I love making Easter chocolates more than any other chocolate. Maybe it’s the nostalgic memories of waking up as a kid to a big basket of candy, and the unnostalgic realization that the nasty peeps, foiled-wrapped waxy chocolate, hard and tasteless jelly beans, disappointingly thin hollow bunnies, and icky neon candy-coated marshmallow eggs all nestled in pink plastic “straw” sucked almost as much as having to get dressed up to sit in Mass for 3 hours. And to add insult to injury, after the first grade (i.e. First Communion), you had to wait until AFTER Mass to even eat your nasty Easter candy because you can’t eat before Communion. The only good thing about growing up Catholic is that Catholics usually have the good sense to keep their Sunday service to under an hour. The good priests (young and quick) had you out and at the Shoney’s breakfast buffet in 45 minutes. (Catholic Mass is the fast food of Christian services.) Except on Easter Sunday, when Catholics have to endure the longest and most boring service of the year.
When I was in high school, my friend Kim convinced her mother – who was an 8:00 am Mass Catholic, to let her (and her Saturday sleepover friends, which more often than not included me) sleep late on Sunday mornings and go to the 11:00 am Mass unchaperoned. The 11:00 am Mass is usually the last Mass of the morning, and hence the most crowded. Kim would take her mother’s huge station wagon (Kim was the youngest of 9 kids) and we would all go out to the beach instead of Mass and we changed into our swimsuits in the back of the station wagon while waiting in traffic on the bay bridge. Until Kim’s mother got wise, and demanded that Kim bring home the weekly church bulletin to prove we had gone to Mass and not to the beach. So, before Mass started, Kim drove up to the front door of St. Paul’s and one us (chosen by fate or challenge) tried to make a quick dash to the vestibule and back to grab a weekly bulletin without being spotted by anyone acquainted with our parents. An impossible mission, and Kim’s mother was notified, and after that Kim had to go to Mass at the crack of dawn with her mother. Now that we are 40-something (ahem!) Kim is still a regular at Sunday morning Mass and the only time I set foot in church is if someone has died or is getting married.
Even though I don’t go to Mass anymore, I still love Easter. The pastel clothes with shiny, new, patent leather shoes, the beautiful hymns, the crisp Spring air, daffodils and tulips, colored eggs (later made into deviled eggs for the Easter table), and (of course) chocolate bunnies, made the years of suffering through weeks of Lenten asceticism, Friday fish sandwiches, and those dreaded afternoon Stations of the Cross almost worth it. I’ve now made it a personal quest to make Easter chocolate that doesn’t suck. And I’m going to send some to my old friend Kim, who has sat through many Sunday masses with me, Easter and otherwise, since we were 8 years old. And I hope she enjoys the chocolate bunnies. After Communion, of course.
Here are some pictures of my 2010 Easter chocolate making marathon: