Everyone has special memories of their youth, many are from a holiday perhaps triggered by a meal or church service. My memory of Easter is very vivid but comes from a day filled with joyful eatin’, special friends and dear family.
Easter mornings we would awake to the aroma of fresh coffee and fresh kielbasa simmerin’ on the stove. Mom had gone to Toledo to a little meat market in the Polish part of town that makes tons of this delicacy at holiday time. I can still smell the garlic and spices overpowerin’ my senses. On the table there always was a huge platter of fresh pastry from our beloved Danish Pastry. The cream puffs with maple icing were my favorite. Dad loved the huge pecan rolls with lots of real butter to spread on them. Mom would make us eggs to enhance the sausage but we had to wait fer the pastry till after church.
Church was always too long. Dad’s family would drop by fer pastry, a bit of cold sausage and cheese and a beverage to celebrate the end of Lent. Dad and most the men had given up alcohol fer the season of Lent. We had Bloody Marys, Martinis, Ice cold Beer, etc. We hadda hurry a bit cause the big meal was at Grandma Klausz’s house but first we must find all those eggs the Easter Bunny had hid while we were at church. (I often wondered why Dad had to leave church early.) I always had to eat my bunny ears before goin’ to Grandma’s.
Grandma had been workin’ fer a week, makin’ homemade noodles. She had been up at dawn and killed her biggest old chicken. She added the chicken to a pot filled with parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions, celery, little red potatoes, parsley root, garlic, a bit of cabbage and Grandma’s special spice blend. This would simmer fer hours perfumin’ her home better than any potpourri and just before it was done she’d add those delightful homemade noodles. (As a child I thought Grandma had taught the Amish ladies how to make noodles) There would be a ham fer sandwiches, fresh baked bread, (grandma made her bread from scratch) a gravy boat filled with her special tomato sauce to enhance the soup. Uncle Sam would always have some of his special homemade wine to make a special toast. He always brought a special bottle fer the little people. (I’m sure he pressed the grapes fer this juice himself) Hold your fork the best is yet to come…
Grandma always had dessert. Most years there were dozens of cookies to add to your ice cream, and of course at least one cake and one pie. The Aunts would also bring more sweet stuff just in case we were hungry. Aunt Katie made the best pies, even better than Grandma’s… My favorite still is Black Cherry.
After this feast the women would do dishes. The men would try to watch a ball game on TV but most times fell asleep. Us children would play… we were wound up with all the excitement and the sugar from the Easter candy.
This has to be closed with Bob Hope’s song…. “Thanks fer the Memories !”