Sunday, April 5, 2015

What Is Easter Dinner?

There is special satisfaction to sitting down to a pretty table and a well-cooked meal. 

Granted, the extra effort required to pull off a nice sit-down dinner is a luxury that's sometimes difficult to afford. Like every weeknight ever.

Not gonna lie. On any given night of the week, I can usually pull off a quick stir fry, but we love to take our plates into the family room and gather round the coffee table to watch Jeopardy while we eat. Such are the benefits of having grown-up kids. 

But when a holiday rolls around, there is no substitute for setting a special table and preparing a festive feast. Today, for Easter, we managed two exceptional spreads:

^ Around noon, we ate brunch!

Now I know that brunch is hardly a novel concept. Many families consider a late morning meal to be a mainstay of holiday dining. But given the fact that, like most families with growing children, our Easter mornings used to consist of the kids eating candy by the handful from seven a.m onward, I have never wanted to set myself up for failure by making real food for them to eat before sundown.

Now, my girls have learned to wait and stuff themselves with candy after our meals.

So now we can actually enjoy brunch. 

^ We decorated the table with our official Easter bunny plates,

^ And scattered around a few of my ever-expanding collection of succulents. 

None of this was fancy or elegant. The recipe for the egg dish was simple and inexpensive; the tablescape was an impromptu arrangement of what I had on hand. 

Still, this morning meal was peaceful and delicious, and a lovely addition to the day.

* * * * *

^ Easter dinner was served at five pm. As usual, our menu was a mix of traditional dishes and family favorites.

Instead of the typical ham, lamb or pork, we just went with steaks and mashed potatoes. Spring fresh asparagus and deviled eggs round out the classics, and my first-born treated us to another holiday batch of baked macaroni and cheese. 

^ I like my eggs heavy on the paprika. Pass me four, please.

^ I might have slightly scorched the asparagus, but my husband suggested that we just pretend it was grilled. Which actually made it taste extra delicious. 

^ To fill in the ends of the table, thereby making me feel a little less lonely for my two missing daughters, I added silver trays each bearing a vase of tulips and a miscellaneous collection of either sheep or rabbits. I did spring for some new place mats this year - and some new napkins that lay forgotten in the dryer while we ate - but everything else has been kicking around the house for the ages.

* * * * *

Along with the fresh strawberries and ice cream that we ate for dessert, I'm satisfied that this year's Easter celebration was a success. As my family has grown beyond the childish pleasures of each holiday, I'm increasingly certain that what happens around the table is the heart and soul of the celebration, and like most homemakers, I genuinely enjoy putting forth the extra effort to make these moments special.

Now, make no mistake. Tomorrow night, we are definitely going back to stir-fry on the couch at 7:30 with Alex. But that is a tradition worth honoring, too.

* * * * *

More Easter stories? Yes. 

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