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Easter Eggs – Eat or Toss

Easter was a joyous holiday in my house while I was growing up. We boiled and decorated Easter Eggs with food coloring a few days before Easter every year. Once they were all festive, we put them in the refrigerator until Easter. The Easter Bunny hid the eggs early in the morning, and my sister and I hunted them right after we woke up so they were still cold. After we counted the eggs to make certain we had them all, we put them back in the fridge.

My sister and I looked forward to all of the different ways to eat our Easter Eggs. We ate them as plain boiled eggs and used them in egg salad, tuna salad, and deviled eggs. We never dreamed of playing with them and then throwing them away. “Waste not, want not” has always been our family’s motto. Easter Eggs are food, which is meant to be eaten.

Imagine my surprise when I got married and discovered that my new family never ate their Easter Eggs. The eggs were boiled, decorated, hidden, hunted, and then the kids were allowed to play with them for a while before they were tossed in the trash can. I was completely and utterly appalled by the wastefulness of it. Throwing out good food goes against the most fundamental principles my parents worked so hard to instill in me. I stopped coloring eggs with the kids when I discovered they would not be consumed and bought plastic eggs that I filled with coins, candy, and little toys. My step-kids told me that they didn’t really like decorating eggs and preferred the stuffed plastic ones, anyway. Plastic eggs were fun all year. My step-son loved hiding his Hot Wheels in them and having my husband and I open the eggs to find his surprise. My step-daughter found them handy for hiding money that she didn’t want her brother to know she had.

I know that I’m not alone in eating the colorful boiled eggs because my best friend does the same thing. She brings egg salad sandwiches for her lunch for several days after Easter every year. Sometimes a little food coloring leaches through and her egg salad is tinged with blue or pink, but it tastes the same as always. That’s why food coloring is used in the first place – it’s safe to consume.

I was discussing the practice of consuming Easter Eggs with my husband and daughter-in-law over the weekend, and they both maintain that the artistic eggs are meant to serve as toys and then be tossed. I suppose I will buy the plastic eggs for my grandchildren at least until they are old enough to decide whether they would like real eggs they can eat later or not.

What’s your Easter Egg tradition?

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