Easter is a big holiday–it is the cornerstone event of all of us who are Christian. We will all get to church extra early this morning to try to find parking spots and squeeze into packed pews to greet people we see every week and those we’ve never met before, and together we will celebrate the Resurrection together. Well, this will happen, my friend “Ryan” claims, until his punch card system for High Holy Day admittance takes off. Basically, if you don’t go enough times the rest of the year (i.e. enough punches on your card), it’s standing room only for you. I say that kind of defeats the whole “Jesus died for everybody” thing which is kind of a big part of the Gospel. He just laughs and says but then we wouldn’t have to leave so early on Easter and Christmas.
And then there are all the food traditions associated with Easter. (Holidays, in my mind are all together lovely if for no other reason than the special food that goes with them.) The Greeks roast lamb on a spit (though, in all fairness, Orthodox Easter isn’t for another month yet,) the English get out their lamb and mint jelly, all the Italians I know get out the REALLY FANCY cookies (the Italian bakery down the street from me makes this one that looks like a basket and has an actual hardboiled egg baked into it…), and in my family, we eat ham.
My family doesn’t actually have really strong food traditions with Easter, which is interesting, because we have really strong food traditions for everything else under the sun (including birthdays–three of my brothers have asked for lasagna for their birthdays every year for at least the past decade…)
This year, our Easter food game plan will again be in flux. My mom is doing some fancy cleanse which takes out all of these things for like a month and then you slowly re-introduce them to accomplish…something. (I don’t know. I just run because I like food too much…) That means, no grains. No dairy. No sugar. No legumes. (It’s kind of like going kosher and doing Lent at the same time. I did not point this out to my mother. I don’t think she would have appreciated it.) Anyway, we had to get creative with the big family Easter meal.
And, of course, yours truly stuck herself squarely in the middle of the planning. For example–how do you make mashed potatoes without milk? Add the potato water–it should do the same thing. Not quite the flavor, but that’s okay. Just put the butter on the side and let everyone (who is not cleansing) put it on themselves. I talked my mom into doing pork tenderloin and sauerkraut instead of ham this year (because it’s more flavorful, I said. Because isn’t sauerkraut supposed to be super healthy for you because of pickling properties or something, I said. Really, I just like pork tenderloin better than ham…) I am also bringing a bunch of new asparagus to roast in the oven with olive oil and sea salt (two great seasoners blessedly not taken off the list.) I’m also hoping that peas don’t count as “legumes” because they will look so pretty on the plate and they go well with potatoes. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be done about dinner rolls–you can’t eat hot cross buns when you can’t have flour. We’ll just have to abstain this year. I did go rogue on one point though–I made a lemon cake for the non-cleansers in the family, because, well–it’s lemon! It’s so springy and yellow and citrus-y! And we had to have some dessert. It is Easter, after all.
So, really, not too shabby, all things considered. It will be bright and festive. My siblings and I will gather around my parents’ table, and we will talk about growing up memories, like we do on every major holiday. (And because it’s Easter, we’ll pay homage to the time when my folks’ old golden retriever, Gracie, once ate my entire Easter basket–basket, grass, foil, everything–in her puppyhood.) We will gather. We will break bread. We will celebrate.
He is risen!
He is risen, indeed!