Oh, I could write a sonnet, about your Easter bonnet…..
When I was fourteen, and at the height of fashion, Easter meant shopping.
New clothes for Easter.
Head to toe.
A new spring coat: in a pretty pastel.
A new dress: something a bit fancy, and to go with the coat, naturally.
New shoes: taupe or black patent leather (Not white, of course, as one could not wear white shoes until after the end of May…sheesh!)
New purse: to match the shoes, which matched the coat, which matched the dress.
New hat: something contrasting, to accent the aforementioned outfit. At 14 I was allowed something with a bit of a gauze veil; the very image of maturity.
And gloves. To match the hat.
Yes, gloves. Cotton gloves. Pastel cotton gloves.
At one point, in my early teens, I probably owned 5 pairs of cotton gloves: pale pink, mint green, ice blue, lavender, cream; wrist length, tea length, elbow length…..
Easter morning the family, dressed in the new Easter finery, went to Church: to Praise the Lord and admire and critique all the other families’ Easter finery.
It’s hard to believe that just 4 short years later my wardrobe alternated between mini-skirts so short they barely qualified as a belt and bell-bottoms (we called them ‘flares’) so long and so wide I could hide a small dog.
My spring coat was traded for an Army field jacket two sizes too large (de riguer wear at my college).
The black patent leather pumps were set aside for something we fondly called ‘shit-kickers’.
The pretty pastels were scrapped in favor of psychedelic tie-dyes in fire orange, blood red, deep purple and (of course) grass green.
And I was the very height of fashion!
Oh, I still had to go to church…
But my mother made me go by myself.
The only pastels were the Easter eggs.
Here in France all of our eggs are brown and I have never seen any ‘Easter Egg Dyes’.
No Pastel Eggs for us!
Our tradition is to buy a flat of quail eggs. They’re speckled, cute and just a perfect bite-size snack. The chocolate eggs truffles are rather nice, as well….
Speaking of eggs: I just saw guidelines on caring for Easter eggs.
The food police have decreed that “Easter eggs that have been used in baskets or hunts can still be safely eaten if they have not been outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.”
We boiled the eggs on Friday or Saturday.
They sat on the counter until Saturday night when they were dyed.
Then they were hidden around the house overnight; collected the next morning by the youngest kids and put into Easter baskets.
The Easter baskets sat on various tables as decoration, with the eggs, all of Sunday and Monday. If there were still eggs left on Tuesday morning they were refrigerated…maybe….
Every year we did this. Every year we were all fine.
When did everyone get to be so afraid of food?
The daughter of a friend of mine was amazed when she saw me picking herbs from my garden – and nibbling on them without washing them first.
I wash them if they’re dirty…
I’m just so happy to have fresh herbs to use again!
Not many: the chives and garlic chives are coming up; the oregano and marjoram are getting a few leaves; the tarragon is peaking through.
But I’ve never been patient and they taste so wonderful this time of year; like a breath of spring air.
I just picked a few.
I love garlic chives, aka Chinese chives. Unlike regular chives, which have round, hollow leaves with an onion taste, garlic chives have wide, flat leaves with a garlic taste.
Like chives and other members of the onion family they are full of vitamins, (C, B1, B2) and contain sulphur-rich mustard oil that aids digestion.
Creamy Herb Polenta
Check the package directions for quantity proportion – you may have to add more (or less) liquid to get a soft consistency. It can be adjusted at the end, before serving. This should be quite thin, more like grits than mashed potatoes.
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup polenta
2 tbs milk
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded Cheddar
2 tsp garlic chives
1 tsp regular chives
1 tsp oregano
Heat stock in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When stock is simmering slowly pour in polenta, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until done. Add herbs, milk and cheeses. Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Serve.
Come on…you can do it!