When writing my food article for the Feb. 26 Daily Iberian food page last month, I titled it “Starve A Cold, Feed a Fever.” I referred to the cold and flu viruses we were seeing in the area, and the cold, wet days which seemed to accompany these illnesses. I also wrote about the types of foods which promote good nutrition and a healthy immune system. Though the COVID-19 virus had been found in the Northwestern part of the U.S., it was nowhere near the magnitude of spread that it is now, nor was the thought of shelter at home mandated on anyone’s mind. As we adjust to this new normal, my information on eating to maintain a healthy immune system remains the same. Eating a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables, protein sources such as lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts and beans, whole grain products and enough fluids to maintain hydration is still essential in enabling the body to repair tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections.
Another method of staying healthy during this novel Corona virus pandemic is in working to foster good mental health by limiting time spent dwelling on the challenges and uncertainties being reported by the media. In that spirit, I thought I might go back over a few years, Easter food articles written from 2010 to the present time, to be exact, and find remembrances of more pleasant past Easters.
In thinking back on treasured memories of Easter celebrations of the past, we can find hope for more Easters to come, when colored Easter egg hunts in the park, Sunday Easter church services, and family gatherings will become much-anticipated, cherished events. Found memories of visits with 39-year young persons done ten years ago provided material for my Easter article in 2010. These three, now all deceased, told of their own Easter memories. My mom described how, as children, they would use small, yellow wild flowers to color their eggs. A long-time Iberia Parish educator that I often visited was the daughter of a Sicilian-born mother who made for each child a special Easter treat.
A “pupattola con uovo,” meaning doll with an egg, was a pastry consisting of a sweet dough batter, formed in the shape of a chicken, with a boiled egg in the middle. I interviewed Wilson Matt, a beloved past Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Iberia. He was in residence at Consolata Nursing Home at the time, but had fond memories of a game called “Pacquing”, that he played with his parishioners at the end of Mass every Easter Sunday.
In the game, he would knock the small side of his boiled egg with the small side of a parishioner’s egg. The egg which would break would be forfeited by the loser to the one with the unbroken egg. This competition was held by Matt’s family during his childhood in Eunice. The word for this tradition is derived from the French word “paques,” which means “Easter.”
In my Easter food article of April 2011, I wrote of another sweet Easter tradition which had its roots in New Orleans. It was during the years of Reconstruction in 1855 when a German immigrant, Christopher Henry Miller, at the age of 24, started what is now one of the longest family-owned candy companies in the country. Having 12 children ensured that his company would continue to go on, and it did when one of his daughters married an Elmer. The Elmers had five sons who carried on the candy-making business of their grandfather. The company continues today in Ponchatoula, filling our Easter baskets with delectable sweets such as Gold Brick, Heavenly Hash and Pecan Eggs.
This Easter, as we feast on the hope of an end to this virus outbreak, and better days to come, we can remember those who brought the sweetness of these traditions into our lives.
The following recipe for Sweet Potato Dumplings comes from a neighbor, April Mullen, herself a much-loved member of our Southwood Subdivision community. She was recently featured on last Friday’s religion page for her efforts in organizing our neighborhood’s recent outdoor prayer service for healing.
The recipe for these dumplings comes from her mom, Loraine Weinmann.
She described her mom to be a wonderful cook, seamstress, wife and mother, and friend who raised four daughters, while working in a bank for 37 years. She embodied the spirit of hope for many with her special gifts of handmade sewing items, and delicious, home-made dishes.
Born and raised in Atmore, Alabama, she entered Heaven two years ago, but her legacy lives on in all those who were fortunate enough to be the recipients of her heart-felt gifts.
Today, as we continue to adjust to this new normal, let us recognize the blessings we have around us, and remember to pray, while feasting on a diet of hope, that we will one day be able to come together again in celebration of life’s sweetness.
SWEET POTATO DUMPLINGS
1 package of frozen sweet potato rounds
2 packages of crescent dinner rolls, divided at perforations
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
2 sticks of margarine
Cinnamon or cinnamon sugar, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the un-thawed sweet potato round in half. Wrap each half in a crescent roll. Place in a casserole dish, seam side down. Boil sugar, water, and margarine for five minutes. Pour over crescent rolls. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle cinnamon or cinnamon sugar over top before baking, if desired.
Spooned Muffins With Sausage
1 lb. hot sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained
1 pkg. dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ sticks of butter or margarine
½ cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 cups self-rising flour
Mix yeast and water; set aside. To melted butter, add sugar and beaten egg. Add yeast and water mixture. Gradually add flour and beat well. Add sausage. Chill batter in airtight container in refrigerator. Spoon into greased muffin tins (small tins make nice dainty ones). Fill tins abut 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Batter does not need to rise before baking. This makes abut 4 dozen small muffins. This batter also makes good sausage waffles.
The following recipe is a pretty one which welcomes the seasons of spring and summer. It provides the nutrients of vitamin C and fiber from the strawberries and pineapple, and can be made as a dessert low in sugar for most diabetic diets.
ANGEL LUSH C AKE
1 Pkg. (4 serving size) Jello Vanilla Flavor
Fat-Free, Sugar Free Instant Reduced Calorie
Pudding and Pie Filling
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple (in its own juice)
1 cup Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping
1 pkg. (10 oz.) round angel food cake
(sugar free angel food cake may also be substituted)
10 fresh strawberries
Mix dry pudding mix and pineapple with juice in medium bowl. Gently stir in whipped topping.
Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers, cut side up, on serving plate: top with 1 1/3 cups of the pudding mixture. Cover with middle cake layer and additional 1 cup of the remaining pudding mixture.
Top with remaining cake layer: spread with remaining pudding mixture.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with strawberries just before serving. Store leftover desert in refrigerator.
CATHERINE WATTIGNY embraces the “joire de vivre” as a wife, mother and grandmother, inspired by her prior nursing experience with a new focus on good mental health for all.