Thanks to The Crafty Crow for the link to the refrigerator magnet game tutorial! They’ve got lots of links to great projects for kids – definitely worth a peek.
Since we’re high on tutorials…. I’ve been meaning to write about the red eggs we passed out for Bee’s man yue or “full month” celebration, which Chinese people celebrate for a couple of reasons. First, it is the end of the mother’s period of resting, known as zuo yue zi, when mothers are supposed to rest and eat all kinds of restorative food. And second, in the days of high infant mortality, one month was considered to be the point at which babies were out of danger. So we essentially celebrate the baby’s introduction as well as the mom’s re-introduction into society. Red eggs, or “hong dan” are often passed out to guests at these celebrations.
I thought it would be fun and easy to make our own eggs to pass out. Here’s how to do it, in case you ever need to make some for your baby’s man yue.
Hard boil some eggs. I usually buy large eggs for eating, but for this project, I used jumbo eggs. The larger size, suggesting abundance, seemed like an appropriately Chinese symbol for the abundance of good things that I wish for Ms. Bee (hey, we’re a superstitious people). Start the eggs in cold water over medium heat until they reach a boil. Turn off the heat and keep covered in the pot for 10 minutes. My mom claims that they’re easier to peel if you add vinegar to the water, but I didn’t do that. In fact, because I didn’t run the eggs through the cold water, they were impossible to peel, but I was convinced that the heat would help the dye adhere, so I was kind of stuck here…
Mix 1 cup of water with food coloring and a couple tablespoons of vinegar. I used gel food coloring, which I bought at the cooking store, which is more concentrated that the liquid kind you buy at the grocery store. Carefully lower a few cooked eggs into your solution and stir them around, making sure they are submerged. I did this while the eggs were still hot, and although this makes it harder to peel the eggs later, for some reason I believe that it helps the shells absorb the dye. Use a spoon and some gloves if you don’t want your hands and nails to be dyed in the process.
I left my eggs in the solution for a minute or two. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the more color they will absorb. As you take them out of the dye, you can set them back into the egg case, so that you don’t get dye everywhere.
Let cool and your eggs are ready to show off and pass out. I found this chicken basket on the street a few weeks ago – isn’t it just perfect?
Here’s a little tip I unfortunately didn’t think about until it was too late. Don’t use the bowl that you made for yourself in ceramics class during college, because the dye will stain it no matter how much you(r mom) scrub(s) it afterwards.
And then you’ll feel like this:
“And then you’ll cry!!” as Otis likes to say.