Tulip Town welcomes visitors with whirling, windmill arms to its candy-colored fields. When I saw the gardens and festive activities in a brochure, I ran to get Nate.
“We’re going! We have to go—we need to see this!” I said.
“Say no more,” he answered.
Nate, Alex, and I hopped in the car, singing (to the tune of “Funky Town”), “Won’t you take me to . . . Tulip Town?”
Even after an hour, we didn’t grow tired of singing about going to Tulip Town. Once we got there, we weren’t sure what we would sing next. Luckily, festive music, such as the “Chicken Dance” song, plays loudly as visitors arrive. So in theory, we could sing AND dance if we wanted to. (Nate did not want to. Neither did Alex.)
Tulip Town is in Skagit, Washington, which is about an hour from where we live. We arrived early, just as the crowds were arriving. For $7 a person we were free to explore the indoor shops, flower show, and outdoor tulip fields.
“You know,” Nate said, as we walked the magnificent fields, “Tulips are Easter for me. They’re all the colors of the eggs we dye.”
I never really got into coloring Easter eggs. However, these brightly colored bulbs made me want to go home and join Nate and Alex in hard-boiling and decorating Easter eggs.
According to my “credentials,” I should be the expert in hard-boiling eggs. Back in high school, I won a 4-H cooking demonstration contest at the Ohio State Fair. The dish I made featured hard-boiled eggs, so my prize was a trip to Kentucky for a national egg and poultry contest. There were chicken judging, egg judging, and cooking contests. I had no idea how to judge eggs or chickens, but I figured I could make my dish. However, a competition sized kitchen and a panel of judges with Ph.D.s in eggs, were enough to make me crack. I overcooked the eggs and the centers turned green. Clearly they did not look safe to eat. That didn’t stop the judges though. They wanted to taste those green centers for themselves. I couldn’t watch. I ran—flew the coop. Needless to say, the omelet and quiche contestants had me beat.
So, while Nate boiled the eggs, I read up on hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs from The Joy of Cooking. (I have the 1997 edition). According to Rombauer, Becker, and Becker, “boiled” is not an accurate term. Actually boiling eggs could overcook them and cause the centers to turn green. Apparently, plunging them into cold water can stop the cooking process and prevent the green centers. Also, boiling and bubbling water can cause the eggs to bump into one another and crack (124-125). If you want the centers “hard,” you can cook them (gently) for 12-15 minutes. If you want the centers to be soft, you can cook them for 3-5 minutes (124).
Into the pot the eggs can go, then—covered to within about an inch of water, according to the Joy of Cooking. Just let them simmer.
To test the eggs before cooking them—just to make sure you don’t have any old ones—you can place them into a glass of water. If they sink, they’re “good eggs.” If they float, they are old. However, the American Egg Board website seems to indicate that it might not be necessary to perform this test. Simply checking the expiration date can be the best indicator of freshness. However, as recently as March of this year, bon appétit ran an article explaining the water-in-a-glass egg test and in August of 2013, Cooking Light confirmed this test as a method for determining if an egg is old. In our kitchen, we’ve decided to continue to use the egg test in water. It can’t hurt. It’s a habit that won’t “dye” with us anytime soon.
After the eggs have cooked, you can run them under cold water and color them using just about any of the dye kits on the market.
Our little eggs, tucked into paper carton rows, are beginning to look like fields of tulips.
Your Turn: What are your favorite spring traditions? How do you celebrate spring Share and discuss!