When I posted the April meal plan on the last day of March, I knew there was no way I would have any real concept about what I might be doing on Easter. We tend to be a little loose about Easter plans — J. and I regard it as the only real holiday during the year when we can actually do our own thing. We stay in our own house, in our own neighborhood, attend our own church, and make our own decisions fully about who to invite (or not); what to eat; and when to eat it. The big holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, are dedicated to traveling to see our families — a lovely tradition in its own right — but Easter is OURS.
So on the meal plan, I simply noted that it would be Easter Sunday, and I would decide later what we were doing and eating that day — more to come later, I said confidently. A peek at the calendar tells me that “later” really should be now. Our plans have settled, I think, or at least as much as they’re going to. Time for the menu reveal.
We’re doing several different components to Easter, as far as food goes. I’d like to say that I plan to make a special breakfast, but in fact, I’ve been asked to sing during the services at our church that morning, so I’m sure I’ll be rushing to get out the door early so I can warm up and prepare with the accompanist. That’s okay, though; what with all the food later in the day, the kids hardly need a special meal to fill their tanks in the morning. I’m sure they’ll manage to sneak in some candy at the neighborhood egg hunt. The usual Cheerios will be just fine.
Our friend B.W. is planning to join us, but has a work commitment until late afternoon that day. She’ll have to drive up to our place from Connecticut afterward, so I’m making two Easter “dinners,” believe it or not. The first will be our family meal, served as a late lunch sometime between egg hunts and naptime. At L.’s request, I’m making a pork roast, which I’ll likely brine with citrus and herbs; we’ll probably accompany that with crisp roasted potatoes, carrots with herb butter, and a salad of greens and blanched asparagus with lemon vinaigrette.
By the time B.W. arrives in the evening, it will be late-ish for the kids to eat a real meal, so we’ll give them a lighter meal at the usual hour and get them to bed on time. With the boys asleep, J., B.W., and I can enjoy some quiet adult time (and, dare I suggest it — a glass of wine, perhaps?). I’m planning to set out a spread of nice small bites so we can pick at our leisure. Depending on shopping and time, we’ll probably do a few little lamb lollipops for each of us, along with a spring vegetable tartine, assorted bruschettas, and a plate of cheeses, fruits, etc. Simple but satisfying is what I’m thinking, so we can all enjoy a nice Easter celebration together, without me having to pull off two big spectacular meals in one day.
Obviously, on an occasion like Easter, desserts are not much of an issue, given all the candy and sweet treats that are floating around. Clearly J. and I have to make decisions about the Easter baskets just as we have to negotiate every other holiday — striking the balance between giving our boys the same excitement and enjoyment all the other kids get, without badly compromising our ideals. We treat the Easter baskets as a place where a few selected sweets can go, and round them out with small toys and books with a spring theme. One year, the board book version of “The Runaway Bunny” graced L.’s basket; at another time, tiny stuffed lambs and chicks peeked out of the fake grass.
I’ll likely get each child a small chocolate bunny for his basket. I do consider the chocolate bunny de rigeur; after so many years of Easter baskets in my own childhood, I know just how exciting that particular item is on Easter morning. The bonus, of course, is that it’s easy to find chocolates that are high-quality and not full of the same nasties as, say, jelly beans are; plus chocolate is, in and of itself, so much more satisfying that the kids are happy with a few bites at a time. Alongside the chocolate, I’ll be making lemon shortbread cookies in the shape of bunnies and eggs — they’ll be a nice dessert later for everyone, if any of us want a little treat. I’m also considering making a foray into the homemade marshmallow world and have been pondering various recipes; but L. wants something pink in his basket, so I may try to tinker with them and add some strawberry to make them both sweet and colorful for him.
I’ll likely forget later in the week, so I’ll say Happy Easter now to those who celebrate it; and I’ve already been remiss in neglecting to wish a Joyous Passover to many others among you. For my totally secular friends, Happy Spring. Regardless of the occasion, I hope you’ll all be making and/or eating something wonderful with the people you love this weekend.