02 Apr 2023 Always eager for Easter
By Don Bingham
Exactly 10 years ago, I was delighted to write my very first column about the Easter traditions I share with my family. A decade later, we still celebrate many of the same traditions, and even introduced a few new ones!
Easter has always been a perfect time to celebrate! Growing up, celebrations included Easter Sunrise Service with its beautiful Easter music, like the Easter portions of Handel’s Messiah, followed by Sunday lunch and then, finally, the Easter egg hunt!
The centerpiece of the Easter Week will be the focus on the church services and personal quieter moments around the Biblical account of the Easter story, and the meaningful times of reflection of the cross, all culminating in “He Is Risen–He is Risen, indeed.”
Just like I wrote in 2013, the centerpiece of our family lunch table will be THE HAM! And it’s still almost law to have Coconut Cake on the menu. The adult children and their families will bring all the sides! This year’s ham has been simplified, and the results are just as spectacular and cost-effective for a crowd as it was in years past.
The Easter Feast for us always includes a magnificent coconut cake. I get the honor of cooking the coconut cake. One must be seated, and in reverence and respect for all things sweet, decadent and rich, to enjoy this Easter monument.
May we encourage you all to attend several services of your choice during this intensely, beautiful week. All services lead toward the triumphant hope we have in Christ’s resurrection, ascension and promise of return.
Schedule that family gathering around the time-honored dishes of Easter: stuffed eggs, salads, carrots, and HAM! And as Charles Wesley wrote in the 1739 hymn “Christ the Lord Has Risen Today”:
Raise your songs and triumphs high.
Sing ye heavens and earth reply, Alleluia!
“When I think of Easter growing up, it consisted of a sunrise service at our church, with breakfast to follow, the church service with its beautiful music and then home for a wonderful feast for lunch! And, oh yes, it was of utmost importance that we all were dressed in our finest for Easter Sunday. I have no doubt that I could go directly to our garage and find photo after photo of each of us decked out in our white sports coat and pink carnation. In those days, it would have been rude to be minus a boutonniere for the men and a corsage for the ladies on Easter.” – Excerpt from Don’s 2013 Article
Easter Celebration Ham
1 10-12 pound smoked and spiral-cut ham
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of regular yellow mustard
Mix the brown sugar and mustard together and set aside. Place thawed ham on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook in a 325 oven for about two hours. After baking for 1 1/2 hours, remove from the oven and spread with the mixture of brown sugar and mustard to form a glaze over the outside of the whole ham. Return to the oven for an additional half-hour, completing the total cooking time of two hours. Garnish ham platter with fresh orange slices, grapes and parsley.
4 cups all-purpose flour • 4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups sweet milk • 1 1/2 cups corn oil
2 tsp. vanilla • 4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt • 6 eggs
Shredded coconut for topping
Mix ingredients together and pour into 3-4 prepared 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden and done in the center.
After the layers have cooled, ice each one with Kathryn’s Icing (recipe below). Sprinkle coconut between layers along with icing as you stack them, then ice the stacked layers and top all over with sprinkled coconut. Variation: Fruit filling or coconut juice may be added between layers.
1 cup granulated sugar • 1/3 cup water
1 cup marshmallow cream • 3 egg whites
Boil sugar and water until strings form. Add about 1 cup marshmallow cream and dissolve. Beat egg whites until stiff, then gradually combine both mixtures. Beat until stiff.
1 pound asparagus
Cut off the tough ends of the stalks. Peel the stalks 3/4 way from end of stalk to just under the tip. (Save peel and ends for soup.) Bring a large frying pan of water to boil. Add a handful of asparagus and cook 3 to 7 minutes until desired doneness — a little crunchy. As each quantity is done, run cold water over to stop the cooking. Serve cold, in vinaigrette, or reheat by tossing quickly in melted butter in a skillet. Serves 4.
1/4 cup margarine • 1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. seasoned salt • 2 cups milk
4 cups cooked carrots, drained
6 slices American cheese
Cook onion in margarine until soft. Stir in flour, mix, add salt and pepper. Stir in milk, bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes until thick. In a 2-quart casserole, layer carrots and 3 slices of cheese; repeat; pour sauce over all. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serves 4-6.
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