Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

German Culture, Life in Kiel

Ausgepustete Eier

During my first Elternabend (Parent and Teacher Night, and yes I made a fool of myself by mixing up my sentence structure during the ‘hold the ball and introduce yourself’ game) at Kindergarten last week, we were told to bring in two ausgepustete eggs. Easter is approaching and now that we are Kindergarten parents, approaching holidays mean themed crafts and themed crafts require props like empty eggs.

Now, I am familiar with the whole empty egg thing. It is a feature of many cultures, come Easter. It was never, however, a feature in my household as a child (and I cannot help but suspect this might be because neither of my parents could be bothered emptying eggs, something I understand entirely). Because of this, I spent a few days pondering the mechanics of getting an egg’s worth of white and yolk out while leaving the shell perfectly intact in order to paint it. Many kind people offered advice (‘keep your lips firmly on the egg, surrounding the hole’) and my husband told tales of his own father’s apparently infamous ability to empty eggs at great speed by both blowing and … sucking out the innards. Imagine.

When the time came to blow the eggs out (I find that such an odd thing to say in English, I tend to exclusively use the German ‘auspusten’) I gave them to SG and said to him, ‘your culture, your tradition’ and he said gravely, ‘fetch me a needle.’ So I found a needle in a little sewing kit a friend had once lent me – I am, otherwise, not the kind of person who has a needle on hand – and we crowded around the kitchen table to watch it all unfold. The needle made a small, almost invisible hole in both ends of the rather large egg. SG hovered over a bowl and began the process.

The process, as it transpired, was a long one. The egg white and yolk came out excrutiatingly slowly, with SG’s face growing redder by the second. His hair began to appear dishevelled. Die Lüdde provided support, cheering, ‘you’ve got it!’ and ‘I love it!’ until finally the first egg seemed to be empty. It was rinsed out carefully and placed to the side. For the next egg, a nail was fetched. A larger hole was declared necessary. As it was gently tapped in, die Lüdde yelled out in a congratulatory fashion, ‘you nailed it!’ The nail, however, wasn’t delicate enough, and the egg cracked. Back to the needle.

To be honest, by this point, I was beginning to wonder whose idea all of this was. Who looked at an egg, the most breakable of foodstuffs, and thought ‘let’s empty it and paint it’. Of all the things one could paint, back in the day, to brighten the house up after a long, dreary, hideous winter, who looked at an egg and thought, ‘yes. Perfect.’

The third egg was needled and SG lowered himself once more over the bowl. His face reddened. A forelock of hair fell onto his lightly sweating forehead. The egg’s innards came out in globs. Die Lüdde watched on. I began to wonder what I could bake that required two eggs, and for how long an egg with a hole in the top could survive in the fridge. From the kitchen table, I heard the promise of, ‘now, if we look after these eggs and are really careful with them, we’ll have them for thirty years.’ I chose not to burst that particular bubble of his. I feel, somehow, as if we are destined to repeat this for the next decade or so.

Die Lüdde trotted off to kindergarten with two empty eggs, which have already been painted and are hanging on a branch in the classroom. And another new tradition has been born in our household; Papa hunched over a bowl blowing the innards of an egg out of a tiny hole. And people say Australians are crazy.

9 Comments

  1. Michael P. Whelan

    15 March, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Happy Easter for You Liv and All of Your Loved Ones

  2. kstienemeier

    15 March, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    The new man and I had such a laugh over this when you posted it on instagram. The story here is even better. Such silly ideas the Germans sometimes- especially when you see the average German man‘s hands and imagine them trying to stick a needle in a raw egg. Wer ist hier verrückt 🙃

  3. Ute Seemann

    15 March, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I still have a couple of (blown out) Easter eggs my children painted some 40 years ago, to hang on string from the Easter bouquet – its worth it, and the South African grandchildren contributed theirs …. lovingly preserved in a special carton and taken out every year.
    Its all part of “making memories”…..

    1. Sven

      16 March, 2018 at 3:25 am

      My mother is the same. As a traditional German lady she still has about 20 eggs that she and her mother carefully created over 50 years ago…..and they still come out each Easter.

  4. Renate Barreeas

    15 March, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    I loved the
    Work for 2 eggs. Yes I still do it my grandchildren always very happy. I have a small round object which has a pin in it one presses over a egg yes from Germany maybe you can still get them. Happy Easter.

  5. heioett

    19 March, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Lovely again to read your Blog. I also have kept blown out eggs that my children painted in the kindergarten or in school more than 40 years ago! We enjoyed painting and creating eggs at home ,too like Batic eggs. Every year I hang them on branches of trees . Blowing out eggs is a hard job, but when you stir inside the egg with your needle and open the scin of the egg yolk it’s easier, try it! Whenever you visit the little town Nesselwang in the Allgäu, you should go to the Brauereigasthof “Post”. They have an interesting collection of about 3000 different Easter eggs from all over the world. Eastereggs are not only German tradition.

  6. mor

    9 April, 2019 at 7:47 am

    if you make the wjole abit bigger it is actually much easier and still works

  7. Sabine Hoen

    9 April, 2019 at 7:51 am

    I am a german living in Australia and have followed this tradition with my now grown up children. Still love hanging up their painted eggs.
    Wonderful memories.

  8. heioett

    9 April, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    I Must 😂 laugh,reading your article and I remember well my blowing job when my kids were in the age of yours. In fact I still have some eggs my kids made in kindergarten 40 years ago and they hang on a branch every Easter. Last week I went to a Easteregg market in Oy(Allgäu ) and bought some more fancy handcrafted eggs,because even our grandchildren are grown out of painting eggs. Keep the eggs your children made it will be a nice memory later, when they are adult. Happy egg hunt,I hope you can do it in your garden,Easter is so much fun with small kids!

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