Cover your table with perennial favorites
Old recipes tell a story. I collect and hold them dear like fond memories. Many remind me of a special person, time, or lesson in life. This Easter, allow me to share some of my most treasured recipes for your holiday table.
I can’t recall an Easter celebration from my childhood that didn’t include Nana’s Pineapple Cheese Casserole. I suppose it’s only natural this time-tested favorite served as a comfort to my soul after I moved away from home. Over the years I’ve tried many variations of sides, however Pineapple Cheese Casserole stands as a tradition. It feels like home and is a fond reminder of Nana and her talent for cooking. Its sweet, cheesy goodness is the perfect compliment to a salty ham.
My favorite potato salad recipe came from our neighbor, Peggy Nolan. She lived across the street from us early in our marriage. Upon arriving home from the hospital with our newborn, Mrs. Nolan motioned to us from her driveway. Through cupped hands, she hollered, “I’ll bring dinner over in just a bit.” I recall tears welling due to her kindness and a never-to-be-forgotten meal of homemade rotisserie chicken, fresh green beans, and potato salad. She taught me what it means to extend hospitality. This version has a rustic, old-world flavor. Raw onions add a sharp bite to the palate, yet it’s light due to the sour cream. Best made a day ahead, it will bring ease to your day-of celebration.
I recall one particular year, Easter didn’t line up with Spring Break, which usually provided us an opportunity to return home to family and our beloved Florida beaches. To curb my disappointment, I invited several families over after church for a meal together. When friends feel like family you know you’ve built a community. To ease my effort they all offered to contribute a dish to our Easter lunch. My friend, Sally, brought an impressive four-layer coconut cake — a handed-down recipe from her mother, Paula. This cake is incomparable in flavor and is the perfect holiday dessert as it too is prepared in advance. To this day, Paula’s Coconut Cake reminds me of the value of community.
As you gather this Easter to celebrate eternal life and the joys this life brings through family and friends, I hope you enjoy these heirloom recipes, remember some of your own, and cherish the stories that brought them to you.
Hugs out! Laura