Friday, April 06, 2012

Happy Easter to you ...

As a catholic, Easter is very important to me. I am used to spend that day with my family, but this year shall be different. Anyhow, I like Easter as much as I love Christmas time.
There are my two favorite periods of the year.
Easter means family, lamb (duck or veal for us !) and chocolates in the garden. It means Saint-Martial Viveyrols too. Spending Easter away from my village is not an option. I might not be on the exact date with a week before or after, I have to be there.
When I was a child, we used to be quite a few around the Easter table and it was always joyful. My granddad, uncles, male cousins were having sport or down-to-earth conversations in the garden or in front of the house on the bench while my grandma, aunts, female cousins were cooking and setting the table.
In Perigord, we were using to cook local products from our own garden or the neighbor farm. So Foie Gras was an obvious starter along with goose Rillettes. The bread was fresh and warm, the butter sweet and the aperitif was always too long for us. It could take about one hour before someone (mainly one of my cousins and my grandma) invited us inside to have lunch.
The smell of the veal (or duck or chicken, it would depend on whom came with the meat that specific day !) in the oven is one of the best souvenirs I have from those times.
Then, the chocolate eggs’ hunting was rather an epic moment too. My grandparents were used to hide chocolate eggs or handmade colored eggs in the garden and we, kids, were supposed to find them all. They had made a plan and guided us sometimes. We were running all over the place, yelling like mad whenever we found out one and brought it back to my grandma.
I don’t know how many times I ran from the end of the garden to the entrance of the house, but I might have run hundreds of miles. I was thrilled each time I found an egg and willingly blissful to eat it.
I think that Easter leads me to nostalgia. Christmas is a different sensation. It is more a family meeting, with this magical touch and all this waiting feeling.  Easter meant, at that time, the whole family and the stories about family roots. I learnt a lot about my ancestors during those lunches. Any cousin or relative had a “story to tell” and I tried out to remember any of them. I guess that I was good at it because I’ve been given a true base of souvenirs. I was quite a listener back then and I was in demand of more information.

But the Easter Week was such a great pleasure to share with my grandparents in Saint-Martial. It was just a pure bliss and something that I can remember daily. We have many anecdotes about this period.
Two of the most precious were :
-          When my grandmother and I hid some eggs in the garden and, despite the plan, we could not put our hands on a few…
-          On Good Friday, when we cooked fish/shrimps and scallops, set the table with lovely Easter decorations and started eating. We had no starter so we open one of the cans with Foie Gras. Few hours later while tea time, we talked about our Good Friday lunch and realized that we ate Foie Gras and not only fish (as a required tradition to us) ! We were ashamed but we burnt into laugh and baptized Foie Gras into Scallops ! Whenever I ate Scallops and Foie Gras, I just remember this event and it puts a smile on my face.
Yet, even if I have over 40 (42 later this year), I still hide chocolate eggs in the garden and check them out with a child spirit. I don’t eat chocolate anymore, but it is funny enough to run all over the garden thinking that my grandparents should be proud of me keeping the tradition in our family house !

Have a Happy Easter !