In North Dakota I can only recall a few times when Easter and spring have come almost hand in hand. We are blessed to witness this year the observance of the Resurrection and the arrival of spring as duet. March winds are blowing a welcome to spring as birds flying northward merrily sing, both night and day. Just the other day I noticed two robins with their bright red breast and one was starting to build a nest in the pine boughs of our kitchen window box. There is parallelism that my mom often shared with our family. She explained the great joy the risen ChHhis people on the day of His Resurrection. She combined this with the spring, a new season of birth, of hope and faith and its equal importance. She took the time to point out the many joys spring brings to mankind. Being a farm girl, a favorite of hers was to spot a new calf kicking up its heels.
Just this week when I was Bismarck I noticed trees complete with spring green leaves. So yes spring is here early in North Dakota and in time for Easter as well. It is the perfect duet not only for the sounds and sights of springs but also for greatness of nature and Master who created it all. Yes, the first green leaves of the tulip are as heavenly to eyes northern folks as the meaning of the Resurrection to the heart and soul of believers.
My tribute to Easter has always been on- going and at the request of several readers I once again share with you part of my Easter column from last year which many inquired about seeing again.
Her hands reach for the preferred vessel that has been used hundreds of times to make bread. As she set the large, round Tupperware container on our kitchen table, Mom informs me today we are making hot cross buns. My questions as a child to her about Easter, Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection were countless. Like many mothers, she knew when a child’s curiosity strikes, one captures this moment by sharing as much as you can.
It was perhaps because we had the laundromat and the presence of coins in our home that my mother selected to begin her talk about Easter and specifically the 30 silver pieces. I came to learn that according to the gospel accounts, Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Jesus. Before the Last Supper, Judas went to the chief priest and agreed to hand over Jesus in exchange for the thirty silver coins, Jesus is then arrested in Gethsemane, where Judasreveals Jesus’ identity to the solders by giving him a kiss.
With a Kerr jar on the table and 30 coins within my reach, we began our journey of what thirty silver coins boughtthe call of ‘Crucify’the giving of a kissa trail that mocked this name.panic filled claimPilate’s cowardice. the mocking mob.the crossthe nails the splinters.the crown of thornsthe human paintorture a mother’s pain .the vinegar and gall…death for our Lord and Judas who was untruea repenting thief who believed the casting of lots for his garments precious blood the darkened noon daythe torn veilthe stone rolled awaythe empty tomb the vacant grave cloths the shamethe glory of earth Christianity. our Saviorthe glorious sunrise and for all eternity.
Each Easter I recall this childhood memory with great fondness and look forward to sharing it with our daughter Lydia. As the glorious message of Easter comes forth from the lily-showcased pulpits in Pierce County and beyond let us give thanks for this duet which brings peace, richness, love and beauty. Happy Easter.
Hot Cross Buns
The raisins add a nice surprise to these buns. I prefer to use golden raisins; however, dark raisins work also. You may also select to use teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg rather than just one. Ever since before the medieval period, marking breads and buns with the sign of the cross was a common thing for a commercial baker to do. It was done because the cross was said to ward off the evils spirits which could affect bread and make it go moldy or stale. In our home we made the sign of the cross on buns in token of the Crucifixion.
2 cups milk, scalded
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 packages of yeast dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water
8 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
Pour scalded milk over butter and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast mixture and eggs mix well. Gradually add the flour and salt, reserving a small amount of flour to dust the raisins. Add spice and floured raisins to the dough and knead in thoroughly. Place in a buttered bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Shape dough into 30 buns and place on buttered cookies sheets. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, then very carefully press the shape of a cross into each bun, using a spatula or the back of a knife. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until buns are browned, about 10-15 minutes longer. Frost either the entire bun or just the shape of the cross.
1 egg white
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Beat egg white until stiff, adding confectioners’ sugar gradually until mixture is thick. Add flavoring. If frosting is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.
Ideal Ham Sandwiches
Each of us knows folks who don’t like leftovers. It is our duty as good souls to enhance their thinking on this subject and here is the perfect recipe to convince them. Many of us will have left over ham from Easter and this will give you the chance to prepare an easy meal for later use.
1 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of horseradish
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of prepared mustard. I like to use Dijon
1 to 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
8 hamburger buns
1 pound of ham, thinly sliced
8 slices of Swiss cheese
Combine butter, horseradish, mayonnaise, mustard and poppy seeds. Mix this well. Open hamburger buns and brush both sides of the inside with the dressing. Place about 2 ounces of ham and 1 slice of cheese on the bottom part of the bun. Repeat with remainder of the buns. Join the tops and bottoms of the buns into a cozy bundle. Tightly wrap each bundle in aluminum foil and freeze.
To serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sandwiches with foil on, directly on the center rack for approximately 30- 45 minutes until center is hot and cheese has melted.
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