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Easter: A Tribute to Renewal and Rebirth

When I think of Easter, childhood memories float to the surface.  Always a new outfit and hat, morning services at a local church, a family party either at our home or that of family friends, and baskets filled with chocolate treats, dreadful candy eggs in bright pastels, jelly beans and very cool Cadbury eggs with the yellow “yolk” centers.

One year I received a perfect little duckling from my grandmother.  I loved it as it looked exactly like a real duckling.  I made it a little home, complete with a water dish and played with it for a very long time.  It never occurred to me that it had actually once been a duckling somewhere,  sacrificed to be used as a child’s Easter toy.

All this feels so very long ago and actually, it was a long time ago.

But it doesn’t seem all that long ago that my nine-month-old daughter crawled around through the grass, crushing decorated eggs with her hands (she was a little confused on the concept), or a few years later, finding a coveted plastic egg filled with money during a hunt in the rural beach town where we lived.

And yet, on Sunday my two grandsons will be running through my garden, hunting for eggs and carrying baskets with foil-covered chocolates, another generation thrilling to the Spring light and brilliant green trees.

Passover and Easter.  Holidays celebrating resilience, hope resurrection, rebirth.  And all around us in the Northern Hemisphere our Mother Earth is reawakening in the warming light.  Kind of amazing, that no matter how technologically brilliant we humans may be, we don’t hold a candle to the magnificence of this annual performance occurring on our Blue Planet.

Then there’s the food.  My Meyer lemon tree is decorated with mildly tart fruit just begging to be picked; my grandson Theo will joyfully gather them for lemonade.  Even though the eggs they will hunt are made of plastic, there will be dressed eggs on the table. (I prefer dressed to deviled as I use neither horse radish nor hot sauce in the filling.)

Fingerling potatoes, fresh asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, baby lettuces — living in Coastal California is a gift, especially in the Spring.

Dessert is always what I consider most as I am a passionate baker.  However, this year my daughter is doing the honors.  Nevertheless, given the bounty of lemons, I will make Lemon Curd and fill little tart shells with this sweet-tart, silky custard, and put a dab of Creme fraiche on top.

Another absolute favorite recipe that I have made for Easter is Italian Custard Cake. Deceivingly light in texture, it’s so good, especially served with raspberry coulis or fresh strawberries.

Another Spring favorite is Almond Rum Cake.  This isn’t a large cake, just perfect for six to eight guests.  Served with fresh berries and whipped cream and it’s very good.

Whether you celebrate either of these holidays or honor the change of light in your own way, may you celebrate hope and rebirth too.

Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

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