Even though I’ve had Lebanon on the brain lately, there is one place and one place only that Easter memories take me. That is to Fostoria, Ohio, where I ate my first pillow soft, yellow sugar-coated Peep. Alice made each of her grandchildren an adorable little Easter basket using the green fruit pint boxes she had saved from the summer prior (ahhh, simplicity). Filled with cellophane grass, pastel candies, and topped with two Peeps, I thought I had hit a jackpot even more enchanting than the little plastic cooking set, complete with apron, she bought for me at the drugstore.
My love for Peeps, store-bought Peeps, has never waned. It was a well-known fact in my office in Chicago, where I would find a box on the seat of my chair or sitting on my keyboard from my pals every year. That they found my affection for Peeps unbelievable, immature?, and perhaps downright crazy mattered not at all. The point is that I have always been well-stocked.
Peeps are a given on my Easter Brunch menu, because I will be loading up my newborn nephew’s basket with them. Then, since the poor little buddy can’t eat real food yet (who cares that Peeps aren’t real food?), I’ll have to eat his Peeps for him. We wouldn’t want them to go to waste.
A Peep is to Maureen what an Easter ham is to Peggy, my sissie. That girl is a ham fanatic, and any time you put passion together with food, you get expert out of it. Peg is nothing short of a ham expert. Which is what I was wishing I was when I wrote about the ham my Uncle Fred brought over when my father passed away. Our good friend Kimball from Memphis called to find out every detail about this ham, and turns out I had no idea that there are all sorts of ham varieties: smoked, cured, yes—but also raw and cooked, a distinction I did not note in our conversations. Turns out Kim brought home a raw ham, and after his painstaking effort to replicate Uncle Fred’s version, he was left hanging with a raw, albeit warm, ham for Easter brunch. I’ve had my tail between my legs for years over that one.
Here’s a menu to love for Easter. Peg has offered to keep her ham hot-line open, should you like to discuss.
Soft Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus
(Make them at the last minute, low and slow)
Pink Deviled Eggs with yogurt and mint
Labne with olive oil
Sliced Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes with Kalamata Olives & Lemon Vinaigrette
Early Rise (as in: get up early to make dough) Sugared Donuts
Fruit Salad with Orange Blossom Water Splash
(Just add a splash of mazaher to your fruit salad, and listen to it sing)
Grapefruit-St. Germain Mimosas
(these’ll knock your socks off)