Monday, April 5, 2010


We had our family celebration late in the day, for we have a wonderful sharing relationship with the other set of Grandparents who live nearby. The kids went there for Easter lunch, egg dyeing with the cousins, and a terrific time, I heard.

So we gathered here about six, for a still-sunny time of day for our own get-together. We had a lovely Easter Dinner, a sharing around of Easter Baskets, and a lot of fun at the table.

Guess whose chair?

We used the Friday-decorated eggs in some little bunny-cups as part of our decorations; the pink Santoku was in my basket. It was NOT part of the decor---I've just coveted one for a while, and wanted to show it.

First we ate our Dinner, the traditional old menu that we’ve served for years (except for the green beans---they’re a new addition, in place of the usual asparagus with blender Hollandaise that we usually have). The beans are a favorite of everyone.

Chris did his fabulous ham on the grill, which went wonderfully with lovely sticks of golden ripe pineapple, and we had a baked sweet potato. A---as in ONE. This was the biggest sweet potato I’ve ever seen---even in the days when we regularly planted and dug our own crop of regulars and sweets, we’d never unearthed such a football-sized marvel. It weighed more than a pound, and instead of the regular old casserole, I could not resist just serving it in its own handy container.

When it came out of the oven, I sliced off the “lid” and, holding it with a potholder on the other end, gently scraped it all up from the bottom with a fork, mixing it with little spoonfuls of the demerara/vanilla butter which always goes into the casserole. When it was all smooth and glistening, one more little dollop of the butter on top, and voila! A special dish, which served all of us, and there is a great rim of it left, plus all that lovely, vitamin-rich chewy skin, all bagged in the fridge for sharing later.

A little bowl of Pink Salad, because it's Easter, and you always have Pink Salad at Easter. I think it's a Law.

For some strange silly reason, I feel the sunny, warm days of Spring start to happen when I start making the season’s container of “cheater pickles.” The scent of the salty, tangy dill pickles, the sugar and cloves which go in dry and in a few magical days, change into sweet, syrupy almost-clear crisp pickles---that’s a wonderful sign of Spring to me, somehow, even more than the odors of the vinegar-syrup simmering for the Summer’s batch of Lime Pickles ever bespeak the hot days of August.

Caro made a wonderful Spinach Pie, from a WW recipe; it was luscious and rich, with Matzoh sections for the crust and some addictive seasoning I cannot name. I had a second slice about midnight, with a little pile of the pickles.

And of course, the Devilled Eggs, tangy with mustard and fresh-ground pepper: The center bowl is Kinda Caprese Salad---little bocconcini, grape tomatoes and olives in a basil-fresh oregano vinaigrette. Odd with Easter food, but it LOOKED pretty.

Our table, with a Colby-Jack Mac & Elbows, especially for our Littlest One, who ate not a bite of it, but quite a few tiny bites of the pink ham, some pineapple, and a couple of well-mangled egg halves, sans olives.

For dessert, Caro brought pretty cupcakes from the bakery:

Those are NOT Rabbit picks---they are Rabbit Rings, and you can wear them, if you're a little kid. You know, when you're sitting by one of those little kids, and she takes the ring off her cupcake and proceeds to lick the gooey frosting off the back of it, and the ring part, and then she drops it, and to keep the BLUE frosting (yes, she chose a blue one) from going down the skirt of her Easter Dress, you make a grab for it? And somehow, by one chance in a million, your finger just slides right into that ring filled with cold, sloppy pre-licked frosting? Not a nice feeling. EEEEWWWWW.
Now if it had been this lovely, warm berry pie, with the raspberries and blackberries and blueberries and strawberries all tossed with Splenda and baked in this lovely hand-done crust scattered with sparkly Turbinado---I'd have volunteered to pull out a plum anytime.
During the morning, I was surprised by the scent of a fabulous mixed-berry pie baking in Caro's upstairs kitchen. The cook always gets the honor of serving the dessert, so I handed her the knife and pie-server, while I scooped little scoops of vanilla-bean Breyer’s. It was WAY delicious, and isn’t it beautiful?

After dinner, we opened our baskets; anyone in the family could pick one from the other---Caro’s the Harry Potter fan, and the beautiful orange knife in her bowl is from Chris (I got the pink one to match). DDIL is a smart young businesswoman, whose baskets and presents usually consist of clothes and a special, uplifting book; she’s such a sweet, spiritual, kind person.
And Chris’ basket contained a note for a weekend-away at our favorite little Indiana inn, from me.

DS is a great cook, so he usually gets kitchen stuff, and we all know who the Elmo, piggy bank, and bunny-basket belong to. And Ganner got her her first pair of white gloves, as befits a young lady learning her manners. The little wooden cylinder behind the piggy bank is a fascinating, beautiful kaleidoscope, made of an old yarn spool by a wonderful local artisan. It’s like looking into a waterfall of diamonds and amethysts.

I know I seem to center all celebrations on the family table, but there are such good times and conversation and moments gathered around it, and cooking has always been such a great part of my life, I just talk about what I know best. There will hardly ever be any pictures of people here, except for perhaps strangers passing by as part of a scene. So Home and Family it is, in words and peripheral pictures, for those are what I do. And now, I’m considering a slice of that divine berry pie for my lunch. And maybe a devilled egg.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful, memorable, fulfilling holiday during this most Blessed of Seasons.


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

The traditional is always best, I think. Everything looked delicious!

Pear tree cottage! said...

I think this is a wonderful post full of family blessings.........what a feast!


Maggie McArthur said...

I sigh for that pie, and I'm with you all the way about the sweet tater treatment. In fact everything looked swell and delish (as a Northern Lady I admit I can't quite get my head around a Pink Salad, but I'm sure you could convince me.)

Oh, that gorgeous pink knife! It's so Rachel. I love the idea of the Easter baskets as springtime Christmas stockings and when I'm next with an extended family Easter I'm adopting the idea.

As a blogger I understand your reluctance to post pictures of your family -- it took me awhile to realize: Whoa! Most of my fam has pix online via their own selves.

As always, a beautiful post.

Tonja said...

What a pie! beautiful! I loved your description of all the always make them so appetizing that I think I can really smell them!
The family table...just those words are touching! A family table, I think, is the heart of any home. That's where decisions are made, stories are told, arguments worked out and love declared. We all need one.

racheld said...

Oh, Y'all!! What a lovely bunch of girls you are!!
I just think that we all need to get together and share one of those pies. Cutting it five ways seems about right. No, wait---we're all married, so we'll need TWO!

And Tonja, I DO love what you said about the table---I'm putting that in my journal right NOW.
And I'd love to use it soon, in a post.

Keetha said...

I love this post, I love your writing. You get it just right - the wya your write of family, food, tradition, holidays.

Love that pink knife! I have one - not a pink one, I mean - but a Santoku and I love it.

That is a monster sweet potato - wow!

Sunday at my mother's, as my grandmother was putting the deviled eggs on the tray, we realized there were 13 slots for deviled eggs! How curious! Why would they have made a tray for a baker's dozen of deviled eggs?

That pie is a beaut and I loved seeing and hearing about your Easter baskets.

Sounds like it was a blessed day.

Jeanne said...

Hello dear Rachel this post is darling. Are we on for Thursday?Tthis is short I just can't stay awake.

I'll be over tomorrow.
These photos are awesome.

Until tomorrow goodnight.
Love, Jeanne

Kouign Aman said...

"the idea of the Easter baskets as springtime Christmas stockings"
We do that too. Herself got gloves, fancy socks, a new swimsuit, a pinwheel, a few other odds and ends, and of course a chocolate bunny and a few eggs filled with sweets. Herself was over the moon excited and pleased. The basket was one from my sister, satin covered, egg shaped. We kept it back last year, when it would have been ignored as a container. This year it got "This is the most beautiful basket ever in the whole world!" at least 3x. My sister will be pleased!

Rachel, I purely love your writing.

Southern Lady said...

I loved this, Rachel. The Oak Ridge Boys recently recorded a song called "Mama's Table," which echoes your sentiments about the "family table." I'll e-mail you the lyrics, in case you haven't heard it.

racheld said...

Keetha, I always appreciate your kind comments.

I do think maybe the egg plate thing is that you NEVER get to the table with all the eggs. Somebody---even the cook---has to have a taste before they're presented.


I'm ready if you are---I'm honored to be featured there tomorrow. I tried sending the piece in e-mail, and the things just whirls and whirls---I keep going back and looking, and it's still delaying. You'll either get none or six.

KA---Herself sounds like a wonderful young lady and I purely love your enthusiasm and your compliments!!


I just got the mail, and Chris was driving up with a load of stuff from Sam's, so I'm saving it for after supper, TV, shower, and for savoring with that last big cold glass of decaf tea after everyone's in bed. I DO love the ORBs---one of them is a friend of Chris' family.

Jeanne said...

Rachel, I am just now picking up my computer today. My cousin is here from MI. and we have been visiting and sharing experiences since we last saw each other. She does not use a computer so I can't just get on mine when I want to check my mail or blog. It is foreign to her and she just doesn't get it!!! sigh. We are close to the same age and love each other dearly, so I try to spend my time with her for the time that she is here.

I just sent you an Emil and we are on for tomorrow. Hooray. I will enjoy this very much. I want my friends to know what a terrific blog you have. I am hoping for success with lots of visitors for you.

I love your Easter dinner post. I will go for the pie. Oh yeah, I will always go for the pie.

Hugs xoxo, Jeanne

Kim Shook said...

Rachel, what a lovely Easter y’all had! I, too, love the idea of baskets as stockings. I love the knife! I have a set with pink handles, which I love, but yours is ALL pink. The meal looks fantastic and I can certainly vow that Chris’ ham is fabulous – I’ve never tasted a better one. Is that Pink Salad the same one that we had at our visit? I never got the recipe and I really liked it. Would you either post the recipe or send it to me, please? I still have some of last year’s batch of cheater pickles left – they are so perfect for a Nigella-style midnight nibble, huh? And the lovely deviled eggs! Has anyone ever made too many deviled eggs? You can make 12 or 120 and you still never have any leftovers! And tell Caro that pie is gorgeous!