything you touch from eggs to rubbing your eye will leave happy reminders of your egg dying joy.  In that way it is like Ash Wednesday.  “Hey, you’ve got something on your face.”
All done, the clean up began.  Picking up all of the newspapers of which my mother would be proud that were placed all over to protect furniture, I found that I has still succeeded in dying the table cloth.
Giant mess #3.
I think I have this out of my system now.  Next year I will just pay some kid to make me a couple of eggs.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Father! I dyed with laughter! ;p

Anonymous said...

Hey! What is this? I made you colored eggs with your names on them and put them in a nice Easter dish for your breakfast table. I made these for you last year too. Were these not good enought or were you going for the experience?

Karen said...

I've got a few egg dying tips for you to use in the future if you ever attempt this again. First, if you get dye on your hands make a paste out of baking soda and wash your hands using that. It will remove the dye. It make take a few washings, but it will come off. Second, cover the table in saran wrap to keep from dying the table or table cloth. I'd suggest removing the table cloth before you begin. And I've never tried it, but my husband's Slavic grandmother used to make the eggs with the beautiful wax designs. I'm told she used to melt the wax (I think she used a double broiler to melt it and keep it hot) and dip a needle in the wax and use that to draw the designs on the eggs. Of course, having someone else do it for you is easier and less mess. I don't even hard boil the eggs for my kids anymore. We dye the uncooked eggs and put them back in the fridge when were done since no one ever ate the hard boiled eggs when we made them.

Michelle said...

Now that I've recovered from laughing, might I suggest crayons - wax without the mess - and Paas dye?

Holy Saturday still smells like vinegar and newsprint in my mind, though I haven't dyed eggs since my kids hit high school.