Easter Fare and How to Serve It

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on March 24, 1907, and is a discussion on eggs and why they are so popular at Easter.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Boston Sunday Post.

Easter Fare and How to Serve It

A CORRESPONDENT writes as follows:

“Why eggs at Easter? Inasmuch as we have been surfeited with eggs and fish for forty days, why not give us a rest from them and a change of diet now that Lent is over and done with (thank goodness!) for the year? I foresee that your Easter talk will be of eggs! eggs! eggs! when a fair majority of your readers would be glad not to see another for six months to come. Why not discourse instead of the juiciness and savory steam of roast beef and the tender sweetness of spring lamb?

Of course, I know this protest will be of no use. Whatever we, the mal contents, may feel, think and say—and write—the Christian world will go egg-mad on Easter Sunday, and every breakfast table display eggs in some disguise or unadorned on Easter Monday.

Yet, why egg sat Easter—I repeat with agonized emphasis—more than on July 4th, or on Whitsunday or on Shrove Tuesday?

MADELINE (Philadelphia).

A woman who is neither so bright, nor to well educated as “Madeline,” “supposed” seriously in my hearing, the other day, “that everybody eats eggs at Easter because the hens all over the country begin to lay just then, and eggs are cheap after being so high all winter.”

I was reminded—although I kept the reminiscence to myself—of a man who once remarked to me, “How lucky it is that Lent is appointed at a season when fish is plenty and cheap. But, of course, the fellows who set the time—whoever they may be—stand in with the fish merchants and make a good thing out of it!”

He was more or less of a fool, but Madeline has brains, and knows how to put her thoughts into words.

Before entering upon the business of setting our Easter feast in order, let us reason together for a few minutes as to the significance of the Easter egg.

DOWN FROM ANTIQUITY

A noted scholar observes, in connection with the custom among the members of the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches of exchanging gifts of eggs on Easter morning; “The practice of presenting eggs to our friends at Easter is Magian, or Persian.” It is, then, of more remote antiquity than is generally supposed. Whatever it may have meant in the far Orient, we find the Jews adopting the Paschal egg as the emblem of the renewed creation of the world in the spring. The Passover Feast fell at the same time as what the Christian Church calls the first Easter. The word “Easter,” which occurs in the Book of Acts in King James’ version (twelfth chapter, fourth verse), is “Passover” in the Revised Version. The Paschal (Passover) egg of the Hebrew became the symbol to the early Christian of the Resurrection of the crucified Christ. We, who adopt the custom of dyeing Easter eggs, seldom bethink ourselves of the fact that the primitive Christians used but one color in their Easter day offerings, and that red, in allusion to the lifeblood shed on the cross as “a ransom for many.”

It was an age of types and symbols. We, living in the clearer light of revealed and established religion, retain some of these, and employ them as illustrations of belief rather than guides to devotion.

Even the staid burghers of our Dutch ancestry, staunchly stubborn in Protestantism, clung to an observance repudiated by their New England brethren as “Popish.” Washington Irving tells us that in the reign of godly Peter Stuyvesant there was “a great cracking of eggs at Paas, or Easter.” “Paas” was an evident perversion of “Pasch” or “Paschal.”

I have answered “Madeline” at greater length than some readers may think expedient, and, it may be, more seriously than she expected. The subject is interesting to devout believers in what the crimsoned egg represents, and curious to those who like to trace the origin of faiths and usages we are prone to take for granted.

SYMBOLS OF RESURRECTION

To the ancient Greeks the butterfly was an emblem of the immortal soul springing into new and more beautiful life from the dead chrysalis. The Christians deduced the glorious fact of the resurrection of all the blessed dead from the rising of their Lord. They saw in the broken shell of the egg the symbol of what they incorporated into their Creed; “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

Of this we have a more eloquent and a fuller promise in the return of the flowers after the apparent death of winter. Every blade and bud and blossom has its message of cheer to the waiting heart. “There is no death.”

A “Schoolgirl” asks:

“Why do we make so much of rabbits at Easter? The shop windows are full of them, and they show up on Easter cards.”

Divers reasons are given for the conspicuous part taken by Bunny in our great festival. One is that he bounds gayly to the front, made over as good as new by much sleep underground. According to a German story, the mission of providing Easter eggs for poor children whose parents could not buy them was committed to compassionate rabbits, who, at that season alone, laid eggs of varied hues by the nestful in the fields. Hence the custom that still prevails in some districts of hunting eggs in the meadows and woods on Easter morning.

May I add a word of practical “application” to my Easter sermon? A sermon must have an application, you know.

We hear much of “Easter offerings.” If ever our hearts should be moved to thankfulness to the dear Father of us all, and to love of our fellow-men who are—with us—His children, it is at this season of awakening to new life. Woe look upon a fresh and lovely world—the same we have known and loved so long, yet renewed into beauty that is never old nor tame. Spring is the time of promise and of hope. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. In token of this glad gratitude, let your Easter offering be for those to whom life is less bright than it is to you.

“God scatters love on every side,
Freely among His children all;
And always hearts are lying open wide,
Wherein some grains may fall.”

Recipes to Prepare Easter Dishes

A Hen’s Nest for Breakfast

SIX hard-boiled eggs that have been thrown into ice-cold water as soon as they were boiled, to make the shells slip off easily. Five minutes later, roll each gently on the table, cracking the shell without breaking the egg. Peel off the shells; cut the eggs in half with a sharp knife; take out the yolks, rub to a powder and mix with the same quantity of cold chicken or of ham, minced. Make a soft paste by working into the mixture some good gravy; season to taste, and form into balls of the same size and shape as the original yolks. Pack into the whites, to resemble whole eggs. Arrange these in the middle of a hot platter; surround with fried potatoes, cut Into strips to simulate straw; set the dish in the oven, covered, just long enough to heat the eggs to the heart, and serve; or, you may make the paste softer with gravy and heat it to a boil in a saucepan before filling the hollowed whites. It will then take less time to reheat in the oven. In either case, potatoes and gravy must be hot. Pass more gravy with the dish.

An Easter Luncheon Dish

Prepare the hard-boiled eggs as directed in the preceding recipe and make the paste as before, of pounded yolks and chicken, tongue or ham. Have ready and hot a good gravy—of chicken, if you have it—add a teaspoonful of curry powder, mix with the mince; heat over the fire and add enough browned flour to make it just thick enough to mould. Stuff the eggs, put the halves neatly together in the right shape and lay upon a bed of rice in a platter. Surround with more rice, to make the “nest”; set in the oven to heat, and serve. Pass with them a boat of gravy, seasoned with curry.

A delicious accompaniment to any preparation of curry is bananas that have been left in ice until very cold. Serve one to each eater, who strips off the skin and slices it, or bites a bit after each mouthful of hot curry. If you can get short bananas that look (almost) like eggs, the pleasing effect of this dish will be enhanced.

A Duck’s Nest

Boll, chill and halve as in preceding recipes. Set the yolks in a bowl, and the bowl, covered. In boiling water at the side of the range. With a thin, keen blade shred the whites into imitation straw, and arrange them in the shape of a nest on a hot platter. Season with salt and white pepper, butter abundantly, cover and set in the oven. Now and then butter again, lest they dry and shrivel.

Work the pounded yolks into a paste with an equal quantity of minced cold duck (or turkey). Moisten well with butter, and bind with a beaten raw egg. Make into oval balls to imitate eggs; arrange within the fence of shredded whites; pour over all a cupful of rich drawn butter, and set, covered, in the oven for ten minutes to heat.

An Easter Swan’s Nest
(“Among the Reeds”)

Make a quart of blanc mange, and while it is cooling to blood-warmth make holes in the small ends of twelve eggs and empty them. As each is emptied hold it under cold water until it is full and lies at the bottom of the bowl. Leave the eggs in the water until all are ready. Pour out the water and fill the shells with the liquid blanc mange. Set them upright in a pan of meal or flour, and let them stay there until Easter. An hour before you wish to serve them break away the shells carefully and deftly, not to injure the consistency of the blanc mange. Have ready a layer of shredded citron in the bottom of a glass dish. The citrons should not be too finely cut, as it stimulates coarse grass and flags. Heap the eggs upon this layer, make a wall of coarse-spun sugar about them and stick upright in this the largest strips of citron yon can get out of the candied melon. These are the “reeds.” Dispose them as naturally as possible, keeping the design in mind, and using taste and ingenuity to carry it out.

Any housewife who is blessed with a fair share of both may get up the dish to the satisfaction of the family.

An egg and a little of the spun sugar (it may be had from your confectioner), with a “reed” or two, go to each “help.” Pass ice cream or plain cream and powdered sugar with the eggs.

You may vary the dish by coloring the blanc mange, dividing it into several portions when first made. Color one with chocolate, another with spinach juice, a third with cochineal, and leave one-fourth white.

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An Easter Greeting

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 30, 1902, and is Marion’s yearly Easter message. I very much enjoyed this particular article, especially Marion’s description of a blizzard.

School for Housewives – An Easter Greeting

A Glimpse of Nature, and the Tender Thoughts It Suggests

Hope and Promise Writ in the Budding of Storm-Stressed Woods

“You will have an Easter message for us. I hope?”

I looked up from the letter I was reading and through the window nearest my desk. Blizzard No. 3 of 1902 was in raging possession of the world. The fields were tumbled white sheets, rising and falling in the fierce wind. To borrow Charlotte Bronte’s words – “There was but one cloud in he sky, but that curtained it from pole to pole.” The benignant outlines of the hills I love were hidden behind wavering draperies of snow, now blotted out completely, now grayly traceable, troubled and unfamiliar. The trees rocked and struck blindly at one another with their naked arms, as in a frenzy of pain. The sullen roar of the north wind was like surf upon a rock-edged beach. From time to time the distant shriek of a belated train might have been the cry of wanderers done to their death by the tempest.

Within twenty feet of my window a grey-breasted woodpecker was driving his bill into the southward side of an oak, steadily and confidently as he will drill and seek upon May-day.

He came North with the bluebirds and a robin or two ten days ago. I saw him collecting sticks and straws for the underpinning of his next yesterday. The air then was soft and mild, the wind slept behind the hills, the sky was blue overhead. “A veritable weather-breeder,” said wise human creatures. Top-knot with the gray breast took no thought for the morrow. According to his calendar the winter was over and gone; the time for the singing of birds had come. His duty was to build and to trust. The twittering of a bevy of saucy snowbirds who watched his labors did not lift a feather of his crest. The weather was no concern of his.

It was no more of his business now. Supper must be had in good season, for twilight would fall early and hard. Instinct – or was it faith? – told him that fat larvae and drowsy beetles lurked under the rough bark, and he fell to drilling, nothing doubting.

But he stuck steadily to the southern side of the tree! The opposite side was coated with snow and flying flakes thickened the coat continually. Should the wind veer he would have trouble keeping his hold. The wind was none of his affair, either. He was comfortable and safe where he was. Should he draw that covert blank, the grove was made up of trees, and every tree had a southern side. As for what the morrow would bring, it was as likely to bring calm as storm, the more likely to bring sunshine because this day was inclement.

The cheerful diligence of his “drill! drill! drill! tap! tap!” the very perk of his top-knot said:

“Behind the clouds is the sun, still shining.”

Because there were trees, there would be leaves, and blossoms, and balmy airs, and floods of sunshine in God’s own good time. Meanwhile, he waited – always busily – and always on the southern side of the tree. It would be the sunny side before long. That was the reason eggs, larvae, beetles and borers were most plentiful there.

This, dear Constituents – so many more in number and so much more interesting than at this time a year ago, that my heart grows larger and warmer in thinking of you – this, then, is my “Easter Message.” Know of a surety, because the ways of the Lord of all are equal, that here is a southern side to every tree, and keep upon it. The storm must pass, for the sun is in God’s heaven, and good is ever stronger in the end than evil. As surely as the chilled and shrouded earth is, at heart, quick with life, and

“Underneath the winter snows
The invisible hearts of flowers
Grow ripe for blossoming” –

Shall joy come after your night of weeping.

As the blessed season of promise renews the memory of those we have committed to the warm, dark, sweet earth with the “sure and certain promise of immortality,” let it bring renewed appreciation of the sublimity, the beauty the glorious comfort bound up in those words. They always have to the ear of my soul a tone of the Voice which shall awake the sleeping children of the One Father in the dawn of the Day when he shall really and in truth begin to live.

Gather into smitten and yearning hearts the full blessing of the Easter-tide. Because Christ lives, our beloved shall live also, and we with them when Easter promises shall ripen into heavenly fruition.

Marion Harland

Preparing the First Course for the Easter Breakfast

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Mar 27, 1904, and is an article on Easter breakfast.

School for Housewives – Preparing the First Course for the Easter Breakfast

By applying a little ingenuity to the customary egg course of the Easter morning breakfast it is possible to convert plain boiled humpty-dumpties into subjects of delight and merriment.

The day before the feast lay in as many doll hats as there are to be eggs.

Have some of the hats masculine and some feminine in character.

Before dropping the eggs in the water mark with indelible ink, eyes, nose, mouth and even a little fringe of hair upon the surface of each.

Be sure that the ink dries thoroughly before submitting it to the water.

Just before serving place each egg in an egg cup and top it off with one of the hats.

Of course, additional touches in the way of issue paper skirts and the like are possible if there is time.

But these are not necessary the success of the novelty, which is exceedingly fetching without further elaboration.

Amusing characterization can be managed, if there is a little spare time to be devoted to it, before breakfast time comes.

Brownie eggs are exceedingly picturesque and not hard to do. It is only necessary in this case to have pointed case of brown tissue paper in the place of hats, and to give the features a quaint Brownie twist. The Roosevelt Brownie – an amusing little cow puncher with very prominent teeth, about the most recent rival among these fairy folk – is one that can be imitated with great success upon eggs.

Another amusing figure is that of the clown, to which the white surface of the egg lends itself very readily. A pointed cap of white paper is about the only dress exquisite for a very laughable pierrot.

Monks and nuns with veils or cowls of brown or black are easily done and very distinctive.

Marion Harland

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Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

This is the second article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 23, 1902, and is a fun article on how to make tissue and waxed paper flowers.

School for Housewives – Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

Tissue and crepe paper flowers can be made more handsome and durable by waxing them. The process is quite an easy one, very inexpensive, considering the result obtained.

When intending to wax flowers take care to arrange them on a stout wire stem, strongly attached to the flower, as the wax will make the flower heavy, and if the stem is weak the flower is likely to droop or even break at the base.

The paper is not waxed before the flower is made. First finish the flower and tint it as desired. The wax (refined paraffine, retailing at fifteen cents a pound at the drug store) is put in a small, rather deep agato saucepan and melted. Leave the saucepan on the back of the stove, where it will keep melted and yet not boil or get too hot. Add nothing to the wax.

When the wax is ready dip your blossoms quickly into it, one at a time, and when the surplus wax has run back into the pan lay the soft waxed flower on a sheet of blotting paper and proceed in the same way with another flower. While the wax is soft there may be sprinkled, if desired, dip each blossom or leaf a little “diamond dust.” This is procurable at the druggist’s at ten cents an ounce. It gives to the flower a dewy or frosted appearance. The flowers, however, look well without it.

In making lilies or other flowers with large blossoms that must be grouped again on a single stem to imitate nature, do not finish the stem or plant before waxing.

Make all the buds, blossoms and leaves necessary, wax them one by one and group them as desired. Then cover the stems with tissue paper and wax the main stem by pouring wax on it from a spoon.

As Easter is fast coming and many will not be able to purchase hothouse lilies, the following directions for making the different varieties of lilies will be valuable. And if well made, they look quite natural.

The Easter lily has for center one pistil and five or six stamens. The pistil is made by covering a wire with green tissue paper, forming a little mail at the upper end; the stamens are made by covering a piece of wire, about five inches long, with deep orange-yellow tissue paper, having the paper wrapped in such a manner at the upper end as to be flat and one sixth of an inch in width, for about one inch in length.

This wider part is bent over. The pistil and stamens in the tiger lily are done in the same way. In the illustration, both the tiger lily and Easter lily show the arrangement.

For the petals, cut six pieces of white crepe paper, same shape as Fig. S, about ten inches in length, and two inches wide as the widest part. Cut six pieces of white covered wire (green can be used if white is not to be had) about fourteen inches long, and paste one length wise through the centre, from point b to a of each petal. Arrange the six petals around the centre, with the wired side out and about one-third of the petal (end a) bent outward gracefully. Tie all together at base b and make calyx of green tissue to cover ends of wires, and add the leaves, which are out about the same shape as the petals, and of varied length.

If an entire stalk of the Easter lily plant is desired, first made a few buds of various sizes, then three or four blossoms, then the leaves disposed along the length of the stalk, smaller leaves nearer to the blossoms, getting gradually larger when nearing the base. More leaves are arranged at the base, that it may look like the growing plant. Then leave a few inches of the stalk without any leaves at all. This is to play that role of root and be painted in the sand of a flower pot or jardinière.

These directions apply to the making of “tiger-lilies.” The exceptions are these: The stamens in the tiger lilies are covered with a light shade of yellow, while the petals are made of orange-color crepe paper. Some blossoms have the petals only slightly curved, as in the Easter lily, while some others (those supposed to be withering) have the petals rolled as shown in the illustration. The orange-color petals can be left plain or tinted.

Make the spots on the ordinary tiger lily with ink, taking a burnt match to apply the ink. If other varieties of lily are desired, such as the “Japanese,” etc., make the markings to imitate nature, using ink or water-colors.

A small quantity of diamond dye of the correct color, diluted in water, is useful in tinting flowers, and can be made as deep or as light in color as desired.

Even if the petals of the tiger lily are not rolled as shown in the illustration they must be bent outward in a more decided manner than the petals of the Easter lily. In the last named the petals are first brought upward in a cup-like fashion before being bent outward. In nature the tiger lily does not form a deep cup, as does the Easter lily, so the petals must, of course, be bent accordingly.

When quick work is more to be desired than a close imitation of nature, the Easter lily may be made in the simple way illustrated by the blossom in the upper right hand corner. To make it, cut a piece of crepe paper four inches wide, and six inches long, the lengthwise edges together, and make six rounded scallops at one end for the upper edge of the flower; with the finger spread the wrinkles in each of the six scallops, at the same time curving and bending them outward as shown. The centre is formed of a pistil and five stamens, as in the regular Easter lily. The lower edge is gathered around that centre and the rest of the work is done in the same way as the Easter and tiger lilies. At a distance it looks quite natural and effective.

CALLA LILY

This flower is, of all lilies, the easiest to make, and whether “dwarf” or “giant” calla is desired, the directions fur cutting are the same. Four or five stalks of calla lilies, planted in a jardinière, look very pretty and natural.

The diagram A D E F B C shows how the white crepe must be cut. The edges are made alike, so that the pattern can be folded over and the line C E laid on a double fold of the crepe paper. The lines A and B from a to d, and d to b, are glued together. A long bud (for centre) is made of yellow crepe, taking a piece five or six inches long and two inches wide, shaping it as shown in the illustration.

Twist the upper end tightly and gather at the base, fastening with a wire. Insert this bud inside the pasted white petal and fasten together as the base G, leaving the ends of the wire for a stem.

Now stretch the edges D E F, flattening and drawing them backward gracefully, and the blossom is complete.

Cut green leaves like Fig. P and arrange them naturally along the stem.

IRIS

It is incorrect to call this flower the “fleur de lis.” The French name “fleur de lis” belongs by right to the Easter lily, which is France’s national flower. The iris, then, to call it by its right name, is one of the most difficult of all flowers to make. It is, however, so beautiful that the effort will be amply compensated by the result.

The iris is made from white crepe paper, of a heliotrope tint, and is composed of six petals, in two sets of three each. As the crepe is cut on the bias, the petals must be made in half sections, six each (Fig. A and B) so that when joined by gluing around a six inch long petal wire, the grains of crepe will take a V course from base of petal outward. This necessitates replacing the pattern on the paper each time three half-petals are cut.

When joining half-petals hold the piece of crepe, with glued wire between, on the straight edges. Fig. B shows half of the lower petal, and Fig. A half of the upper petal. On the lower petal glue some yellow cotton, as indicated in the illustration.

In putting the flower together, two upper petals should be made to curve upward in the fashion of the tulip, with one curved and bent down close to the stalk. The three lower petals are bent outward, as shown, and the edges of each of the six petals must be pulled or stretched, to gibe a natural ruffled effect. When this has been done tint the flowers; the upper petals must be tinted only slightly, while the lower petals an be tinted from light to very dark. The green leaves are cut from green crepe paper, long, and narrow, and wired on the back at the centre.

Marion Harland

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