The tradition of painting and decorating eggs at Easter goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. And it’s easy to see how it has stuck around so long when I’ve found that it’s something which people have such an affection for. Possibly more than any other topic in this book, talking about decorating eggs got the most “I used to do that!” reactions. The memories of it seem to come back really vividly of times that were creative, fun and that real connection of doing things with the family. Even a presidential family, as this photo of Jackie Kennedy shows.
I met a lady called Gill at one my Grandee events. As a little girl she painted eggs, then she did it with her daughter and she was talking to me about showing her grand-daughter how in a few weeks time. Which I reckon makes Gill something of an expert in this field, so the rest of this section owes a significant debt to the advice I got from her.
Blowing out and painting eggs
The top tip on doing this is that a cold egg straight from the fridge will be near impossible to blow the yolk and white out of.
Wash the outside of the egg and then use a large needle, a kitchen skewer or a knitting needle (my tool of choice) to put the holes into the opposite top and bottom ends. Rubbing your nail a few times over the point you’ll be going in through is supposed to help make that easier. Obviously you need to take some care as you don’t want to break the egg or crack the shell, but equally you really do have to give it some welly because eggs were brilliantly designed to keep out predatory animals and knitting needles. Once you are in, wiggle the needle/skewer around a bit to just make the hole a little bigger. Then do the other hole at the top of the egg. It might be an idea to prod into the egg with the needle/skewer to break the yolk up more.
With the egg over a bowl to catch the insides, blow hard into the hole at the pointy top of the egg. This is a great bit for kids to do – if nothing else they have more puff! You will start to see the egg come through the bottom. Keep going until you hear hollow air going through the shell as you blow.
Rinse the egg thoroughly inside and out. Go gingerly as the egg is now quite fragile. Dry, and your egg is ready to be decorated.
Paints, pens, glitter, sequins and ribbon are all great ways to unleash some family creativity. I found one reference to gluing on pressed flowers, which I think would be gorgeous. When the eggs look as beautiful as you want them to and have dried, they are ready to be displayed for Easter Sunday. Cotton thread, coloured string or fine ribbon can be threaded through the holes in the eggs to create an egg garland. Or more simply, pile them up prettily in a bowl or on a cake stand.