One of my favorite things about living here is that the word "Feast" is a fairly common word, but it hasn't lost any of the sense of celebration and special gathering that the rarely employed word "Feast" denotes. I've quite happily embraced the privilege of using common vernacular to describe momentous moments. And even after mere months here, I find myself hesitating to resort to my prior descriptions - such as "holidays," "celebrations," "gatherings," "dinners".... they all pale in comparison to the word Feast.
So we didn't have Easter dinner. No, we had an Easter Feast.
And though I may just recently have adopted the privilege of using the word "Feast" to describe our holiday meals (see! how blase is that in comparison to the word FEAST???), I've been preparing them since childhood.
You see I come from a family that loves food and the moments of planning and preparing it. Mom likes to prepare spectacles of food. I like "tasks" and "assignments" - maybe spending the whole day trying to perfect one dish that I've never tried before. My little brother has the traditions - the foods that are the foundations to our feast - which he whips up in quadruple proportions to ensure a sufficient amount of leftovers. And both my little brother and I both like taking turns distracting mom so that we can then take turns sneak butter into the mashed potatoes.
My mom and little brother were far from our Easter table, and undoubtedly enjoying their distance from what turned out to be the Easter Blizzard of 2006 (oh, yes, my friends, we are still very much in the throes of winter up here, albeit with over 15 hours of sunlight a day).
But they were central in my thoughts, and most likely my inspiration for crafting this menu of green things from cans and frozen vegetables:
Smoked Tillamook Cheddar and Reindeer Salami
Wild Salmon Dip with Dill
Malfatti in brodo (using broth from my neighbor's chicken)
Crab salad with lime zest, peas and sparkles of red pepper
Asparagus Flan (thankyou to Molly of Orangette for the recipe)
Smoked Ham with Honey Glaze
Little Brother's Smashed Red Potatoes with Yeoman-Globs of Butter, Sour Cream and Green Onions
Dark chocolate buttons with cherry ice-cream
Homemade Cordial of Willamette Valley Fruits served in wooden goblets carried back from Zimbabwe
p.s. Well, little brother. One of our guests was an old classmate of John McPhee and was out here looking for a sighting of a rare bird that can only be sought here, and in the winter. So I must confess that I felt compelled to open up the bottle of mead that I did so earnestly hide during your visit. But I know you know that a classmate of John McPhee is a rare occasion, and you'll understand. Plus, I want you to know that I made sure to conserve more than enough homemade cordial for when you come up here again. Soon! Come visit soon! This time there will be sunlight - but you'll still get all the snowmachining opportunities you could dream of. Plus, the dogs just got a bunch of new balls and other toys and I just bought myself a banjo and a book of Pete Seeger's handwritten lessons of how to play it. So there will be lots of entertainment. Plus, J. and I finally got our freezer. It's empty, which means that you'd get lots of support for any initiative to assist us in our dream of filling it with a caribou or other staples more appropriate then beef.
And - by the way - I can drive a stick-shift! I just choose not to prove it.