A critical part of the Passover Seder involves reciting a litany of the good things God has done for the Jews, after each one of which the crowd says “Dayenu.” Dayenu means “it would have been enough for us,” and I should have payed more attention to Dayenu Theory as it made it’s annual trek through my consciousness.
As in: “If Ann had made us a really nice Seder,” “Dayenu.” Nothing additional about how nice it would be if she also whipped up a few things for Easter. There is nothing in the Seder readings that implies that, while it was really great that God freed the children of Israel from slavery under Pharaoh, He would have been a really stand-up deity if He had also given them time for their bread to rise, keys to a great condo in the desert, and some of that cool spray-on sunblock.
In my life, entirely due to my own actions, it is never really “enough.” Passover was great and all, and it was only a couple of days ago, but we really can’t be huddled over a plastic container of store-bought potato salad and a canned ham after Easter services on Sunday. Not even Sandra Lee would serve that to her family on a holiday. (Unless she placed a highly decorative bowl of unhulled strawberries to the table, thus making the meal “30% fresh and natural.”But I digress).
So, I’m cooking a little, but in a semi-homemade sort of way. My parents are contributing a spiral-cut ham and a fancy dessert, and I am making cream biscuits, steamed asparagus with a little butter and lemon, sweet potatoes with an orange-brown sugar glaze, and cheese grits. I had fantasies of using a recipe for baked cheese grits that I found in my brand new favorite Southern cookbook, but I can’t give it the necessary hour to cook after we get out of church, or the natives may turn the corner from being merely “hungry” to being “apocalyptic.” It also turns out that here in the North, we can’t get “un-quick” grits in the grocery store. I will, instead, make a vat of Quick Grits and stir in some sharp cheddar at the end. Inauthentic perhaps, and more Ma Walton than Martha Stewart, but it’ll eat good.
Actually, if I’d had the luxury of that hour for something to cook, I would have made the carrot souffle from the same cookbook, which was just lovely in every possible way. It is simeltaneously light and rich, and I like the idea of a carrot-bunny tie in. If you have a gap in your Easter menu (or want to try this with any plain-ish meat and something fresh and green) I recommend this highly.
(adapted from Delightfully Southern Recipes by Lucy M. Cook)
- 1 pound carrots, sliced
- Salt, to taste
- 1 stick room temperature butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, cover carrots with water, add salt, and cook until tender; drain. Combine with butter in blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking powder, flour eggs and vanilla; mix. Add carrot mixture and mix again.
Spoon into greased baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until nicely browned.