Most guys won't die for chance to make dainty Easter eggs

HAPPY EATER

March 30, 1994|By ROB KASPER

Bring on the Easter ham, lamb and, of course, the chocolate. But hold the eggs.

I hate Easter eggs. I don't like decorating them. I cringe at the idea of eating them. Looking at Easter eggs that somebody else duded up is OK, but it doesn't make me quiver with joy.

Being anti-Easter egg is not a popular position. It can get a fellow in a lot of hot water with members of the pro-Easter egg contingent, especially a guy's wife and mother.

Other than saying all men are insensitive brutes, it seems to be a touchy business these days to make blanket generalizations about men and women.

Nonetheless I am going to go out on a limb here and say that making eggs look pretty is not most guys' idea of a good time.

This is especially true for guys who are bigger and older, two categories of guyness I am racking up points in every day.

It is not that us older, bigger guys are against dunking. We regularly enjoy various forms of dunking. We dunk doughnuts in coffee, we dunk ends of bread in pools of gravy, and we dunk all manner of fish bait in all manner of ponds. These dunks give us great pleasure, or at least they give us a bigger thrill than dunking hard-boiled eggs in food coloring.

Littler, younger guys do spend a few seasons at the kitchen table, trying out the Easter-egg decorating routine.

I recall my mother setting out bowls of red, blue, and green food coloring on our kitchen table on the Saturday afternoon before Easter. My mom would patiently show my brothers and me how to transform ordinary hard-boiled eggs into pastel pieces of art.

We would stick to the art approach for about one egg, usually a light blue one. Then we would go for something garish. Maybe a blue with yellow gashes. Or a deep purple with red splotches.

Then it would be time for the "death egg," the dark one made by dunking an egg in every available bowl of dye. Once one brother made a death egg, every other brother wanted an egg that look equally dark and forbidding.

Soon after the wave of death eggs hit, my mom would abandon her earlier pleas for making eggs that reflected beauty and light of the Easter season. Instead, she would salvage a few untouched white eggs for herself, and after the kids had fled the kitchen, she would dye these eggs pastel in solitude.

That was decades ago, when society's ideas about gender roles and egg consumption were, I am told, much different. In more recent years, I have watched my sons color eggs with their mother.

These coloring sessions begin in the lighter hues, with much parental praise for delicate touches.

But soon the colors begin to darken and so do the moods.

"Please don't do that," my wife will say as she watches a tastefully dyed egg being transformed into the color combination last seen in the 1970s in the interior of an American Motors station wagon.

"But it's cool," the kid will reply and make yet another troubled-looking egg. The two-tone eggs will be grabbed by the kids and dunked again and again, changing a restrained study of light yellow and green into the egg from the nether world. Once again, "death eggs" appear. And once again mom will "save" a few eggs for herself.

I stay out of the family egg-dyeing tiff.

On Easter morning, I compliment the delicate colors of the eggs my wife dyed. I tell the kids their toxic colored eggs look "cool."

But mainly I hunt for eggs that are dark brown, the color of chocolate.

I read that years ago in Baltimore, kids used to do battle with hard-boiled Easter eggs. A kid would wrap his fist around an egg leaving a point of the egg sticking out between the thumb and index finger. The kid and the challenger would butt eggs until the points of one of the shells cracked.

Then the eggs would be turned over and the game repeated with the other end of the egg. When the contest was over, the owner of the stronger egg claimed the weaker egg as his prize.

This old game, called picking eggs, sounds like something worth trying in my family this year.

I don't know if the game will change my anti-Easter egg attitude, but already I am looking forward to the Easter morning battle of the death eggs.

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