a cautionary tale for americans dyeing easter eggs in the uk

I know it’s not Easter yet, but advice only helps if you get it in advance, right? So let me do this public service.

First things first: they don’t really seem to do the whole dyeing-Easter-eggs-thing here. It took me awhile to realize this, probably because I didn’t have kids at first and also I’m Jewish. Ish. I’m Jewishish. So eventually I was going to get around to having an Easter egg hunt. It now seems more customary for children to hunt for humongous hollow chocolate eggs with smaller pieces of chocolate and sweets and surprises inside. I think. I sort of make this stuff up as I go along. It’s easier than asking someone.

So anyway, I like the whole filling-a-huge-chocolate-egg concept, but I need to award points to the Americans for a healthier tradition. Imagine that! Well my mom did a very nice thing (and she’s Jewish too) and brought some egg dye kits with her when she was here so she and Jonah could celebrate the resurrection of Christ early together.

She had given me plenty of notice that we would need white eggs. You see, most of the eggs sold around here are brown and my mom knew I would need some notice. I always assumed brown eggs were healthier and superior, but it turns out it’s just a different type of laying hen. Whatever.


I assumed I would be able to find white eggs somewhere, so I sort of waited until the last-minute. But when a few places I figured would slum it with white eggs didn’t come through, I decided to give one more look around Waitrose. Lo and behold, I realized there were all these fancy cartons of special white eggs. I bought them with the happy assumption that they were really, really special white eggs and thus the extra-special packaging and shelf placement and price.

Then I hard-boiled them.

And my mom and I helped Jonah put them in dye cups after my mom and I bickered over how much vinegar to use.

We waited.

And waited.

And they stayed pretty pale. And the color bubbled up really strangely. And it rubbed off, even after ages soaking.

And those little plastic sleevey decorative things you’re supposed to boil on, well they didn’t fit.

Somewhere along the way, I don’t remember exactly when, we realized that I had bought duck eggs.

It turns out, and there is internets proof to back me up, duck eggs are not ideal for Easter eggs.

Now you know.

You’re welcome.


Filed under family, food, holidays

10 responses to “a cautionary tale for americans dyeing easter eggs in the uk

  1. Thank you for this post and the warning! Too funny! I didn’t even occur to me about trying to buy white eggs here!!

  2. There has to be a something somewhere in the Bible that explains all this. Could have saved us a lot of trouble.

  3. Auntie Fig

    i don’t suppose the duck on the packaging tipped you off at all? perhaps it just looks like a fancy chicken.

  4. deix

    i know this is terribly “SF”/West Coast of me, and i know it’s completely wrong to even suggest it, but i saw this article for natural easter egg dye that looked pretty great (http://www.bonappetit.com/ideas/natural-easter-egg-dyes/search).

    if i try it this weekend, i’ll report back…

    • yael

      No, you’re okay. Even the DIY earth mamas on the East Coast have been getting into this. I remember reading on a blog last year about some homemade dyes and a word of advice about using coffee (something about how to make it a darker brown).

      I put this in the same category as homemade play-doh, or really almost anything homemade: Too Lazy. But you better send pics of your handiwork!

  5. That’s hysterical! Probably why my mom stuck to jellybeans! 🙂 I am sure you would have noticed had they been ostrich eggs.

  6. I thoroughly appreciate your cautionary tale, Yael, and took it to heart (especially the part about the duck eggs) before starting a series of experiments with Polish Easter egg dyes (bought in Ealing). The results are documented here: http://www.dreamhomedecorating.com/how-to-dye-easter-eggs.html. The duck eggs came out in lovely neon colors, so you might wanna give this a whack, too 🙂

  7. Anna Kemp

    Your sarcasm may impress your fellow countrymen but you are in a foreign country with different customs to the US. We do not, as a rule, dye eggs, but my mum was Greek so I know you can get egg dye here if you go to a Greek supermarket in the UK. Maybe order on-line?

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