FARGO - Growing up in an extremely Lutheran household, there are two events that gather everyone together: Christmas and Easter.
While it may not seem like it given the recent weather, Christmas is long over. Easter is here, and so is spring.
Not only is Easter reserved for all of the church activities (Jesus rising from the dead and all that good stuff), it's also a time where my family gathers and spends the afternoon laughing, talking and enjoying each other's company.
It's also about food. And if you take a look at me, one thing is for certain: I. LOVE. FOOD.
So, here's the five best things about Easter Sunday - I promise only two or three are about food.
Because this Friday 5 is a "Top 5," I obviously have to start with the least-good part of the holiday: Peeps.
These aggressively sweet, neon-colored, sugared marshmallows take the form of chicks and bunnies - and that's about the last "natural" thing about them. When I say they're aggressively sweet, I mean it. Even looking at them makes my teeth hurt.
However, for some reason, these treats keep coming out. And each year, I buy them. (Well, actually, my mom buys them for her 106-year-old great-aunt. When you're 106, you're allowed to eat sugar-coated marshmallows.)
While they aren't great to eat straight out, there are a few ways to use up the package that goes uneaten by your 106-year-old great-great-aunt. Baking them into recipes that call for marshmallows is a great way to use them up, but so is tricking unsuspecting children into sugar highs before sending them home from Easter dinner.
When it's later in the year, like this year, Easter falls well into spring. That means folks are able to bust out their pastels and florals and look their best for Sunday Easter service at their church, if they attend church. The flowers begin to bloom and the snow is melted to a sloppy wet mess and the air is light and fun as everyone dons their bright colors.
When I was younger, I used to hate Easter dresses. However, as I have aged - too much for egg hunts, but whatever. I GUESS it's fine. - I have come to appreciate the bright flowers and colors that mark every article of clothing from February through June.
Easter egg hunts, while arguably one of the better parts of Easter, come in at No. 3 solely because once you are no longer a "child," egg hunts go away. It really is one of the most frustrating things about becoming an "adult" (and I use the term "adult" loosely because I am 23 years old and I call my mom for literally everything, even though she lives three hours away from me).
For some reason, someone decided that adults don't like searching high and low for brightly colored plastic eggs filled with candy or other trinkets and, if we are being completely honest, it's just sad. The thrill of finding a pretty egg, busting it open and finding what's inside is apparently more than our elderly, feeble hearts can handle.
The only good thing about becoming an adult is having to assist the real little kids with finding their eggs. It's almost like you get to do the egg hunt yourself.
Look! I only have two food-related topics for this Friday 5! Go me!
But for real, No. 2 in our list is ham. Truly, it could be any and all food found on the table during this holiday, but for the sake of space I am going to narrow it down to the ultimate meat.
The brown sugar-glazed, pineapple juice-braised pink slice of deliciousness tastes especially amazing when it's the center of attention at Easter brunch. And when it's paired with cheesy potatoes and deviled eggs, you really can't go wrong.
I am a BIG family gal. To me, there's nothing better than when my entire family, including cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, is together to celebrate or simply enjoy a meal.
For as long as I can remember, my mom's side of the family has gathered together in the family room for Easter at my grandpa's apartment and enjoyed our big meal as we talked, laughed, played games and caught up on each other's lives since the last time we were together, which was usually Christmas.
Unfortunately, with the passing of my grandpa this past November, this Easter will be anything but typical. Even though the whole family won't be together, the Vatnsdal siblings will be back in action, bunny ears and all.