I always commit to do too many things on Easter. Why Easter and no other holidays I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s because of that extra day when I know I’ll be off. I keep thinking that I will be able to churn out food in epic proportions. I inevitably fall short. Except that this year, I didn’t. Much thanks to Brian, who was willing to chop strawberries, cover cookie sheets in tinfoil, and do all of my dishes multiple times so I never ran out of clean measuring cups.
I made 1 tried and true recipe and 2 new kinds of pie.
The Lemon Meringue is a recipe of Brian’s Grandma Tess, and the filling is divine, tart, and lemony. I am still working out the meringue on top. It wants either to sweat, or have a weird layer of candy-flavored water in between the eggs and the filling. I’m told that Grandma Tess was also never completely happy with the meringue, so I know the struggle is real. But it’s never not tasty, and taste is all that matters when you’re feeding people who have to love you because you’re related.
Which is why I also experimented with a couple of new pies. I’ve been looking for a good berry pie recipe for a VERY long time now. The family could not believe I made this one with frozen berries, and insisted that everyone try it despite whether they wanted pie or not. Definitely a keeper and worth perfecting. The third pie I made (I know…) was a fresh strawberry. That one also turned out to be a hit, though I’m not sure how much I can claim credit for that. Mother Nature made me some REALLY good strawberries.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also made molasses ginger cookies for Brian’s Grandpa (who requested them), and deviled eggs.
We never got to eat the Lemon Meringue. I usually hold it in my lap for any drives, to keep the pretty caramelized top from getting mussed. A slow driver pulled out in front of Brian. He slammed on the breaks. The slippery glass pie pan slid out of my hands, hit the dashboard, then the floor, and the filling flew out of its pan and onto the dirty carpet. When we scooped as much of it as we could back into the dish, it was not only a travesty of a jumble of crumb crust and gelled filling, it was also speckled with little bits of black dirt all through. Ugh.
I have found, though, that there is nothing like determination in making sure you have a good day. My dad donated us the ½ of his Mud Pie that his side the family didn’t eat, which I took to my mom’s as a (super-yummy) substitute. I made copious fun of my busted pie, and then I felt alright about it all. Besides, it wasn’t for nothing. I learned that cold pie + room temperature egg whites = weird candy water layer between. That will be useful next year, despite not having tasted any of it. I also learned that I had cooked the mixture right – it all set up to the perfect consistency. Another tidbit for next time.
In other totally non-related news, I have been going on with the Steering The Craft exercises, and have written an Easter one, which I’m going to post below. This one was supposed to be a story where the 1st part repeated the 2nd part, and it’s not actually historically accurate at all, so please forgive me.
Aradegi took the reed basket down from the niche in the corner of her mud-walled home. She laid some leaves in the bottom of it, and on top of that she put the eggs she had climbed the trees to get. One of the birds had swooped down and pecked, but she had managed to put them in her pockets and shimmy back down the rough branches with all of them still intact. There were six, speckled and green, in her hands when she took them out. One for each month Eostre would spend in their world. Perfect.
She kissed the eggs and laid them on the wide green leaves. She filled the gaps of the basket with flowers. She laid the fresh offering near her door. Tomorrow, Aradegi would take her basket to the standing stones and watch the dawn rise over the foothills to greet them. She would offer her basket and Eostre would come and melt the snow.
Jane took the baskets down from the top shelf of the hall closet, trying not to trip on the haphazard pile of shoes beneath. In the back, behind the coats, were the plastic shopping bags of pipe cleaner chickens, paper grass, and plastic eggs. One by one, she cracked the eggs open and filled them with green speckled candies made of malt.
She arranged the things in the bright baskets so that the children would see the toys first thing. She laid the offering on the coffee table downstairs. Tomorrow the children would be up at dawn, waking Jane with a jump into her bed, squealing. They would all go into the living room to see what the Easter Bunny had brought them, and then they would drive to Grandma’s in the snow.