Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two Jews in a Room Crafting*

There are certain things a little Jewish girl doesn't get to do growing up. Okay, yes, I did have goyish experiences at my friend Emily's dad's house, or in the neighborhood at the Bardziks' or the Chicos'. (As the names would suggest, those families had different traditions from mine.) I grew up super-assimilated liberal Reform, but we didn't have a Hanukkah bush or anything, so it was up to my friends to invite me over to their houses. My manners were too good to beg for invitations, but someone usually pulled through.

As I grew up, the desire to hang lights on a tree and dye eggs passed. I don't celebrate Christmas or Easter; why should I want to decorate as though I did?

But among the many wonderful things that come from being married to a person who comes from a non-Jewish family--we don't have to fight over where to spend Christmas (his family!) or who hosts Seder (my family!)--one of them is being able to bring traditions I always coveted into my own home. We're raising The Kid Jewish, but it's fun to expose him to the things Jake grew up with. The Kid helped us trim our tree in December, and this week, for the first time, we dyed eggs in our apartment.

I took a half-day at work yesterday because our babysitter had an appointment, and I thought The Kid and I could do some kind of fun Spring craft. I had no idea what, but I figured it would come to me. I took him out to Strosniders to buy supplies for a project I'm probably going to post about sometime in the near future, but there was nothing else inspiring there. We stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a couple of things, and there, on the impulse-buy-end-of-aisle display, were spring crafts galore. Including the Glob Easter Egg Coloring Kit. I'd never done it before, but I thought...hey, let's boil up some eggs and make them pretty colors!

The dye is natural, extracted from cabbage (the blue dye), radish (the pink dye), and annatto (the orange dye), which is apparently what gives cheddar cheese its color. Not having ever had dyed eggs in my house, I wasn't sure if you could eat eggs colored with regular dye, and I didn't want to waste a carton of hardboiled eggs, so this sounded like a great idea.

And it was!

OK, I had to look up instructions for boiling eggs. (Jake is the master egg-cooker in our house.) But when that was done, we went for it with gusto! The Kid's favorite color is orange, and he had a lot of fun dunking eggs and swirling them around until the tint was exactly what they wanted. I got slightly artsier with techniques I'd read about in fancy-schmancy magazines, but the white crayon absorbed the dye almost as much as the uncovered eggshell, and the dye got underneath some of the rubberbands. The stripey eggs turned out pretty well though, and more importantly, we had an awesome time.

The Kid couldn't wait to eat one of his pretty eggs: he had pancakes for dinner at the diner around the corner, and he kept shouting, "When we get home, I'm gonna have an egg for dessert!" So he did.

Yes, both of our hands are still stained orange, but it was a small price to pay. Super-fun time. Multicultural house. Getting to help my son do the stuff I wanted to do as a kid. (Damn, that last one makes me sound like a proto-stage mom. I'm not going there, I promise.)

Breakfast for the next week!

* Anyone else have William Finn in their heads? I hope so. You're welcome.

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