Saturday, April 11, 2009
There are a lot of great things I've learned from my parents. They sometimes say that I study them and their behavior too much, but it seems that I truly embrace and excel at their mind-boggling, oddball traits and habits that I'm sure sometimes they wish we wouldn't take too much notice of, let alone take them on as our own. Growing up Jewish in my family meant that around Easter when everyone was coloring eggs, making bread with whole eggs baked right in, and having egg fights we simply were not allowed to participate. My father always insisted on that. My mother on the other hand was an only child and when she was growing up and the same restrictions presented themselves to her by her parents, she negotiated, refusing to be left out of the fut. So eating the eggs became not just allowed, but necessary. I'm not exactly sure how she got by when she was younger, but every year for as far back as I can recall, right around this time, she'd send my dad on a quest. Despite all his arguments, she was adamant that he had a job to do: find her colored hard boiled eggs. Usually it's not hard as you can be pretty much sure that a multi-colored dozen of them will be waiting at your local Jewel, but there has been a year or two when we had to go without and such an event meant some lighthearted, but distinctly disappointed pouting. I don't think it was because she had a taste for hard boiled eggs or anything, but she simply refused to be excluded from the fun and unfortunately(?) I have inherited a healthy dose of that spirit, with a slight modification. Seeing as how this is considered the age of information overload and the internet, I now have complete access to all holidays and traditions, along with a mind-boggling list of amazing recipes that come with each. My birthday, for example, is the official "Sneak a zucchini onto your neighbor's porch day". Seriously. If you don't believe me, just Google it. My sisters do it all the time, but then I don't remember the last time I could present a "fact" to them without it being questioned and Googled. I think I need to jump on the bandwagon and get some Google stock.
But, back to Easter. A friend of the family called me several weeks ago and asked if I'd be available to make cupcakes for an Easter party she'll be going to. I may have hesitated for...okay, I didn't hesitate. I mean, who says no to cupcakes? And I've never made anything for Easter before and I do live under my very own roof now, so I said yes. Now, while making the cupcakes themselves is a piece of cake (that was on purpose) the decorations would need to be appropriately themed, and that would take a bit of research, so to the internet I went....and there I found way too many options/recipes/designs/etc. Considering that I'd be making them during the week due to a birthday party I had the night before I had to drop the cupcakes off, I decided to go with a slightly simpler design approach, hence the cupcakes you see in the picture above. But in my search I also stumbled on this gorgeous post over at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, which is one of the many baking sites I *ahem* stalk, and I just had to try this myself. Doing so would break two rules I remember from childhood: it would involve both Painting at least one egg and it would involve baking a special pastry where that egg is prominently featured. I am, however, counting on my mother theorizing that as long as the painting/baking/assembly is not done in her house or in my father's presence, this yummy bread is just yummy bread and it will be welcomed into the house with open arms, despite the bright blue egg in the middle. Who knows, he might even get out of having to find her some last minute painted eggs.
In the mean time, this bread, which was so simple and yet so amazingly good, will probably mean that the thousands of "crazy" people around the world that insist that making your own bread is both cheaper and better than anything you can ever get from the store now have a new convert. Me.