Easter is a very big deal here in Italy. So big that it takes up just about an entire week. Yesterday was Palm Sunday, then there’s Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Pasquetta (Little Easter) which is totally not religious, but mostly about having a picnic with friends (because you’ve spent WAY too much time with your family by that point.) In between there is Ash Wednesday, and I think that even Thursday is holy in some way.
Me? Being the lapsed jew that I am, I’m mostly excited about dying eggs and figuring out how to take advantage of all the great spring produce. We used to always head to Umbria for Easter, but now that Domenico’s mom is getting on (94!) it’s easiest if we just head down to Bari. One constant in our Easter celebrations has been my friend Jane. If you read my blog, then you know that Jane has been one of my best friends here in Rome for over 25 years and Easter was our holiday. She and her family have spent it with us in Bari, in Todi and – when the kids were little – in Rome. Even when no one else was really interested in dyeing eggs, Jane and I would set things up and get everyone into the spirit.
I have many many more memories of Jane, who passed away this past Friday, than just Easter. But Easter, with all the eggs, ridiculous animal shaped chocolate, wild asparagus foraging, flower picking and general prettiness of the holiday was a day – or week – that was our favorite. She even stood in for me, being the the daughter-in-law Domenico’s mom never had, but taking Rosa to mass.
The food was important too. But it was the being together doing fun, pretty and sometimes silly stuff (decorating the Easter bush that only we really cared about) that I will miss most.
So for Jane. Here are some recipes I’m going through, trying to get into the spirit and decide what to cook this year. But mostly, here are some photos that Jane – or as she was better known in our Italian family “Janey” would have loved..