I love Easter. Where I’m from, we pour it on thick- loads of food, dying and hiding several dozen eggs, and the most important Easter event- an elaborate Easter basket hunt, complete with little girls running around on frilly dresses, fighting over who gets to use the dog to find Easter eggs in the back yard. In fact, my favorite picture of me is from an Easter when I was about five years old. I’m in a blue and white dress, complete with patent leather shoes and white hair bows, sitting primly in a lawn chair in the middle of the yard, legs crossed, drinking a can of Coke- I was such an elfin child, I could barely hold it with both hands.
As I’ve gotten older, and Easter has become a bit more hectic, my mother and I focused more on culinary escapades over the chocolate bunny and Cabury egg variety. We enjoy Easter because my grandparents permit a bit more flexibility with the menu than they usually do (although we do keep the mainstays of macaroni and cheese and some sort of greens- collard, turnip, or mustard,) as opposed to Christmas and Thanksgiving, which have unalterable menus.
Last year, Easter dinner was rather labor intensive- pork loin with onion marmalade, butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage, Cornish hens, green bean and feta salad, greens, macaroni and cheese. At one point, my friend Adam (one of the 20+ people we fed that day) arrived for dinner, and my mother immediately dispatched him to the ravioli filling station set up in one corner of the kitchen. That was also the year I decided Tab energy and vodka made for a charming aperitif.
This year, my mom had to get my sister from school on Friday, and my grandparents and I arrived on Saturday, leaving little time for elaborate prep. We rolled in around 4, and my now-21-year-old sister (who henceforth was not allowed to TOUCH my mother’s car) and I immediately began fighting over who got to drive the car to the store to get bread. Weird.
Saturday’s dinner was my mom’s famous Mediterranean chicken packets, the ultimate lazy meal. Drop some vegetables (spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, whatever) in some aluminum foil, top with a chicken breast, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta, close up the packet, and whack it in the oven at high heat for 15 minutes. It’s wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am cooking, with consistently delicious results…
I had dinner with my grandparents, and departed to church. Not to actually attend services, mind you, but to put in an appearance at the champagne reception following the Saturday night service. (I didn’t drink though, sadly). From there, Carolina and I trooped out with our Greensboro posse for a night on the town….or the evening spent drinking wine on the couch at my old youth advisor’s house, catching up. Then Carolina, his old college suitemate and I hit downtown, where I am STILL haunted by some of the terrible, terrible fashion crimes walking the streets (white platforms? and jean shorts? really?!) We ended up at Natty Green’s, drinking beer, playing shuffleboard (them) and fending off advances from fat frat-boy wannabes in plaid shorts and Topsiders (me.) I felt like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama.
The next morning, another fight ensued over a trip out to get a Sunday New York Times (the Greensboro Barnes and Noble no longer sells the Post) and a trip to the store for cheese, sausage, and Cheerwine. Then it was time to get down to the actual business of the day- college basketball.
Oh yeah, we started making Easter dinner too. My mother went low maintenance this year, allowing both of us the chance to sort of hang out and watch basketball. The menu this year featured grilled lamb marinated in yogurt, rosemary (fresh from the GIANT bush in the backyard,) and lemon, a hen roasted in the oven, mac and cheese, cider-chipotle collards, asparagus (ew!), broccoli, and the always classic poundcake and ice cream (my mother makes the poundcake from scratch, and has the recipe memorized.)
In addition to myself, my mom, grandparents and sister, Adam upheld his annual tradition of coming over for dinner/basketball, as well as grandmother’s brother and sister-in-law, AND a whole gaggle of cousins.
One of my cousins brought over her puppy, the CUTEST Rottweiler imaginable. She romped around with Audrey (my dog) and escaped some inappropriate advances from Bandit (my grandparent’s dog) before passing out in a tired puppy heap on the dining room floor.
And, just to make you jealous, as someone told me it was sleeting in DC, some gratuitous shots of my wonderfully sunny backyard: