Monday, April 12, 2004

A Three Gravy Dinner 

Easter was at our house this year, which is where we like it. I love Easter -- not only for its religious roots (after all who can resist the allure of a resurrected savior?), but also because it brings along with it the promise of spring, not to mention substantial amounts of chocolate).

When I was a little girl I would wake to an Easter table unlike any other on earth. My mother transformed our table to a breathtaking feast for the eyes. It wasn’t just the Easter baskets full of chocolate and jelly beans that got my attention, it was the hand-painted egg cups and the tri-chemed table linens (tri-chem was big in the 60’s and my mom was great at it!), and the sweet smell of fresh hyacinths, and the shiny new shoes for church – I loved the whole Easter package.

So most years I try and recreate that at my house for my nieces and nephew and my mom and brother. I do up the table in a big way. In fact this year I did two tables – one for the breakfast and candy (how wrong do those two words sound together?) and the other for dinner. I bought new table linens and centerpieces and bunny dishes and unboxed loads of old favorites (bunny rabbit salt and pepper shakers, carrot candle holders, baskets).

We colored Easter eggs the night before and even made our family specialty – onion eggs. Each year I trek in to the supermarket and clean the onion bins of their loose skins. And every year the checkout clerk asks me what they’re for and looks at me like I am bizarre when I tell them. I wrap a layer of onion skins around a raw egg and secure the skins by wrapping layers of thread around the egg. I then hard boil the eggs per usual. They come out like little tie-dyed eggs in shades of oranges and yellows and greens – gorgeous. You can see an example at FabulousFoods.com, but they look better in person. (And no, they don’t taste like onions at all.)

We made ham and lamb and yam yet again this year. Partly because they rhyme and partly because that’s what we always make, along with asparagus and broccoli and roast potatoes. But this year we had to make three gravies – I ruined the first batch with too much celery seed; then my brother ruined the second batch with too much salt. Finally we gave up and put the job in Mom’s hands where gravy belongs. And of course it came out perfectly.

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