Spring is coming ? Easter is coming. I think of my Mom?s potato salad, dying eggs with my children, the years our bird dog spent all Easter morning ?pointing? the eggs we?d hidden Al fresco brunches with fresh strawberry crepes which later gave way to dining rooms formalities of lamb roast with mint jelly, and fresh asparagus, then evolving back to ham, potato salad and deviled eggs, like my Mom. The years my sons and I celebrated in the Florida Keys, now celebrating with my son?s in-laws, grilling out in the back yard. Religious services, spring bonnets, orchid corsages and Easter lilies. Customs particular to South Texas ? bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes along the highway, cascarones and Fiesta, and finally, PEEPS?!
Traditions are what give our life stability and meaning and keep us in the rhythm of life. They give us something to look forward to, something to count on, and something to change when we want to, move, or add new family members! Traditions can always be changed or re-created. In fact, many of our transitions in life involve redoing traditions.
Some of us will celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, others as a secular celebration. It?s simply in our blood to rejoice in the springtime.
Easter began when the ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival in honor of Eastre, their goddess of fertility and spring. Her symbol was the rabbit! It?s the custom in most cultures to celebrate the vernal equinox with various symbols of fertility and rebirth, such as rabbits and eggs!
Easter is the first Sunday following the first full moon, which falls on or after the vernal equinox, March 21st. There it falls between March 22nd and April 25th.
Is it (a) a waterfall in Northern Mexico, (b)a rare species of Easter orchid, (c)a large South American rodent, or (d) none of the above.
The answer is d.
Cascarones are hollowed-out eggshells filled with confetti. The tradition in the Southwest and Mexico is to crack them over your friends? heads, and the person with the most confetti in their hair is the most loved!
Check out this great cascarones tutorial: http://www.epicurious.com/e_eating/e04_easter/cooking_class.html .
Each year in April, San Antonio puts on FIESTA, which sometimes coincides with Easter ? weeks of festivities. Roadside vendors, grocery stores and upscale boutique sell cascarones. I used to mail them to my son when he was in college in Seattle, and wondered what the Washingtonians would think.
It?s believed Marco Polo brought them to Mexico. You can order yours here, just $5.50: http://www.latinworksco.com/cascarones.html .
The Easter Lily originated in Japan, but today, 95% of the bulbs used for the potted Easter Lilies we give, and receive, come from 10 farms along the California/Oregon border. They?re grown in various other places, including Michigan. Did you know growers can count the leaves to determine when the plants will flower? Is there anything more fragrant?
I eagerly await the annual spring ballotin from Lady Godiva: http://www.godiva.com/welcome.asp . Is the chocolate bunny more your speed? http://www.chocolatevault.com/easterbunworks.htm has chocolate bunnies, lambs, crosses, hens, roosters, loloes, Easter cards, you name it!
50 Years of Divine Madness
Some year along the way, ?Peeps?? became a part of our Easter tradition. They?re aren?t in the house, we don't eat them, but they?re v. much a part of the experience. And this year it?s the 50th anniversary of Peeps?.
The ?San Francisco Chronicle? noted that over 600 million of these little marshmallow things will be produced, riding on a wave of ?kitsch and nostalgia drawn from two influential demographic pools.?
True in my household! I, the Baby Boomer, include them in baskets because that?s what my parents did; my son, the Generation Xer, joins his peers in investigating all that a Peep? is, and all a Peep? can be.
Among the many mouth-watering recipes for Peeps? is Blue Peep? Pie which calls for blue gelatin, Caracao, and 15 blue Peeps?. ?Snip apart each family of Peeps?,? it says. ?Arrange in concentric circles atop pie filling. Use fresh blueberries to fill in gaps between Peeps?.? Full recipe is here: http://recipes.alastra.com/holidays/blue-peep-pie.txt .
WHAT CAN YOU DO BESIDES EAT A PEEP??
?I?m glad I?m not the only one who?s tried toasting peep!? writes a list member of Gail?s Recipe Swap Archive. ?I recently toasted some over a gas stove burner and got pretty good results. The key is to blow them out immediately when they catch on fire??
?Creative alternative uses? are listed on http://www.epicurious.com : ?Pre-Easter fresh Peeps? can be moistened in punch cups and then used around the kitchen window as cheery caulking. You can color coordinate this with your kitchen.?
Eat your heart out, Martha!
Various forms of Peeps? abuse also take place and are noted on the Internet: April Showers is here: http://www.marks.networktel.net/main.html .
Gen Xers may be seeking a Peeps? screensaver: http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/about/screensaver.html or to send a Peeps ? ecard: http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/about/screensaver.html .
Created by Just Born, Inc., they?ve been joined by Peeps? Marshmallow Jelly Beans. You'll understand the ?creative alternative uses? for Peeps?? when I report that tasters at epicurious.com ?found the marshmallow-fruit combo overwhelmingly sweet. Comparisons were made to Pledge? wood cleaner, bad bubble gum, and lavender soap.?
Wait a minute. Does that mean someone knows what Pledge? wood cleaner tastes like?
NOW VISITING A LOCATION NEAR YOU:
The Peep? Fun Bus
It?s coming to San Antonio, April 14-20! To find out when it?s coming your way, go here: http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/50_anniversary/fun_bus.html , or call the hotline: 1-866-270-9638. You can even request it for your special event or festival.
Heck, that?s worth creating a festival for!
Q: What do you have to do to get a year?s supply of Peeps??
A: Win the Easter basket contest: http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/50_anniversary/contest.html
Q: What's a ?year?s supply? of Peeps??
A: 365 packages.
Q: What do the contest losers get?
A: 2 years? supply of Peeps. j.k.
WHAT TO SERVE ALONG WITH YOUR PEEPS? FOR EASTER DINNER?
Will it be ham or lamb? Go here to cast your vote: http://epi.advance.net/forums/hamorlamb/ In south Texas, it?s customary to cook out. The parks are full. Not having done this myself, I don't know for sure, but I think neither ham NOR lamb is involved.
I think I?ll revert to haute cuisine this year. Rack of Lamb with Spinach Pine-Cut Crust and Minted pea Sauce, Hibiscus-Marinated Leg of Lamb (featuring dried nontoxic and organic hibiscus flowers, Red Zinger tea, garlic, olive oil, red current jelly), Lavender Cr?me-Caramel Tart, Asparagus Napoleons with Oriental Black Bean Sauce, Hot Cross Buns ? ahhh ?. sounds well worth the effort to me. Visit: http://www.epicurious.com/e_eating/e04_easter/eastermenu.html for the menus.
Or you may wish to have a Vegan Easter. Go here http://www.veganfamily.co.uk/easter.html#uk and you'll hear ?Easter Parade? playing.
?Get your brightly colored Panama hat here, http://www.latinworksco.com/decolores.html
?Recipe for Easter bonnet cookies here, http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/special/feature/famf0401boncook/famf0401boncook.html
?Attend the Easter Bonnet Rod Run, Oak Ridge Tennessee, http://www.easterbonnetrodrun.com/, ?Ladies bring your finest Easter bonnet, and Men, dress up your bonnet on your car?
?Attend the Annual Easter Bonnet and Hat Parade in San Diego, http://www.softops.org/easter.html
YES, HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL --
And last, but not least, the songs from our childhood. ?Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin? down the bunny trail, hippity hoppin?, Easter?s on its way. He?s got jelly beans for Tommy, colored eggs for sister Sue, There?s an orchid for your mommy, and an Easter bonnet too.
Originally sung by Gene Autry ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003W8B9/susandunnmome-20 ) and you can listen to it here: http://www.dobhran.com/greetings/GReaster2.htm .
Surely this is a time to spring clean ? your house, car, office, garden, mind, and spirit! Get the weeds out, turn the soil, add some fertilizer, water and sunshine, plants seeds, prepare for blossoms. Rebirth yourself ? come back to life!
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