Happy Easter! May the Easter Bunny’s hop down the bunny trail wind your way with lots of chocolate Easter bunny effigies. And may you eat the ears first as statistics (gathered by someone with nothing better to do) bear out that most people do. Realistically, where else would you start—the ears are the most vulnerable and easiest way to chomp your way through the delectable. It just makes sense.
Easter when I was a little girl meant a new dress, fancy hat, and shiny shoes. There are many a pic of me and my sister (or my sister and I) in our Easter bonnets, with knobby little knees peeking out from under beautiful “designer” dresses (with crinolines no less: for those of you too young to remember and if my memory serves me right, a crinoline was like a slip with a stiff netting that made your dress flare out). We wore cute little white ankle socks tucked oh-so-delicately into our Mary Janes (those black or white patent leather shoes with the strap across the instep to keep them from falling off). Our “designer” dresses were made lovingly by our mother, who was quite the seamstress and milliner of some note, as every year she created a new hat for each of us to wear to church on Easter Sunday. At that time you could buy a wide hat band and add whatever accoutrements you wanted to it—silk-like flowers, lace, ribbon, netting—the choices were endless, and voila—you had your new and original Easter bonnet to wear to church.
I still remember opening my Easter basket and finding the requisite chocolate Easter bunny or chicken, and all those pastel coloured marshmallow-y eggs. I loved those colourful eggs at the time, but today the memory of their utter sweetness makes me shutter. I am not sure why, but our chocolate Easter bunnies always ended up in the freezer. We were allowed to occasionally break off a piece and eat it for a treat—but we never ate a whole bunny in one sitting (which was probably a good thing—throwing up all over our Easter outfits would be none too festive.)
Today, Easter revolves around church for some, eating, and Easter treats. I may be foregoing the traditional ham this year in favour of prime rib as it seems to be on sale everywhere. I still may acquiesce and get one of those spiral cut honey hams—they have a charm all of their own. I have never made a “ham from scratch” since I left my family home—but I distinctly remember crowning a huge ham with round pineapple slices, and sticking the cloves in the diamond points, carved into the top of the ham ever so expertly by my mother.
Scalloped potatoes always seemed to accompany the ham, and yellow mustard was scooped out of the jar into a crystal bowl for polite presentation, and if I remember correctly we always had asparagus and some kind of green jello salad with cottage cheese embedded in it. Dessert was angel food cake (not out of a box) with a lemony icing to welcome spring. And the bonus about Easter when I was a kid was that we had the week after Easter off too, to nibble on more of our bunnies—perhaps the tummy, arm or foot, as the ears of course were already gone, broken off on Easter and devoured before anyone noticed.
Easter, to those who do not attend church is the harbinger of spring. And though I no longer acquire a new Easter bonnet, my knees are no longer knobby, and I get to wear “big girl” shoes without a strap, I miss the days of crinolines, frozen chocolate bunnies, and a whole week off to do as I please.
Enjoy your Easter, and if you haven’t done so for a while, get yourself a chocolate bunny and eat the ears first. You will feel like a kid again!