Good Idea Friday - The Hard Boiled Egg Debate

So, last year we posted about how adding a bit of baking soda to your hard boiled eggs allows them to peel more easily. The response received after that post was bigger than we imagined it would be. Apparently the way you boil (or don't boil) your eggs is highly personal and widely debated. So this year we thought we would take the time to test out various methods of hard boiling eggs and see which resulted in the easiest to peel category. We posted on our Facebook page for ideas and suggestions. Armed with 2 dozen eggs bought last Wednesday (same lot, same date, same time, variations would be at a minimum) we got to testing yesterday.

I will say right off the bat that I'm not a fan of eggs and hardboiled are probably my least favorite way to eat them. Sorry. I was unable to be the taste tester, so I had my kids and husband judge for me.

Method One - Traditional Method

Place eggs in a pan in a single layer, add enough water to cover. Turn to medium-high heat and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat off and cover. Allow to sit covered for 12-17 minutes.* Place eggs in a cold water bath. 

REVIEW - First off, the timing on this method depends entirely on how you store your eggs. Most reviews say 12 minutes, but having used this method myself I always find them slightly undercooked. At least in my house, my kids like the yolks to be firm, no gooey bits, but not dry. Due to how you store your eggs--some countries it's more common to store eggs out, but here in the US we tend to keep our eggs in the refrigerator--it can affect the way the eggs cook. Room temperature eggs take less time than cold eggs do, so they require a few extra minutes cooking time depending on your tastes. Personally, I find 15 minutes to be the perfect time.  

So how well did they peel? Perfectly. I give it a 5 star rating. 

Method Two - Oven Baked Method

Pre-heat oven to 325° F. Place eggs in a muffin tin. Bake 20 minutes. Place eggs in cold water bath.

REVIEW - I have heard by die hard fans (as well as my all time favorite scientist/cook, Alton Brown) that it is THE WAY to make hard boiled eggs (though they aren't boiled, so .. hard baked?). Easy enough to test out. The results though left me less than impressed. I will say that my oven, due to a couple infamous oven fires, isn't the best working oven out there. That very well may have altered the results. However, they were far harder to peel, and they were over cooked. Most had a couple hard brown spots on them, and there were several that had weird brown spots on the shell where the egg inside tried to push it's way out of the shell. All ovens vary, and I've heard using a silicone tray works to prevent the burned spots, but I didn't have one to test out. 

All in all, I give it a 3 star rating. I think if you know your oven and time it better, this may work, it just wasn't as foolproof as I was hoping it would be.

Method Three - Baking Soda Method

Same as Method One, ddd in a couple tablespoons of baking soda prior to boiling. Place eggs in a cold water bath. 

REVIEW - Honestly it worked just as well as the traditional method. Since I was using week old eggs for this test, it didn't make much of a difference. Having used it on fresher eggs in the past though, it does work. 

I give it a 4 star rating on fresh eggs since it's not perfect, but it works better than just a plain boiling method on fresh eggs. 

So there you have it. There were other methods I've came across just tonight that I was unable to test out in time, pricking the bottom of eggs with a pin, baking in the oven in a muffin tin with water in the cups to prevent drying out/burned spots, boiling with a bit of vinegar instead of baking soda, boiling room temperature eggs, etc., etc.

Really though, the truth is the reason eggs stick to their shells is because of a thin membrane under the shell. So I don't doubt some of this methods will work; the pin prick, the baking soda, and the vinegar all act as ways of separating the membrane from the shell. It's one of the reasons you are suppose to put the eggs into an ice bath right after cooking, in hopes the thermal shock will aid in it as well. It's also why older eggs peel better, as they age the membrane separates from the shell.

And as always, you can find us on facebook and twitter. Please let us know what your favorite method is and let us know if we forgot to test out a certain way.

Draw on a Lightbulb with a Sharpie

"draw on a light bulb, and you can have really cute designs shine on your wall at night." 

Yes, another sharpie pin. I've been meaning to test this one out for some time, but most of my light bulbs are CFLs so I've been waiting until I remembered to pick up some old fashion light bulbs. This week was the week. I've been unable to find the original source of the image so I can't tell you for sure if this is what the image is really telling us, or if there is some other craft that has been lost in translation. Often times you find images on pinterest saying one thing, but the source is for something entirely different (like the coffee for hair loss, the brown sugar straightener, the spray painted lightbulb and coffee beans).

Simple enough to test out, I spent about 10 minutes this evening doodling on a light bulb with a Sharpie. 

Here's the finish product:

And here it is, plugged into my table lamp, casting... light. No shapes, no patterns, just bright white light.

 I knew this wasn't going to work, because if you've ever looked at a light bulb, they usually have markings printed on the top of the bulb listing the make, manufacturer and wattage of the bulb. If drawing on them worked well enough to cast shapes, then you'd see the marks from any light bulb being cast on to your ceilings as well. 

History of April Fool's Day

Love it or hate it, April Fools is a holiday that is hard to avoid. There is a lot of myth and legend surrounding the history of April Fool's Day, but what is the true history of the April Fools that we know today?

Well I've spent months researching the holiday for today's post. I first got the idea last year when I saw the above image. The truth behind the holiday took me by surprise. It didn't start out as a holiday for fools and pranks. It originated in victorian era France as a spring gift giving holiday. You see, before electricity and refrigeration, fresh food was scarce during the winter months, and people resorted to eating dried and salted meats throughout the cold season. So when spring finally hit and the rivers and ponds thawed it meant they could finally have fresh fish. What does fish have to do with all of this? Well much like the bizarre trade of tulips with the Dutch, come spring it became tradition to gift those you love with fresh fish. (source) The demand for fresh fish became so great, that they increasing sold at higher and higher prices. If you really loved someone, you didn't give fine chocolates, you gave fish. This tradition became so popular that they would often give "Fish Day" cards such as these.

But how did a national holiday of fish giving lend to the holiday we know today? It started back during WW1. (source) Occupying soldiers from outside of France witnessed this bizarre custom. Puzzled as to why the French would gift fish in such an elaborate way, they assumed it was some sort of prank. French soldiers also talked fondly of such traditions from back home as the bunkered down with allies in the trenches. Once the war was over and they returned to their home countries, the practice of pranking the ones you love stuck. However Fish Day is still celebrated today in France, but due to modern sensibility out has gone the practice of gifting real fish, and instead they use paper fish.

So if you take part in April Fool's Day just remember - it all started with fish. What are some of your favorite April Fools pranks? Let us know! Share your prank ideas on our facebook and twitter.

And as the french say today, "Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire" Happy Fish Day!