Holiday meals take all the fun and excitement of my daily dinner prep routine and combine it with high expectations and lots more mouths to feed. As I mentioned before, around here, Sundays have a good chance of being a leftover day. But on Easter Sunday, not only do I get to make sure everyone gets to church in a matching outfit, I get to slave away on a feast that, while inevitably staining my new dress, I know at least half my kids will snub.
Cooking a meal comprised of a huge slab of meat (in this case lamb), several vegetable sides, a couple starches and a few salads for a large groups requires careful planning and food prep. Or, there’s my traditional Easter dinner prep which includes the Holy Thursday freak out, Good Friday grocery shopping trip, the Holy Saturday shopping trip for everything I forgot and Easter Sunday debate over “do I get to finish putting my makeup on or do I get the lamb in the oven on time?” ( This year, after much deliberation, my husband intervened to prevent me from leaving the house in a state that would have caused him too much embarrassment.)
After Mass, I always take a family photo to remind me how nice we can all look with a little effort, before rushing home to finish cooking. My in-laws arrive shortly after and now the clock is ticking. Everyone is hungry and I can only feed the kids so much Easter candy to keep them happy before things get out of hand.
Eventually, or more precisely, 35 minutes after I said dinner would be ready, we sit down to eat. If I’m lucky, only one of my side dishes will be cold and need to be reheated. The feasting commences and I’ll consider it a success if I finish my meal while it’s warm, the baby doesn’t throw himself from the high chair and the big kids don’t start talking about poop. A compliment from anyone (“Hey mom, the sweet potatoes don’t taste as gross as they usually do.”) is a welcome bonus.
And just like that, 40 days of fasting and penance gives way to 40 minutes of gluttony and indulgence. It seems like in only the blink of an eye my immaculate banquet is in shambles and pieces, littering the edges of the china and the table. Sitting back, sipping the last of my wine, I take the first moment of peace I’ve had all day to figure out ways to dispose of all the Easter candy my children acquired. The children, unaware of my plans, are content. My husband and his parents also recline in satiated ease. In these moments, intoxicated by the wine and my grandiose feelings of domestic expertise, I am fully convinced all the effort was worth it. At least, until the dishes need done.