Easter Memories

When we were kids, our Easter dinner took place at our Great Aunt Mamie’s – our family rotated holiday dinners so the hostess had only one a year to worry about. My fondest memory is going early (we lived 2 houses away) to help her in the kitchen before the guests arrived; the last thing we did was finish washing any cooking dishes we could, and then change the kitchen towels and pot holders for clean “company” ones – and changing aprons for “company” ones.  This little ritual was an inexpensive way to make a special occasion “special”.

In these days of casual entertaining, a clean, uncluttered house, a “good” tablecloth – maybe purchased at a yard sale or thrift shop, our best dishes and good food simply prepared are ways we can make our guests feel that they, too, are “special”.

Aunt Mamie also knew how to not be a rushed hostess – the sliced ham was in the oven, maybe with a side dish baking beside it, a “jello” salad had much to recommend it – colorful and it could be made ahead as well as offering a cold dish and different texture. Rolls were refrigerator dough that could be just shaped and left to rise early and baked either early in the morning or the day before and left to warm up while the meal was being readied for the table. Many of those housewives had homemade jams and jellies and pickles and relishes to make the dinner special without any last minute work. Deviled eggs could be cooked a day ahead, and the filling prepared and stored until one of the teenagers could assemble them and put them on their special plate before dinner.

Dessert and coffee were often served a little later after the table was cleared and the lunch dishes were done. Pies were often made from home-canned fillings or the entire pie was made ahead and frozen, then baked right before the holiday. Other easy desserts are ice cream and cookies, jelly rolls that have been frozen and only need to be sliced and served, etc.

These good times are ones we remember, helping make memories.

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