When I was little, my mom overdid every holiday, and I mean that in a good way. We decorated cookies for Christmas, made heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day, and had green outfits we wore especially on St. Patrick’s Day while eating corned beef and cabbage. For Easter, we dyed eggs and searched for our baskets on Easter morning to see what the big bunny brought us.
Despite the fun, games and Cadbury crème eggs that came along with it, Easter was never my favorite holiday. There’s nothing wrong with it, and being Catholic, I recognize it is the most important day on the church calendar. It’s just never been a holiday that stuck. I remember my brother and I used to beg to go to the Easter vigil mass because, for approximately 10 minutes, we got to hold candles after the lights are turned off (the candles symbolize that Christ has risen). However, once we blew those candles out, mass was another two hours long. And there was no promise of opening Christmas presents when we got home.
I think one of the reasons I was never particularly fond of this holiday is that, by the time it rolled around, living in Miami, it was already pretty warm out, and nothing is worse for a kid that hates to wear a dress than forcing her to wear an itchy, frilly dress in Florida heat. Yucky.
Me in said itchy dress. And itchy hat. Along with the little bro and cousins.
Despite my indifference, one of the cool things about this holiday is that, because it is such a big deal, at least to the Orthodox Christian world, it comes along with great traditions. Because I never really insisted on being home for Easter, Tomato and I have more than once found ourselves on the road. Way back in 2007, we got to experience the holiday in Prague and saw firsthand the ridiculously awesome Easter market that explodes on Wenceslas Square every year. Stall after stall, vendors sold a variety of handcrafted good; toys, glassware, jewelry, candles, embroidered cloth, dolls and the ever popular hand-painted Easter eggs. Not only that, but the aroma of barbecued sausages and large hams roasting on spits was intoxicating, and we couldn’t stop ourselves from indulging while watching performers sing and dance. I remember one instance where we sat in shock watching schoolchildren sing some pretty inappropriate English pop songs, probably unaware of what they were actually saying.
Egg shopping in Prague
Last year, we hit the road again and wen t to New York to see Newsies on Broadway and happened up on the spectacle of the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade. You know the song… “For In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it…You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade!” Talk about bringing out the crazies.
Yes, that would be an Easter bonnet, loosely interpreted.
With all the hoopla come some pretty amazing food options. Therefore this week, I’ll be making some of them. However, rather than rely on my friends or my own family traditions like I did for Christmas, I’m spreading my wings and hitting some countries that I have not yet visited on my food journey: Italy, Greece, Australia and Brazil.
Hot Cross Buns
Piçoca (Brazilian Peanut Candy)