Stirring up memories
March 26, 2005
Hard to believe
that Sunday morning we’ll don our Easter bonnets, grab our baskets—at least some
of us—and hunt for Easter eggs tucked under the azalea blossoms. What’s Easter doing, coming in
But this year’s March 29 is not the earliest possible Easter. I thought
I’d go to the Internet and learn how the date is set, but it’s complex. Suffice it to say here, Easter is always
in spring and always on Sunday. It
can fall between March 23 and April 25.
The exact date is tied to the “Pascal full moon” which occurs around the
That’s Easter in the West.
Christians of the Eastern or Orthodox faith use another calendar and
calculation method. In Athens, Moscow and
they’ll be celebrating Easter on May 1 this year.
We associate Easter with the Jewish observation of Passover—that night in
Egypt when the first born of the
Jewish families were passed over.
Occasionally, Passover and Easter fall together, but again because of the
difference in calculations, the dates often vary. This year, Passover will begin at
sundown on April 23 and continue through the day of April 24.
All three commemorations share the drawing together of families and the
sharing of bountiful food.
I’ve decided that instead of spending time adjusting the calendar, I head
for the kitchen to cook up good food and some good fun.
Here’s a great recipe for a Jewish favorite that incorporates what many
homes will be full of this weekend — hard boiled eggs.
Chicken liver pâté
4 hard-boiled eggs, reserving 1 for
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup soft margarine
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 pound cooked chicken livers
(kosher if possible)
20 grinds black pepper
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Gently sauté onion and garlic in the fat over low heat until browned, but
not burned. Sprinkle onions and garlic with salt as soon as they begin to wilt.
Slice 3 of the hard-cooked eggs in half. Refrigerate the remaining egg to
be used for garnish.
sautéed onion, garlic, and drippings into the bowl of a food processor fitted
with the metal blade. Blend until smooth. Add hard-cooked eggs, cooked chicken
livers, black pepper, and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust
seasoning, keeping in mind that flavor will increase during refrigeration.
liver mixture into plastic wrap-lined decorative mold or bowl. Cover with
another layer of plastic wrap, pressing wrap to touch the top of the pâté,
refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, take pâté from
refrigerator and remove plastic wrap covering. Invert onto a decorative dish and
remove bottom layer of plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes to
1 hour, and then grate remaining hard-boiled eggs over the top before
Serve with warm bread or on crackers.
May be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 1 month.
with springtime eggs is a tradition all across Europe that goes back before the Christian era. The ovals are symbolic of new life and
rebirth. The eggs are delivered not
by the Easter Chicken, but by that seasonal favorite, the Easter Bunny, who hops
by early. The frisky beast, sometimes called the Easter Hare, is symbolic (no
surprise) of fertility, given its proclivity for frequent multiple births.
When I was a child the Bunny left a basket full of eggs and other goodies
at the foot of my bed. When we’d
gulped down one or two for breakfast (not to mention jelly beans and chocolate
eggs!) we’d run outside and have our own Easter Egg hunt.
Not that we didn’t trust the rabbit, but usually the night before with
great mess and fun we’d dyed plenty of eggs ourselves.
While we drew pictures with the little wax pencil or a birthday candle
and then carefully lowered the eggs into the coffee cups filled with dye, my dad
launched out on stories of when he was a little boy, “and we didn’t have these
fancy dyes. We had to make do with
what we had at home.”
What they had at home was plenty of eggs and the onions left over from
I’ve tried this. It makes a
pretty egg and isn’t nearly as messy as all those cups of colored water. (When we went to sunrise services on
Easter morning, our hands looked like stained glass windows!)
Country Easter eggs
eggs (as many as you want)
Yellow or red onions
Fill a large pan with water and let
Peel several onions and put the
peels into the boiling water.
Let the water simmer for about half
an hour until it is very dark.
Let the water cool without
extracting the peels.
Take fresh eggs and put each into a
fine net. (The bag lemons come in works well too.)
Fix the net around the egg firmly
with a thread.
Boil the eggs in the onion-peel
brew for about 15 min.
Take the eggs out of the water.
Remove the net.
Cool the eggs.
Serve on a large dish.
Use beet juice
to get the red-colored eggs, spinach juice to get the green-colored eggs. For
more elaborate ornament, use various-textured fabrics or nets. To make the eggs shine beautifully, rub
them with a piece of bacon.
If you aren’t into dying eggs but want a fun decoration try this.
Egg shell planter
Empty egg shell
(To empty an eggshell, poke a small hole the size of a pin head at each
end and blow out the inside gently.)
hollow egg on the small end and gently break off the pieces until you have a
small bowl. Go about a fourth of the way down. Fill the egg with potting soil;
leave a little room at the top. Sprinkle the soil with grass seed and cover
lightly with more soil. When the
grass is fully sprouted, place in a sunny window.
Now you can decorate the egg with the markers. Use stripes or checks to match your
décor, or the kids will want to draw silly faces to go with the green hair.
If you have a resident house cat, she’ll like it if you make her one and
put it on the floor. It makes a
dandy kitty snack.
It maybe a little late to get these going for Easter Day, but if you do
them now, they’ll be lovely (or fun) all spring. Or wait and make them to celebrate
Orthodox Easter on May 1.
Meanwhile, enjoy our beautiful early Easter.
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Trilla Pando is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance & the Story Circle Network