As many other families; we have traditions as well as traditional food, of course! One of my favorites is the making of the Easter dolls. Now these are not “dolls” as you maybe thinking of at this moment, they are edible dolls. My mother-in-law would labor over these creatures created from dough; boy dolls for boys and girl dolls for the girls. The girls would be wearing a skirt and have a braid of dough circling their head to represent hair. Boys would be wearing pants and bald, which quite possible was a family fate. My husband and I watched closely as my mother-in-law would roll dough, cut, shape and decorate these Easter masterpieces for her grandchildren. Each doll would hold a white or colored hard-boiled egg on its belly. Their brown eyes were raisins, rosy cheeks using red sugar and cherry juice with a piece of cherry as red lips. Then they were brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with nonpareils, all the colors of beautifully blooming spring flowers. The adults would receive an Easter basket of sorts, also holding an egg and sprinkled with nonpareils. It was quite an undertaking but she did it with joy and pride. After she passed away my husband took on this task however, he began making bunnies instead of dolls and found a light cookie like dough in his research of our collection of Italian cookbooks that he preferred. With his passing my youngest daughter took on the tradition of doll making and my oldest daughter this year did her first attempt for her children.
I am in awe of all family traditions. As my daughters have married and we have joined together as one beautiful family our traditions have blended also. Delicious tomato pie, rich ricotta cheesecake, sfingis, baccala salad have all joined with the pizza rustica, Easter bread, Easter dolls, and the Feast of Seven Fishes as well as many other family celebrations. Most of all the blessing of family; what they give to the heart and the gift of love. I am truly blessed. Happy Easter!
Here comes Peter Cottontail!