Easter is approaching, the besmirched London streets smell like blossoms, and bunnies are proliferating in shop windows. Although I have not been observing a lenten fast by any stretch of the imagination, I fully intend to observe an Easter feast. It is curious how Catholic I become when food is on the religious agenda. So I have decided to host an Easter Brunch.
My American friends and I spend a fair amount of time, in true expatriate fashion, eulogizing over bunches past. Oh the hash browns and bloody marys; the crispy bacon and lox laden bagels; the huevos rancheros and the pancakes—oh those great, excessive stacks of fluffy, polka dot blueberry pancakes. It is enough to make Yank homesick to weeping. The English, although proficient at a greasy Sunday fry-up, do not have the same bruncheon (you know, kind of like ‘luncheon’) tradition. They tend to stick resolutely to the tried and tested formula of bathing all ingredients—eggs, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, and toast—in the grease of the frying bacon. At least that’s how my mother approached the task. And although it is delightful method of clogging the arteries, it does become mundane. An American brunch, however, is a wonderfully dynamic event; morphing to meet your hunger of the moment. It can appear as a fresh, enlivening meal of lox draped lusciously onto a cream cheese topped bagel and adorned with capers, red onions, and a squeeze of lemon; it can remedy a night of excess with enough spicy potatoes to pummel your hangover to death; and it can sweeten your morning with the beaming architectural majesty of a Belgium waffle.
And so, in honor of the baby Jesus and to cure my case of bruncheon nostalgia, I am planning an Easter feast. As yet I have not decided on the details; will it be an ode to my New Mexico days or a love song to Seattle? Most likely it will grow into a shaggy mutt of a meal, with choice pickings from a range of my favorite morning fare. At this point I am sure only of the following: there will be hot cross buns, like mummy used to make (only a bit better); a gorgeous carrot cake decorated with flowers and chocolate eggs; and we will drink good coffee and mimosas . . . but wait, surely bloody marys can’t be left out of the fun! Also, I have been longing to cook crab, having never attempted dealt with this crustacean in its live, fully armed form. And since I do not wish to inflict bind experimentation on my friends, I will be testing out some crab recipes in the next few weeks, and possibly some further unchartered territory. Bagels, anyone?
. . . to be continued (after some kitchen research).