Easter is my favorite holiday. In fact, it’s not just my favorite holiday…it’s my Superbowl. Thanksgiving is a predictable one day affair and Christmas is a mostly shared engagement with tasks and meals appointed to family and friends. And then there’s Easter. Things officially kick off on the Saturday morning just one day prior in a neighborhood park, just blocks from our house. Here the local neighborhood association, of which I am a board member, hosts it’s annual egg hunt. My husband plays the role of Easter Bunny and I play his “handler”. My job? I literally make sure his head doesn’t fall off. Oh, and that he never again gets his stomach pummeled by those disgruntled pre-teen boys.
Next, I cook. I cook recipes I have researched, tested and at times, photographed, throughout the year leading up this holiday weekend. There will always be a ham, there will always be asparagus and the hollandaise sauce will make you weep upon tasting it. This leaves three empty slots for “side dish” to be pondered over and chosen, hence the year long build up. The table will be set and re-set four days before the dinner guests arrive.
I plan my family’s outfits two weeks in advance or once I feel the weatherman has given me the best possible scenario for what the sky will look like on both egg hunt day and Easter Sunday. I keep a file of various dyed egg methods. I spend my autumn nights creating papier mache napkin holders in the shape of chicks and baby bunnies. There are tulip merchants on my emergency contact list.
My vision is clear; make it magical, make it taste delicious, make them not want to leave my home. I then scour through magazines, favorite cook books and various online decor sites to find the images that will inspire me to make it happen. It could be the design on a dinner plate or the color of a ribbon on a girls’ dress…whatever it is, an emotion is evoked and then every step I take is towards re-creating that emotion for my guests.
There have been mishaps, I admit it. The elusive free standing chocolate bunny cake has yet to be mastered and I still recall with bitterness the year I prepared chicken cooked in a homemade creme fraiche. But mostly, it is a triumph. My vision of happy family members sipping mimosas and marveling over the tiny marzipan carrots adorning their plates is what motivates and inspires me. I don’t know why this holiday is my favorite…the air of spring, the promise of new beginning? Maybe I just really like ham? I don’t question it. I just celebrate.