Easter… I can not believe it is here already. I have been flooded with memories lately…. back to when I was a little girl during this time of year. My father, a Scout master, would get up REALLY early with my brothers and pick up the Easter flower sales to be handed out after mass. I remember waking up and seeing the large dining room table filled with potted Easter lilies, hyacinths of all colors, tulips and daffodils. The scents of all of them all in one place was overwhelming. But to this day, the scents remind me of Easter morning like sautéed celery and onion remind me of Thanksgiving. For me, this signified spring had arrived. The lilies were always my favorite.
Growing up in a large catholic family, we have traditions like any other family. Our aunt, who lived with us, would make fish cakes for lent Fridays. This recipe has been in our family for a very long time. Our grandparents once owned a fish market in Philly (early 1900’s) and this recipe was one that was made and sold there. It was a family secret for a long time and the only one that made them that I know of was our Aunt Eleanor. Maybe others did make it? IDK But I think they all liked hers best. We would all pitch in and help make the patties and bread them. The recipe made approx. 6 dozen so you can imagine how labor intensive this task was! She would not only make them for our clan of 11 but our back door became a revolving door to all my aunts and uncles picking up their special plate loads. Although the visits were sometimes brief, I can still hear them holler their hellos as the walked in.
Easter Baskets were not big deal in our house. There was one big basket for all of us to share. I do not remember ever having an egg hunt when we were younger. Egg dying, even though we did it every year, always seamed like a chore for my mom. Honestly, I understand why. The mess that was left over from us kids? She was the one that had to clean it up. I am sure this is why I never really enjoyed egg dying or making up baskets for Allyson. I did it when she was little. I stressed about the mess that was about to be made with the food coloring. Mixing colors would stress me out but her scientific mind always needed to experiment (and I let her). Her first basket had a stuffed bunny inside it – no candy because it would have been Dan and I eating it. I did the traditional candy baskets (grass that got everywhere, jelly beans and chocolate) from when she was probably 3 to 8. Then I went back to theme baskets until maybe 12 or 13? I have not made up a basket since. I feel some things should have an age limit on them. If you don’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore, I’ll just buy you candy if you really want it. I leave all this up to my MIL because she ENJOYS doing it. I did like some of the theme baskets that I put together. My favorite was Al’s tea basket. I purchased a fancy cup and saucer from an antique shop and filled the basket with tea, honey sticks and biscotti. I think this may have been Al’s favorite too. She LOVES tea and honey! Oh and for the record, Al always had egg hunts with her aunts at my MIL’s house.
I look forward to dinner this year and watching Allyson assist her younger cousins ( aged 3 and 1 ) with their egg hunt. I will be right there cheering them on and taking pictures along the way. For me it’s all about family and spending time with them. The eggs can stay white. The baskets do not need to be overflowing…. as long as there is still family to holler “hello” as they come through the door.
Do you have a favorite family tradition that you look forward to?