Awaken to pretty Easter baskets overflowing with flocks of colorful Peeps (the yellow ones are still the best but should be “cured” for a couple of days) nesting on Easter grass that’s covered with chocolate covered eggs, marshmallow bunnies, downsized Easterized candy bars, jelly beans galore and much, much more. Dig in, breakfast can wait.
Arrive at church on time, pews filled with painfully cute children dressed in their Easter finest meticulously chosen by doting moms now smiling from ear to ear beaming with pride but dreading the inevitable chocolate stains to come.
Ready, set, go, the hunt is on as children of all ages race around the yard with gleeful abandon, eyes shining with pure delight after each find. Colorful plastic eggs filled with goodies and even some hard boiled hand decorated eggs are placed about the lawn and garden some lying in plain sight for the little kids and some well hidden for the big kids.
Join the hungry procession into the dining room usually the loneliest room in the house but on this festive day the liveliest. Pull up a chair and take a seat, any seat but that one of course. Grace is shyly said by one of the youngest after some motherly coaxing and an offer too sugary to refuse. On the finely set extended table the Easter ham sits glazed and pinkly patient on its platter surrounded with golden pineapple rings but forever fated to play second fiddle to mom’s homemade raviolis those steamy soul satisfying pasta pillows filled with ricotta, a little parsley and a lot of love. Generously anointed with homemade gravy (sauce to the uninitiated) the savory sweet maternal elixir that’s every Italian kid’s first and most enduring emotional connection with food. Completed with homemade meatballs and bracciole and hot and sweet Italian sausage sprinkled brightly with a little locatelli, it’s difficult if not impossible to leave room for the neglected but tasty ham that’ll be enjoyed for the next few days slathered with mustard or mayo and topped with some cheese, lettuce and tomato. But both young and old know to leave room or loosen their belts for the mouth-wateringly sweet finale. A parade of scrumptious cakes, pies and cookies crowd the table all too irresistible to even the most hard core calorie counter. Many are lovingly baked from proudly inherited family recipes that have long ago achieved legendary stature. Some are artfully iced and some sweetly filled with fruits, nuts, Italian cream and memories.
Easter is spring’s deliciously joyful affirmation of Faith and family. A gloriously gladdening day to honor and celebrate our own cherished and empowering family tradition, built upon generations of proud family history, unity and love always to be the strongest part of who we are.