Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Easter

Today was Easter, and like most kids, mine were excited to see what the Easter Bunny brought them.  As I watched them eating and sorting through their candy, my thoughts drifted back to Easter mornings from my childhood.  I also thought about the family dinners we had when I was a kid, and as an adult before we moved so far away from my family.

My own Easter Baskets as a kid were huge.  We got tons of candy.  And they always made sure that each of us got our favorites.  My basket was always filled with Smarties, Kraft caramels, Reese's Cups, Star Bursts, Milk Duds, Butterscotch Candies, Sixlets, Rollos and Hershey's Miniatures.  Of course there were other candies in there as well, but those were the staples.  

My Mom and Dad worked hard to provide for us, but with nine kids, it was hard for them.  We didn't always have a lot of money, but we always had plenty to eat and they made sure we had the things we needed.  Dad raised our own meat, we always had chickens, pigs and cows.  Mom and Dad grew a huge garden and Mom spent hours every summer canning all of the vegetables and making tomato juice, tomato sauce, pickles and sour kraut.  We had an apple tree, cherry trees, grape vines, and berry bushes.  And my Mom is and always has been an awesome cook.

I come from a large family, I am the youngest of nine.  My oldest sister was 17½ when I was born.  So just imagine our family dinners, especially as I got older.  By the time I reached my teens, most of my siblings had moved out and started their own families.  And they would all come to our house for holiday dinners.  Each family would bring two or three dishes to contribute to the meal.  So we would always have so much delicious food to eat. 

A typical holiday menu would consist of turkey, stuffing (that was cooked inside the turkey and was always best hot out of the oven...I still have to have a spoonful of stuffing when it first comes out of the oven!), ham, green beans, potato salad, cole slaw, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, taco salad, weeping salad, deviled eggs and fresh baked bread and/or dinner rolls.  There was always more than that, but those are the dishes that stick out in my memory.  And that's just the main course foods.

We'd have appetizers of cheese, cheese balls, crackers, chip dip, chips, fresh veggies, fresh fruits and dips.  Then there were the desserts...

We would have cakes, cookies, brownies, pies (apple, pumpkin, cherry), jello with fruit cocktail in it, banana pudding, watergate salad and whatever other new desserts one of us had discovered.  It was amazing...

Now that we are living so far away from my family, we don't have the huge dinners of my childhood.  We usually get together with my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law for some delicious meals made either by us or by them, but it isn't like the holiday dinners at Mom and Dad's.  My children would be overwhelmed by the amount of food and the sheer number of people at one of those dinners.  That's why holidays always leave me feeling like something is missing.  And it makes me miss my family even more... 

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