I will get to a post about that delicious tarragon-and-pea soup shortly, I promise, but in the meantime I have to confess to being obsessed with something else from the day. A giant meal like the one I hosted for Easter is a kind of dizzying affair. There’s a lot of work, certainly, but there are also a lot of benefits. With a large group, bits and pieces of conversation fly by and hang in the air. You learn tidbits about family members and siblings. Heck, if you’re not running to and from the kitchen, you might even learn more, like what their favorite color is, or who’s their favorite band, or what they plan to do with their lives. I was busy mashing potatoes, so I missed that.
However, as the host on Sunday, I tried to steer the conversations, at least briefly, to a higher plain, by asking that everyone bring a quote about rebirth. One of my readers asked me to post some of the quotes, so the few I could find and reproduce are below.
The other nice thing about having a good-sized gathering is that each different person at the table brings something new to the meal. Sometimes it’s as ethereal as a line of poetry or some funny insight. Other times it’s as real and mouthwatering as my friend Zoe’s Almond Apple Crumble.
She prepared it at home and brought it to my house to cook as we ate the main course. As it baked, its rich scent rattled around in my brain and psyche, and I said to her, “It smells so good, I think we need to cancel the dinner and just go straight to the dessert.” The other nice thing about big meals is that there often are leftovers. I’ve been eating that apple crumble for three days now, and I just finished it last night.
My friend Zoe is from England, and the recipe she used is from a book by Delia Smith, who she describes as “a British institution.” The recipe, unfortunately, is written out in grams and other U.K. measurements, so it isn’t exactly useful to me at the moment. I’m linking to it here, though, because you might be able to make the conversions. Also, she found the recipe through a great website called One Recipe Daily, which is also well worth checking out.
If you make the crumble, let me know how it goes (and if you live NYC, invite me over for some of it!). In the meantime, here are some of the poems that were quoted from during my Easter with a small “e.”
by e. e. cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
7. God’s Grandeur
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 5
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.