I wonder how many kitchen counters are smudged with Paas Easter egg dye today. My great-niece and I used to dye them in my sister’s kitchen, covering every surface we could find with newspapers, and we still wound up with dye on our hands, our clothes and most counters. The kits got fancier as the years went by. No more cheesy transfers of rabbits and ducks! The last time Courtney and I dyed them, we had glitter and a sort of tie-dye effect.
When I was small Mother was really into Easter. I always got an Easter basket with a hollow chocolate rabbit, some jelly beans, and a stuffed animal. I was a great collector of stuffed animals and was thrilled to get a really lifelike brown rabbit one year. I petted him as if he were real.
We always went to church. This involved a new Easter dress, shiny patent leather Mary Janes, and a hat and gloves. Mother was encased in a dress and hat (and of course her girdle), stockings and heels, and gloves. Daddy bought us each a corsage to wear. In good years the corsage was an orchid. I endured church by concentrating on Easter dinner, which awaited us at home.
Mother usually baked a ham and made candied sweet potatoes and green beans. These had to be heated when we returned home. Sometimes we had rolls from the grocery store, which I considered a great treat.
Usually dessert was coconut pie, although one year when we were on the farm Mother made a special, multi-layer coconut cake with little nests of green-dyed coconut holding jelly beans. The layers were graduated like a traditional wedding cake. Unfortunately they crumbled at the edges–maybe the recipe was a little too moist? At any rate, the cake turned into a coconut mountain with nests perilously clinging to its sides.
Maybe it was the return of spring which made Easter so special to her. Mother tried recipes out of Good Housekeeping which involved cutting cake layers into rabbit body parts. And we both religiously dyed eggs, even when I came home from college. We ended up throwing them away because they weren’t safe to eat after sitting out for a couple of days. But it was worth it to have a bowl full of jewel-toned works of “art” on the table to celebrate resurrection and spring.