Easter Memories

“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our Mom’s homemade lasagna or memorable birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.” ~ Homaro Canto

Let’s face it, all our major celebrations are about the food. Okay, let us be honest here. Even our minor celebrations, and day to day meals are all about the food. But the holidays have their own traditions and steeped in our memories are the way things used to be–which informs how we celebrate today.

Easter is a deeply religious holiday, but it is also the official welcoming of spring for those imbued or not in the religious tradition. And in order to celebrate, we feast on what we think of as traditional spring food. When I was young we always had ham studded with pineapples and cloves on Easter, plus the requisite scalloped potatoes. Today I may have ham, but lamb is really the tradition in our household, studded with garlic, accompanied by tiny red potatoes, both complemented by mint sauce.

My mom never served lamb–and it goes back to a true story of when she was a young girl living on a farm. She made a pet out of a cute little lamb, and… well, you know the rest of the story. My uncle named a calf after me (and another one after my cousin RuthAnn), but I was wise enough to know not to ask whatever became of LouAnn the calf. I like to imagine that the calf grew into a happy chocolate milk giving cow, who was put out to pasture after serving her time, but I have a feeling the fate may not have been so picturesque. I refuse to think about it. Unfortunately, my mom had to face reality at the supper table. A reality that lived with her forever. I guess some childhood food memories are not idyllic.

I am fortunate in that my food memories are not marred with a regrettable incident. The closest I come to an unpleasant food memory is refusing to eat my squash when I was about eight or so. I remember having to sit at the table and eat the (by now) very cold and thus even more unappetizing orange-yellow stuff. I remember gagging on each mouthful–but I learned a valuable lesson. Or actually I don’t think I did. But I do like and eat squash with gusto now (although it could have something to do with the copious amounts of butter and maple syrup I lace it with.)

Easter dinner always followed a day where my little sister and I wore brand new outfits complete with hat and spring coat and white gloves even if it were cold out. Our legs may have bore goosebumps as we abandoned our leotards for the day to wear little white ankle socks with our white shoes. The outfits of course were for the morning church service, which was preceded by our Easter egg hunt, and a token bite off the ear of our chocolate Easter bunnies. I do not remember my brothers having special clothes for the day, but they always wore a suit to church–you just did in those days.

Sunday dinners were always special, but a holiday Sunday meal was extra special. Sometimes we would have asparagus for the Easter meal but we always had green Jell-O with cottage cheese in it. I do not remember really liking this combo a lot–but it did connote spring at our house. Dessert was always wonderful, as my mom excelled at baking. In later years, a carrot cake encased in cream cheese icing became our favourite go-to Easter dessert–but there were always cookies, and something coconut–for some reason Easter and coconut were bound together in tradition.

As we approach this Easter weekend we leave winter behind, even if it seems somewhat stubborn in overstaying its welcome. I have an arrangement of pussy willows and some coloured Easter eggs and a few bunnies scattered about, plus a vividly coloured hydrangea plant I am trying to keep alive until at least after the holiday. Some of my Easter traditions have gone by the wayside–I no longer colour eggs with my kids as they are now grown adults, but I still get them something chocolate and probably will until they are 70, or I die first.

We will have lamb and little red potatoes, some asparagus (and peas for those who refuse to eat the asparagus), and the requisite mint sauce (which goes wonderfully with peas and potatoes and lamb). Dessert? I am not sure–but I am thinking the tradition of carrot cake with thick white whipped cream cheese icing will be a good fit. We will eat, drink, and be merry, ushering in a new season of hope. Is that not what Easter is all about?

Published in: on March 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My mum jokingly says she was a country girl and eating family pets was the norm, although on many occasions she would behead and pluck a chicken.

  2. Sounds so delicious…all of it.

  3. My Mum used to make ‘Leprechaun salad’. Lime jelly with cottage cheese in it – and walnuts, cherries and pineapple. My kids still ask for it for family get togethers!
    Lovely food memories here. I don’t eat lamb either. How can you when you have seen them skipping about?! 🙂

  4. Great times Lou, thanks for the walk down memory lane💖

  5. Your memories take me back to mine too… yes the dressing up for Easter service complete with dress, shoes, hat and little gloves. And of course chocolate bunnies after hunting for the coloured eggs hidden for us to find. And the dinner too…
    Happy Easter LouAnn to you and your family… Diane


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