I LOVE Easter. It is a springtime holiday, and just for that reason alone it is a favorite of mine. Spring is cheerful and happy and hopeful… The flowers peeking up from the soil (sometimes right through the snow… like now!), there are little baby animals everywhere, warm rain and sunshine replace the sleet and freezing rain, we trade in the winter parkas for light jackets and pastel sweaters… I could go on and on and on. Suffice it to say that I simply adore spring. As a little girl in a big (Catholic) family, we had huge family gatherings for Easter. It would start with church and my first warm, fuzzy memory… a “bunny corsage“.
A carnation with googly eyes, pipe cleaner ears, little whiskers and a big bow. To this day, one sniff of a carnation and I am instantly transported back in time. Priceless.
After church we would head to my grandma and grandpa’s house for a day of celebrating with tons of food and sweets and extended family. There was always ham and scalloped potatoes and lots of cousins. We used the “pretty plates” and ate in the dining room under the beautiful chandelier. My Aunt Adeline would always make the coconut coated “lamb cake” and my mom would make little chocolate nests that would sit at everyone’s place.
These little nests are made by melting chocolate and mixing with torn up “Shredded Wheat” cereal to form little nests. Fill each nest with jelly beans and little “Peeps” or fuzzy bunnies or chicks. Funny story. One year my mom didn’t actually have “Shredded Wheat”, but she did have some “high fiber bran cereal” on hand. That should work. Well it worked all right. Really well, in fact. Especially for a few of my brothers who liked to sneak other people’s nests when they weren’t looking… (teehee!)
So time marches on… and suddenly you are in the position of “making” those special memories for your own children. Some childhood memories we did our best to “re-create”… others we made up as we went along. I still remember going to the florist when my daughter was maybe four years old and attempting to explain a “bunny corsage”. Ha! Aunt Adeline’s “lamb cake” became the inspiration for a happy little bunny cake that the kids used to make and decorate. The chocolate nests were a tradition that survived the test of time – Made with Shredded Wheat, that is. When the kids were little we had an Easter Village, Easter trees and even made an Easter gingerbread house one year. We were big on dying Easter eggs – our “trick” was to use 2 “tablets” per color to make them extra bright – and we made the most beautiful decorated Easter sugar cookies; chicks, bunnies, crosses, flowers, ducks… beautiful AND yummy; gotta say!! But once again, time marches on. Now those little people of mine are college seniors. Easter is… well; different. I still decorate, but I realize that is basically for me at this point. But that chandelier that hung in my grandma’s dining room is now hanging in my dining room. The “bunny village” is tucked away for safe keeping and I have saved all of the cookie cutters. Yep. I am patient and confident. There is no doubt in my mind that there will, once again, be bunny corsages in our future. Someday…
Check out this blog, Dally’s Vintage Days, for a recipe for scalloped potatoes similar to the ones “Gram” used to make.