Baskets and Bunnies…and Pecan Eggs

We are talking Easter this week and focusing on candy…what a loaded topic…
loaded with calories!

When I was little, Easter baskets were a real treat. I did not grow up in a religious family, so ‘giving up for Lent’ did not play into the equation, and candy wasn’t unknown in my house on average days, but Easter baskets were “special”. Certain candy only came out at Easter Time; there were no egg-shaped Snickers and Easter was the only time you saw jelly beans. Chocolate Easter bunny size was a status symbol; the older you became, the richer your folks, the bigger the rabbit. That usually went for the baskets themselves, too.

Most people had the standard reed baskets; thin, not meant to last. My mother had purchased a good-sized strong willow basket for my sister, made in China,(right after WWII); it looked like a boat; a Junk, but it was beautiful. For my brother, she bought a sturdy, square intricately woven, lovely basket from Germany,(again, same time frame). When I can along she bought a pretty little basket that was also sturdily constructed, (which I believe that was Japanese), made in the 50’s. It looked something like a purse. It had two knobs that opened the top, which needed to be left open for the Easter Bunny to leave much of anything in it. It was cute, but it was small, and although I was unhappy when one year while in storage a mouse ate a hole in it looking for whatever had left the sweet smells inside, I was definitely NOT unhappy when the replacement was a bigger,if less sturdy and commoner, one.

I held off as long as I could on my always-to-be-found chocolate rabbit after the Easter Bunny came. I remember nibbling at the most inconspicuous areas first and I also remember being horrified when my brother mercilessly bit the head of his right off! My sister never liked chocolate, so more often than not, my brother got a lion’s share of hers with a bit coming my way. My mother was a stickler for tradition and it was unheard-of NOT to get a chocolate rabbit for my sister. When the white chocolate ones came out she begrudgingly placed one of those beside my sister’s basket for the last years of her pre-adulthood; (as I said, Mom was a stickler for tradition).

Much of the candy I remember looked prettier than they tasted, since most were made with ‘summer coating’ or imitation chocolate. Pure chocolate requires specific temperature variations during the process of melting and molding to prevent “blooming”, when the cocoa butter separates and rises to the top.(If you have had a Hershey bar or the like get warm and re-solidify, you have seen the blotching.)Pure chocolate, especially milk chocolate, also melts at a lower temperature, so it is harder to store and ship, hence the “Palmer” and other brands of “artificial” chocolate that were famous and popular for a generation or more for Easter treats; they weren’t the greatest tasting candy on Earth.

A couple of weeks ago I walked down an Easter aisle in our local WalMart and stopped in my tracks. A vaguely familiar aroma aroused a memory that I could not quite nail down. It was such a strong experience that I pulled my cell phone out right there and then to call my sister for help. She came up with the lost memory; it was the ever-present, hard, meringue flowers that topped a number of confections in the 50’s and the 60’s, most commonly, on filled-eggs.
I never cared for the flavor-filled eggs or even the coconut ones, as much as I usually like coconut. However, the one thing I longed-for, looked forward to and ate minute-bit- by-bit to make them last were the pecan eggs that my mother always put in the middle of the baskets. They were large, covered in fresh pecans and had a fluffy, very-sweet white filling. How I loved them! How I tried to stretch the pecans to become at least part of the too-full, rather plain, middle. If I had had my way, a couple of those eggs would have been all I wanted. I never thought to ask for that.
I searched for years for comparable pecan eggs, to no avail. When I found some, the pecans seemed to be damp and chewy on some and the fillings were always wrong. Even the top brands had brown sugar or caramel-like filling. WalMart had logs about 20 years ago that had a slight cherry-like filling; they weren’t bad, but they weren’t the same. However, this week as I was leaving a local Dollar General Market, I saw smaller, but promising pecan eggs. I was in a hurry, but went back yesterday and bought a few, hoping against hope. I battled myself as to whether I should try them to see if they were as good as I hoped or to wait until Easter. I won/lost/won; I tried them…and they are the closest I have come in many, many years to the beloved eggs of my childhood. The filling is not as fluffy, the eggs are not as large, the candy that ‘glues’ the pecans on is a bit grainy, but, hey, after all these years, they are close, and I am smiling.

I hope you are smiling for Easter or whatever you are celebrating this Spring.
I wish all of you great blessings.

(Does anyone else remember that type of Pecan egg or the hard-candy flowers?)

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About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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9 Responses to Baskets and Bunnies…and Pecan Eggs

  1. I always had white chocolate (usually lamb) in my basket as reg choc was a migraine trigger for me- the vomiting kind so my mom made sure I got something that wouldn’t make me sick. We got a new basket every year.

    As a mother myself, I got my kids a super nice basket each and refilled the same one each year. They liked that.

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    • Yes, that’s what Mom did and I try to do, too.I am not a slave to tradition but I do like continuity and making memories.
      I am sorry about the chocolate; wow; you have my total sympathy; my mother, my sister and one of my nieces simply don’t like chocolate.You are fortunate, though to be a bit younger and have the white ones available.
      Happy Easter!

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  2. jeff7salter says:

    sorry I’m late. it’s been a very odd day.
    I’m also one who dislikes the Palmer choc. products … and other cheap brands of that ilk. The choc. just taste awful. I’d almost rather not have choc. than eat theirs.
    I have no recollection of a pecan egg, but than, as you learned yesterday, the budget at my childhood for Easter candy was pretty minimal. And Mom kept buying the same stuff over and over that I didn’t much care for. (along with sev. things that I DID like, of course).
    I guess she was buying things that my siblings enjoyed.

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    • Full moon and Holy Days; it’s been complex for me, too , Jeff!
      I’m with on the bad excuses for chocolate, so much so, that for years I made my own molded chocolates…what a pain and unless I took a great deal of time, it would not be successful. It was nice; I could make whatever flavors suited me.My I had to break them in order for my mother to eat them, though.She’d save them!
      I know my mother often bought what my siblings liked….by the time I came along, she had the same buying pattern down, I guess like your mother. Mine was easily influenced by my siblings’ tastes.For instance, my birthday is six days after my sister’s.She always managed to get the kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and then again for mine, too.
      I hope you and your clan have a wonderful Easter.

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  3. Sharmishtha says:

    I did not knew much about easter, then I got just a faint idea after watching an animation movie last year!

    easter eggs look really beautiful! would have loved to have a few myself!

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    • Sharmishtha, Easter is when Christians celebrate the death of Christ in reparation for the sins of the world and his resurrection from the dead, which is the basis of the faith. The Easter Bunny is just a fun tradition for the children.Since many Christians give up excessive pleasures, (especially the eating of candy,) for the 40 days before Easter,(what we call “Lent”), then the candy that the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings is especially welcome! We had a lot of good food and feasted here for two days. Mavbe one year you can visit America and come for a holiday when you can feast along with us …if you visit, we’ll call it a holiday and MAKE a feast! You have a standing invitation!

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  4. Micki Gibson says:

    Chocolate bunny in the basket every year. Check. Jelly beans. Check. Peeps (even though I really don’t care for them). Check. Robin’s eggs (Whopper type candy which I LOVE). Check. And the eggs. Gotta have the Easter eggs. This is what was in our baskets every year and what my kids get every year.

    I can’t mention Easter candy without mentioning Cadbury Creme Eggs. I don’t like them. There. I said it. It seems sacreligious to say and unbelieveable coming from someone like me who loves her sweets, but it’s true. I don’t like them. Now, the caramel filled ones? Get out of my way! They’re mine! Mine! Mine! Me loves the precious! (Bet you’re now picturing me all Gollum-like cradling that precious gold-wrapped caramel-filled chocolate egg.)

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    • No, Micki; I picture myself wrestling the caramel eggs away from you! Jeff can have my share of the Cadbury Creme Eggs, too. My grandson doesn’t like malted milk(Robin’s) eggs! that HAS to come from the other side of the family. Peeps are a must…and yet, here they sit untouched at our house, too….seems like we have a lot in common….now,I don’t know whether to thank Jillian or not for hooking me on the Starburst jelly beans….

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