Homemade Airbrushed Sous Vide Easter Eggs and (High) Holiday Expectations

Photograph of an airbrush

No airbrushes were harmed in the writing of this post. Photo by Manfred Brückels, License GFDL.

Yesterday we had the best Homemade Airbrushed Sous Vide Easter Eggs. And now the bar has been raised.

Three weeks ago I acquired fresh eggs at the Farmer’s market, to age them in the refrigerator for easy peeling. White eggs are best (a blank canvas) even though everyone knows brown eggs are superior since they seem more “earthy.” I checked the chickens’ papers, asked a few follow-up questions, and was satisfied that these were the eggs for us.

After aging at exactly 45 degrees on the refrigerator’s top shelf, I cooked them using a homemade sous vide system I designed, with 170 degree water (a touch of orange flower water added) constantly pumping through an insulated cooler. The eggs themselves plateau at 170 over the course of 36 hours. Note that bags and vacuum sealing typical of sous vide is unnecessary since each egg provides its own package, yet the method is still considered sous vide if you were wondering.

After cooking we dried our eggs in the sun, for both culinary and symbolic reasons. Eggs were then cooled in the refrigerator atop a bed of fresh hand-clipped grass trimmings while I prepared the airbrush equipment.

Typical paints might leach through the shells into the egg whites, so a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker devised an organic alternative cacao-based paint which still feeds through my airbrush, while tying in the theme of Easter candy. Then came the easy part, the painting itself.

Computational Future geometric pattern photo

Algorithmically-created geometric patterns can be surprisingly beautiful. Here is one Stephen Wolfram showed in a SXSW presentation on “Our Computational Future.”

Taking inspiration from traditional macramé, I followed visual geometric algorithm patterns, calculated using my children’s names as base input for a little mathematical personalization.

By now I sincerely hope you’ve realized that this is not my Easter post, but April Fool’s day. The truth is, we had a very nice, very simple egg-dying time with the kids on Saturday, just in time for a simple Easter. But I do have a real point to add.

Recently there has been some debate over the holidays getting out of hand, with parents, bloggers, and some creative teachers constantly raising the bar to a level which is unsustainable for families. On St Patrick’s Day our girls built 12 clever leprechaun traps, and we indulged them by “springing” some traps and carrying off the bait of Lucky Charms.

Leprechaun traps

This year’s collection of leprechaun traps was extensive (here is a small sampling), and entirely kid-driven, though inspired by preschool and kindergarten activities.

This was all great fun, but are we setting ourselves up for annual exhaustion? Here’s my take on the debate:

  • Every parent, blogger, and parent-blogger has every right to spend each holiday the way they wish. The Internet and social media amplifies remarkable content, so it is natural for bloggers and other writers to try to make a big splash.
  • For each of us, it’s our job to manage expectations (both our own and our children’s) for how big or small we want to make each holiday.
  • Practice moderation with tools like Pinterest, Google, and the blogosphere. Find your personal balance where you’re having fun but not exhausting yourself.
  • Remember that a parent’s one-time splurge can easily turn into an annual expectation by the kids, but don’t be afraid to ratchet down that bar later (“Christmas can’t always be like last year”).

Do you agree? Do you think it’s wrong or unfair for some to go totally overboard on certain holidays? What’s your own policy, and how do you keep things from getting out of control?

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Posted in Food Articles, Holidays
2 comments on “Homemade Airbrushed Sous Vide Easter Eggs and (High) Holiday Expectations
  1. Mark Cole says:

    Ha! Good points. I’m still trying to figure out how you got the water to cycle through the cooler at a constant 170. I’m having a heckuva time keeping the sterilized braided steel outflow lines from being too much of a heat sink. No matter how well I insulate them…;-)
    Seriously, though: I think kids adjust. Some holidays will be legendary. Others won’t. As long as we’re all having fun, I think we make our memories as we go. Learning to enjoy simple things AND wildly wacko ones sets us up to enjoy everything in the future. There are only so many of these holidays; in fact, there are only so many days that one’s children are still children. Be as present as possible for the ones you have.

    • Ryan Ryan says:

      These are precious years, for sure. The kids got such a kick out of telling people what the Leprechauns did, it just makes me want to max out these experiences and not hold anything back. Thanks Mark.

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